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TITLE
Bishop Jolly
EXTERNAL ID
PC_STAND_CATH_046
DATE OF IMAGE
1840
PERIOD
1820s
CREATOR
W. H. Lizars
SOURCE
Scottish Episcopal Church, Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness
ASSET ID
30042
KEYWORDS
clergy
clergymen
bishops
portraits
Bishop Jolly

This engraving is taken from the frontispiece of a 19th century compendium of the works of Bishop Alexander Jolly. The engraving was done by the firm of W. H. Lizars in 1840, from an original portrait by J. Moir, completed in 1821.

Bishop Jolly was a Bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church in the early 19th century. He was born into an Episcopalian family in Stonehaven in 1756, the son of a merchant turned schoolmaster. After leaving Marischal College, Aberdeen, around age sixteen or seventeen (as was common in those days), he became the tutor to the Leslies of Rothes, as he was, by his faith, denied a job in the national church or any of its schools. Following the Jacobite risings the Scottish Episcopal Church had been put under severe restrictions, until the Penal Laws were repealed in 1792.

Around age twenty he was ordained, and took charge of the Episcopal congregation at Turriff for twelve years. In 1788 he was moved to Fraserburgh, but he did not fit the expected pattern of a minister. He lived alone in the upstairs of a small house in the High Street, in two rooms which were approached by a narrow wooden stair. His meals were brought to him by a local woman carrying them under her apron. He rose each day at 4 a.m., and after his devotions sat down to read for most of the day. His flock was not large, and visiting them would not take up much of his time. Services and meetings were few, but Jolly always said the Office himself at home. He would communicate by himself using the Reserved Sacrament, as he only celebrated communion in church five times a year.

Despite protests from Bishop Skinner, Jolly was consecrated coadjutor Bishop of Moray in 1796, even though Bishop Macfarlane did not then need any help. Two years later Jolly became the sole Bishop of Moray, superintending a clergy of probably only half a dozen. He visited and confirmed in the Diocese once every three years, and most of the business in between times was done by letter. He took little interest in the general business of the Church, opposing almost every change in practice and procedure, and avoiding every convocation and conference that he possibly could.

He was particularly interested in the Liturgy, especially the significance of the Eucharist. He much preferred the Scottish Liturgy of the time over the liturgy in the Book of Common Prayer.

When George IV visited Edinburgh in 1822 his fellow bishops were apprehensive of the impression that Jolly might create, as his clothes were out-of-date in style, and his wig was threadbare. However, he had been presented with a new wig and took care to make the correct motions and so he won the regard of the Hanoverian King, at a time when Scottish bishops were still looked upon as Jacobites.

Robert Chambers (of the publishing family) told of his visit to Bishop Jolly in 1826. The bishop, having had only a little time to prepare himself, was, by the time Chambers arrived, dressed in his neat old-fashioned black suit, buckled shoes, and wig as white as snow, sitting in his room surrounded entirely by shelves full of books, mainly old and on theological topics. "The look of the venerable prelate was full of gentleness, as if he had never had an enemy, or a difficulty, or anything else to contend with, in his life. His voice was low and sweet, and his conversation most genial and kindly, as towards the young and unimportant person whom he had admitted to his presence."

He built up a very fine library, despite of what must have been his very low stipend. He published a few works. The best-known work, published in 1831, is The Christian Sacrifice in the Eucharist.

Jolly died in his sleep on 29th June 1838. He was buried, at his request, in Turriff. He had been made an honorary Doctor of Divinity at Washington College, Connecticut, USA, in 1826. His successor as Bishop of Moray was Bishop David Low, who was already Bishop of Ross and Argyll. The see then became known as the Diocese of Moray, Ross, Argyll and the Isles.

The illustration of Bishop Jolly is based on an engraving which was in the possession of the Principal of the Theological College at the end of the nineteenth century, and is now in the care of the Scottish Episcopal Church. In 1958 the Theological College of the Episcopal Church deposited a large part of Jolly's library on long-term loan in the National Library of Scotland. This deposit was converted into a gift in 1970, and the remaining books from the library were then added to it.

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Bishop Jolly

1820s

clergy; clergymen; bishops; portraits

Scottish Episcopal Church, Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness

Scottish Episcopal Church, Diocese of Moray, Ross and Caithness

This engraving is taken from the frontispiece of a 19th century compendium of the works of Bishop Alexander Jolly. The engraving was done by the firm of W. H. Lizars in 1840, from an original portrait by J. Moir, completed in 1821.<br /> <br /> Bishop Jolly was a Bishop of the Scottish Episcopal Church in the early 19th century. He was born into an Episcopalian family in Stonehaven in 1756, the son of a merchant turned schoolmaster. After leaving Marischal College, Aberdeen, around age sixteen or seventeen (as was common in those days), he became the tutor to the Leslies of Rothes, as he was, by his faith, denied a job in the national church or any of its schools. Following the Jacobite risings the Scottish Episcopal Church had been put under severe restrictions, until the Penal Laws were repealed in 1792.<br /> <br /> Around age twenty he was ordained, and took charge of the Episcopal congregation at Turriff for twelve years. In 1788 he was moved to Fraserburgh, but he did not fit the expected pattern of a minister. He lived alone in the upstairs of a small house in the High Street, in two rooms which were approached by a narrow wooden stair. His meals were brought to him by a local woman carrying them under her apron. He rose each day at 4 a.m., and after his devotions sat down to read for most of the day. His flock was not large, and visiting them would not take up much of his time. Services and meetings were few, but Jolly always said the Office himself at home. He would communicate by himself using the Reserved Sacrament, as he only celebrated communion in church five times a year.<br /> <br /> Despite protests from Bishop Skinner, Jolly was consecrated coadjutor Bishop of Moray in 1796, even though Bishop Macfarlane did not then need any help. Two years later Jolly became the sole Bishop of Moray, superintending a clergy of probably only half a dozen. He visited and confirmed in the Diocese once every three years, and most of the business in between times was done by letter. He took little interest in the general business of the Church, opposing almost every change in practice and procedure, and avoiding every convocation and conference that he possibly could.<br /> <br /> He was particularly interested in the Liturgy, especially the significance of the Eucharist. He much preferred the Scottish Liturgy of the time over the liturgy in the Book of Common Prayer.<br /> <br /> When George IV visited Edinburgh in 1822 his fellow bishops were apprehensive of the impression that Jolly might create, as his clothes were out-of-date in style, and his wig was threadbare. However, he had been presented with a new wig and took care to make the correct motions and so he won the regard of the Hanoverian King, at a time when Scottish bishops were still looked upon as Jacobites.<br /> <br /> Robert Chambers (of the publishing family) told of his visit to Bishop Jolly in 1826. The bishop, having had only a little time to prepare himself, was, by the time Chambers arrived, dressed in his neat old-fashioned black suit, buckled shoes, and wig as white as snow, sitting in his room surrounded entirely by shelves full of books, mainly old and on theological topics. "The look of the venerable prelate was full of gentleness, as if he had never had an enemy, or a difficulty, or anything else to contend with, in his life. His voice was low and sweet, and his conversation most genial and kindly, as towards the young and unimportant person whom he had admitted to his presence."<br /> <br /> He built up a very fine library, despite of what must have been his very low stipend. He published a few works. The best-known work, published in 1831, is The Christian Sacrifice in the Eucharist.<br /> <br /> Jolly died in his sleep on 29th June 1838. He was buried, at his request, in Turriff. He had been made an honorary Doctor of Divinity at Washington College, Connecticut, USA, in 1826. His successor as Bishop of Moray was Bishop David Low, who was already Bishop of Ross and Argyll. The see then became known as the Diocese of Moray, Ross, Argyll and the Isles.<br /> <br /> The illustration of Bishop Jolly is based on an engraving which was in the possession of the Principal of the Theological College at the end of the nineteenth century, and is now in the care of the Scottish Episcopal Church. In 1958 the Theological College of the Episcopal Church deposited a large part of Jolly's library on long-term loan in the National Library of Scotland. This deposit was converted into a gift in 1970, and the remaining books from the library were then added to it.