Randall Thomas Davidson - Encyclopedia Britannica 1911




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RANDALL THOMAS DAVIDSON (1848-), archbishop of Canterbury, son of Henry Davidson, of Muirhouse, Edinburgh, was born in Edinburgh and educated at Harrow and Trinity College, Oxford. He took orders in 1874 and held a curacy at Dartford, in Kent, till 1877, when he became resident chaplain and private secretary to Dr Tait, archbishop of Canterbury, a position which he occupied till Dr Tait's death, and retained for a short time (1882-1883) under his successor Dr Benson. He married in 1878 Edith, the second daughter of Archbishop Tait, whose Life he eventually wrote (1891). In 1882 he became honorary chaplain and sub-almoner to Queen Victoria, and in the following year was appointed dean of Windsor, and domestic chaplain to the queen. His advice upon state matters was., constantly sought by the queen and greatly valued. From 1891 to 1903 he was clerk of the closet, first to Queen Victoria and afterwards to King Edward VII. He was made bishop of Rochester in 1891, and was translated to Winchester in 1895. In 1903 he succeeded Temple as archbishop of Canterbury. The new archbishop, without being one of the English divines who have made notable contributions to theological learning, already had a great reputation for ecclesiastical statesmanship; and in subsequent years his diplomatic abilities found ample scope in dealing not only with the difficulties caused in the church by doctrinal questions, but pre-eminently with the education crisis, and with the new problems arising in the enlarged Anglican Communion. As the chief representative of the Church of England in the House of Lords, his firmness, combined with broadmindedness, in regard to the attitude of the nonconformists towards denominational education, made his influence widely felt. In 1904 he visited Canada and the United States, and was present at the triennial general convention of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States and Canada. In 1908 he presided at the Pan-Anglican congress held in London, and at the Lambeth conference which followed. He had edited in 188gThe Lambeth Conferences, an historical account of the conferences of 1867, 1878 and 1888, giving the official reports and. resolutions, and the sermons preached on these occasions.

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