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Charles Beaumont Howard (1807–1843)

by Robert Edwards

This article was published:

Charles Beaumont Howard (1807-1843), by unknown artist, c1836

Charles Beaumont Howard (1807-1843), by unknown artist, c1836

State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B 441

Charles Beaumont Howard (1807-1843), colonial chaplain, was born in St Peter's Parish, Dublin, the son of William Howard, lieutenant in the Dublin City Corps of the Liberty Rangers. His family was related to the Dukes of Norfolk. At 15 he matriculated, and entered Trinity College, Dublin (B.A., 1828; M.A., 1836). In July 1832 he was ordained by the bishop of Chester, became curate at Boroughbridge, Yorkshire, and revisited Dublin to marry Grace Montgomery Neville. When he left Boroughbridge in April 1833 for a curacy at Kirkham, Lancashire, his bishop and some 200 of his congregation subscribed to publish his Sermons Preached in Boroughbridge Chapel (York, 1834). In June 1835 he was appointed curate of St Mary's, Hambleton.

Early in February 1836, with a recommendation from the bishop of Chester and approval from the bishop of London, he was appointed colonial chaplain in South Australia. In London he met intending colonists at the Adelphi, and members of the South Australian Church Society, among whom Raikes Currie befriended him. With help from this society, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, a prefabricated wooden church and parsonage was sent out. In June 1836 Howard resigned from Hambleton, and with his family he joined the Buffalo. His duties as colonial chaplain commenced from the day of sailing, and during his leisure he enlivened the tedium of the voyage by playing his violin to the emigrants. On his arrival at Holdfast Bay on 28 December 1836 he was sworn in with other officials, and conducted his first service on 1 January 1837. He later accompanied the first settlers to the site of Adelaide, where from February 1837 he held services in various accommodation until Trinity Church was opened in July 1838.

Like other early settlers, Howard worked hard; he erected the wooden parsonage himself, after dragging it from the beach on a hand-truck. In 1838 he published in Adelaide a South Australian Church Hymn Book. He became a well-known figure riding his horse Luther on visits to outlying districts. Churches were established at Port Adelaide, Sturt River, Gawler, Mount Barker, Echunga, and Lyndoch valley, and he held services at Walkerville, Hindmarsh, North Adelaide, Glenelg, Mitcham, and Encounter Bay. For nearly a year he was the only clergyman in South Australia and his only religious controversy was with Bishop William Grant Broughton who unsuccessfully claimed jurisdiction in the province. He was also the only Anglican clergyman in South Australia until Rev. James Farrell arrived in 1840.

Tolerant and kind, Howard was active in Adelaide affairs, as a foundation member of the Hospital Board, Botanic and Horticultural Gardens, Board of Aboriginal Protection, South Australian Club, and the Savings Bank. He died at Adelaide on 19 July 1843, survived by his widow and four daughters. He was buried in the cemetery on West Terrace. Two wax portrait medallions of him are in the National Gallery of South Australia.

Select Bibliography

  • G. H. Jose, The Church of England in South Australia, 1836-56 (Adel, 1937)
  • L. J. Ewens, The Establishment of Trinity Church, Adelaide (Adel, 1953).

Related Entries in NCB Sites

Citation details

Robert Edwards, 'Howard, Charles Beaumont (1807–1843)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1966, accessed online 16 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 1, (Melbourne University Press), 1966

View the front pages for Volume 1

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Charles Beaumont Howard (1807-1843), by unknown artist, c1836

Charles Beaumont Howard (1807-1843), by unknown artist, c1836

State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B 441

Life Summary [details]


Dublin, Dublin, Ireland


19 July, 1843 (aged ~ 36)
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

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