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Son of Reverend Henry Atlay, James Atlay was educated at Grantham and Oakham schools and matriculated as an undergraduate at St John’s College, Cambridge, on 30th June 1836. He gained a BA in 1840 (9th Classic), and was elected to the Fellowship in 1842. He was ordained deacon the same year, priest the following year, and Bachelor of Divinity and Doctor of Divinity in 1850 and 1859 respectively. From 1843 to 1846 he held the curacy of Warsop in Nottinghamshire, and from 1847-1852 the vicarage of Madingley in Cambridgeshire. He was Whitehall Preacher 1856-58, Lady Margaret Preacher 1859 and 1887, and Select Preacher before the University of Cambridge in 1858, 1862, 1870, 1873, and 1890.
From 1846 to 1859 he was a tutor at St John’s College after which he was elected as successor to Walter Farquhar Hook as vicar in Leeds. He was well respected in the city, and was appointed canon residentiary at Ripon in 1861. Having refused the bishopric of Calcutta in 1867, the following year he succeeded Renn Dickson Hampden as Bishop of Hereford where he remained until his death on 24th December 1894. He is buried in ‘the layde arbour’ in Hereford Cathedral, where his tomb is adorned with a marble effigy.
Atlay married Frances Turner in 1859, resulting in several children.
Obituary in The Eagle: Vol 18, Lent Term 1895, p. 495
Accessible online at: https://documents.joh.cam.ac.uk/public/Eagle/Eagle%20Volumes/1890s/1895/Eagle_1895_Lent.pdf
Cambridgeshire, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, Hereford Cathedral.
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