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An article from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica, now in the public domain.
Any color photos are mine, © William P. Thayer.

Vol. XX
Mark Pattison

Pattison, Mark (1813‑1884), English author and rector of Lincoln College, Oxford, was born on the 10th of October 1813. He was the son of the rector of Hauxwell, Yorkshire, and was privately educated by his father. In 1832 he matriculated at Oriel College, where he took his B.A. degree in 1836 with second-class honours. After other attempts to obtain a fellow­ship, he was elected in 1839 to a Yorkshire fellow­ship at Lincoln, an anti-Puseyite College. Pattison was at this time a Puseyite, and greatly under the influence of J. H. Newman, for whom he worked, helping in the translation of Thomas Aquinas's Catena Aurea, and writing in the British Critic and Christian Remembrancer. He was ordained priest in 1843, and in the same year became tutor of Lincoln College, where he rapidly made a reputation as a clear and stimulating teacher and as a sympathetic friend of youth. The management of the college was practically in his hands, and his reputation as a scholar became high in the university. In 1851 the rector­ship of Lincoln became vacant, and it seemed certain that Pattison would be elected, but he lost it by a disagreeable intrigue. The disappointment was acute and his health suffered. In 1855 he resigned the tutor­ship, travelled in Germany to investigate Continental systems of education, and began his researches into the lives of Casaubon and Scaliger, which occupied the remainder of his life. In 1861 he was elected rector of Lincoln, marrying in the same year Emilia Francis Strong (afterwards Lady Dilke). The rector contributed largely to various reviews on literary subjects, and took a considerable interest in social science, even presiding over a section at a congress in 1876. The routine of university business he avoided with contempt, and refused the vice-chancellorship. But while living the life of a student, he was fond of society, and especially of the society of women. He died at Harrogate on the 30th of July 1854. His biography of Isaac Casaubon appeared in 1875; Milton, in Macmillan's English Men of Letters series in 1879. The 18th century, alike in its literature and its theology, was a favourite study, as is illustrated by his contribution (Tendencies of Religious Thought in England, 1688‑1750) to the once famous Essays and Reviews (1860), and by his edition of Pope's Essay on Man (1869), &c. His Sermons and Collected Essays, edited by Henry Nettleship, were published posthumously (1889), as well as the Memoirs (1885), an autobiography deeply tinged with melancholy and bitterness. His projected Life of Scaliger was never finished. Mark Pattison possessed an extraordinary distinction of mind. He was a true scholar, who lived entirely in the things of the intellect. He writes of himself, excusing the composition of his memoirs, that he has known little or nothing of contemporary celebrities, and that his memory is inaccurate: "All my energy was directed upon one end — to improve myself, to form my own mind, to sound things thoroughly, to free myself from the bondage of unreason. . . If there is anything of interest in my story, it is as a story of mental development." (Memoirs, pp1, 2). The Memoirs is a rather morbid book, and Mark Pattison is merciless to himself throughout. It is evident that he carried rationalism in religion to an extent that seems hardly consistent with his position as a priest of the English Church.

Mark Pattison's tenth and youngest sister was Dorothy Wyndlow Pattison (1832‑1878), better known as Sister Dora, the name she took in 1864 on becoming a member of the Anglican sisterhood of the Good Samaritan at Coatham, Yorkshire. In 1865 she was sent as nurse to their cottage hospital in Walsall, and from 1867 to 1877 she was in charge of a new hospital there. She left the sisterhood in 1874, and their hospital in 1877, to take charge of the municipal epidemic hospital, where the cases were largely small‑pox. She had meanwhile qualified herself thoroughly as a nurse and had acquired no mean skill as a surgeon. Her efforts greatly endeared her to those among whom she worked, and after her death a memorial window was erected in the parish church, and a marble portrait statue by F. J. Williamson in the principal square of Walsall.​a

See Margaret Lonsdale's Sister Dora (1887 ed.).

Thayer's Note:

a A very good biographical sketch of Sister Dora (with several photographs, including of the statue at Walsall) can be found at the Wolverhampton History and Heritage Website.

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