Chevallier/Corrie correspondence

Scope and Content

These letters illustrate the chief interests and preoccupations of Chevallier and Corrie over a period of thirty years. As well as matters of personal and family concern, they cover the affairs of the universities of Durham and Cambridge, and speak of the movements and causes which agitated the Church of England and the diocese of Durham in the mid-19th century.

The letters are an important source for the early history of the University of Durham, commenting on the struggles to secure sufficient endowment, the appointment of staff, the development of the curriculum, choice of textbooks, content of lectures, the founding of the university's observatory, in which Chevallier was instrumental, and many other aspects of the fledgling institution. Cambridge controversies reflected in the letters include the contested election to the chancellorship in 1847, the proposal for a royal commission to enquire into the running of the university in 1850, and quarrels over attempts to introduce examinations for students in divinity. On church affairs, there are comments on moves to reform church endowments, episcopal appointments, the Oxford Movement, and the deplorable (in Corrie's view) consequences of Catholic emancipation. There are also vivid glimpses of some of the pastoral difficulties Chevallier encountered at Esh, where more than half the inhabitants of the parish were Roman Catholics, and Sunday cricket and illicit whisky distilling flourished.

Administrative / Biographical History

Rev. Temple Chevallier (1794-1873): son of the Rev. Temple Fiske Chevallier, of Badingham (Suffolk). Educated Pembroke College, Cambridge; B.A. (Second Wrangler) 1817, M.A. 1820, B.D. 1825. Ordained priest 1818. Fellow of Pembroke College 1819; Fellow and Tutor of Catharine Hall (St Catharine's College), Cambridge, 1820. Hulsean lecturer in Divinity 1826 and 1827 (lectures published as Of the proofs of the divine power and wisdom derived from the study of astronomy, 1835). In 1835 Chevallier was invited to become Professor of Mathematics in the newly founded University of Durham, and held this post until 1872. He was also Professor of Astronomy 1841-1871, Reader in Hebrew 1835-1871, registrar of the university 1835-1865, and in 1834-1835 assisted with lectures in divinity. To this busy academic life he added the duties of a parish priest, as perpetual curate of Esh, just outside Durham, from 1835 until his death. He was made an honorary canon of Durham in 1846, Rural Dean of Durham in 1858, and a residentiary canon of Durham in 1873.

Rev. George Elwes Corrie (1793-1885): son of Rev. John Corrie of Colsterworth (Lincolnshire). Educated Catharine Hall, Cambridge; B.A. 1817, M.A. 1820, B.D. 1831. Ordained priest 1817. Tutor at Catharine Hall until 1849, when he became Master of Jesus College. Norrisian Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge 1838. From 1851 until his death he held the rectory of Newton (Cambridgeshire) in conjunction with the mastership of Jesus.



Access Information

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Miss Susan Todd, via Cider Press Books, Long Sutton, Somerset, 1976


Part of : Additional Manuscripts

Other Finding Aids

Online catalogue available at online catalogue.

Separated Material

Jesus College, Cambridge, Class R.2, 15 (NRA 39212): George Elwes Corrie's journal of a tour through France to Switzerland

Related Material

Thorp Correspondence

University of Durham Records

University of Durham Observatory Records


Klottrup, Alan, Astrorum acerrimus indagator”: Temple Chevallier and Durham 1834-1873, Durham University Journal, 78 no. 1 (December 1985), 11-21Memorials of the life of George Elwes Corrie: drawn principally from his diary and correspondence (Cambridge, 1890) [prints a substantial proportion of these letters] (Cambridge, 1890).

Geographical Names