Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)EWB
TitlePapers of the Right Reverend Ernest William Barnes
Extent19,286 items
DescriptionPapers of Bishop Barnes comprising his correspondence which has been divided into the following sequences: early general, 1888-1924; with individual clergyman and diocesan officials; on controversies, 1924-1936; with rebel parishes; with individual rebel clergymen; with and relating to Birmingham institutions; on general topics; miscellaneous, 1924-1950; and relating to his writings, broadcasts etc, 1902-1952. Other papers include engagement diaries, 1904-1953; mathematical papers; and other published offprints.
ArrangementThe collection is arranged by document type and subject.
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered researchers
Finding AidsA temporary handlist is available as a pdf file, as well as a separate list detailing section EWB/5/6. Click on the links in the document field below. Paper copies are also available in the Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections Department.
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryThe Right Reverend Ernest William Barnes 1874-1953, Bishop of Birmingham, 1924-1953. Educated at King Edward's School, Birmingham and Trinity College Cambridge where he was bracketed second wrangler. In 1897 he became president of the Union and obtained a first in mathematics. The following year he was first Smith's prizeman and was elected a fellow of his college, becoming assistant lecturer in 1902, junior dean in 1906-1908, and tutor 1908-1915. In 1909 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. In 1902 he was made deacon and in 1903 was ordained priest. In 1915-19 he was master of the Temple; in 1918 he was made canon of Westminster, and in 1924 Ramsay MacDonald nominated him bishop of Birmingham. Barnes was a fellow of King's College London, 1919, and received the honorary degrees of D.D. from Aberdeen, 2935 and Edinburgh, 1927, and L.L.D. from Glasgow, 1926.

Barnes conceived it to be his mission and duty to urge the necessity of substituting a world outlook based on the natural sciences for the traditionally scriptural outlook characteristic of christian theology. He preached what came to be known as "gorilla" sermons, supporting the evolutionary theory of man's biological descent from some creature akin to the apes. The essence of christianity as he understood and practiced it was to be found in a personal discipleship of the Jesus of the Gospels, and in the acceptance of an ethic based on the Sermon on the Mount.

Reference: E.T. Williams and Helen M. Palmer, Editors, Dictionary of National Biography, 1951-1960 (Oxford University Press, 1971).
AcquisitionThis collection was deposited as a gift by the family in 1980.