Henry John Knapp

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Henry John Knapp (1779-1850) was Priest in Ordinary to George IV, William IV, and Victoria.

Guernsey family

The Knapps had been settled in Guernsey for many generations. Henry John's grandfather, Henry Knapp, was a famous Guernsey privateer, Captain of the Hope (100 tons, 14 guns, 70 men). His father, Gabriel Knapp, moved to Jersey about 1777, and married Anne, daughter of Philip Taylor. He became a Lieutenant in the Town Battery.

Henry John was born in 1779. He matriculated at Oxford from Pembroke College in 1795, and the following year received a grant from the Don Baudains. He took his BA in 1800, his MA in 1804, his BD and DD in 1840.

In 1816 he joined the staff of St Paul's Cathedral, and rose steadily through the ranks of the Minor Canons, becoming Librarian 1821-4, Senior Cardinal 1824-33, and Sub-dean 1833-50. In 1821 he was appointed Priest of the Chapel Royal and Vicar of Kingsbury, Middlesex; and in 1855 the Dean and Chapter presented him to the rich Vicarage of Willesden.

Freemason

He was a prominent Freemason and in 1813 was sent as Deputation from the Grand Lodge to open a new Lodge in Jersey. From 1814 to 1817 he was Grand Chaplain of the United Grand Lodge. When Dean Corbet Hue died in 1838 the island expected Knapp to succeed him, but the Crown chose James Hemery.

Knapp's Abridgement of Universal History, published in 1810, reached a sixth edition in 1850. He also published a large number of sermons, including some preached in French in the French Church in Westminster, and an Appeal to the Bishop of London as Visitor of St Paul's Cathedral 1848.

He married Elizabeth Jenkyns and died without children on 18 July 1850.

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