Correspondence of Alexander Penrose Forbes, Bishop of Brechin and George Frederick Boyle

Scope and Content

Letters mainly addressed to the Bishop relating to doctrinal matters particularly the Eucharistic controversy, 1857-1863; correspondence and printed papers of Bishop Forbes 1844-1875; letters mainly addressed to George Frederick Boyle relating to disputes within the Episcopal Church, particularly those affecting Bishop Forbes 1856-1863; correspondence, notes and papers of George Frederick Boyle 1856-1863. Correspondents include William Gladstone, John Keble, Edward Pusey, George Baron Kinnaird of Rossie and Anthony Cooper, 7th Earl of Shaftsbury.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alexander Penrose Forbes was born in 1817, and educated at Edinburgh Academy, Glasgow University and Haileybury College. After a period as a civil servant with the East India Company he attended Brasenose College, Oxford, graduating in 1846. In 1857 he outlined his doctrine of the Eucharist, in which he presented his belief in the 'real presence' of Christ. This led to some controversy within the Scottish Episcopal Church, and in 1859 he was accused by certain Episcopal clergyman of teaching erroneous doctrine. He was tried by his fellow bishops in 1860 and received a censure and admonition to be more careful in future.

Forbes was a man of deep spirituality and genuine social concern. His personal contribution to Dundee was great. Under his leadership the Episcopal Church grew from a relatively unimportant minority denomination to become a significant force in the city. Forbes was involved with the Dundee Royal Infirmary and was influential in the foundation of the Baldovan Institute (now Strathmartine Hospital); he was on the committee of the Model Lodging-house Association and the Dundee Free Library, and a member of the Dundee school board, in addition to being a director of the Prisoners' Aid Society.

During a time when the industrialisation of Dundee had led to much poverty and hardship Forbes' attitude and actions led to him being greatly revered by the ordinary working class people of the city. Alexander Penrose Forbes died, still incumbent, in 1875.

George Frederick Boyle, 6th Earl of Glasgow, was born in 1825. He founded the College and Collegiate Church of The Holy Spirit, Isle Of Cumbrae. He died in 1890.


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Acquisition Information

The records were deposited by the diocese in the University Library in 1962.


Fonds level description compiled by Sarah Chubb, Archives Hub Project Archivist, November 2001.

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Related Material

MS 54 College and Collegiate Church of The Holy Spirit, Isle Of Cumbrae