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  Walter Lock (1846–1933), by Philip Brain Walter Lock (1846–1933), by Philip Brain
Lock, Walter (1846–1933), theologian, was born at Dorchester, Dorset, on 14 July 1846, the second son of Henry Lock, solicitor, of Dorchester, and his wife, Susannah Ware, daughter of William May, of Bridgwater. He was educated at Marlborough College, whence he gained a scholarship at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was awarded a first class in classical moderations (1867) and in literae humaniores (1869), and won the Hertford (1867) and Craven (1870) scholarships. In 1871 he was president of the Oxford Union. In 1869 he was elected to a fellowship at Magdalen College, which he held until his marriage on 28 September 1892 to Jane Cecil, eldest daughter of Charles Heathcote Campion, rector of Westmeston, Sussex. They had one son and four daughters. In 1870 Lock was appointed to one of the first tutorships of Keble College, of which he became sub-warden in 1881 and warden in 1897. The religious and theological standpoint of this follower of the original Tractarians is revealed in his essay ‘The Church’ in Lux mundi (1889), John Keble, a Biography (1893), and The Bible and Christian Life (1905) [see also ]. His breadth of sympathy is best displayed in his very last published work, Oxford Memories (1932), a charming collection of short reminiscences, chiefly obituary notes and addresses, of friends and colleagues of every shade of theological opinion. At the end of the century Lock was appointed the first general editor of the Westminster Commentaries on the Revised Version, but his own, sometimes over-cautious, scholarship is most clearly seen in his Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Pastoral Epistles (1924). He was ordained deacon in 1872 and priest in 1873, and in 1895 was appointed Dean Ireland's professor of exegesis of holy scripture. He held the chair until 1919, when his election to the Lady Margaret professorship of divinity (with a canonry at Christ Church) heralded his resignation in 1920 of the wardenship of Keble College. He retired from the Lady Margaret chair in 1927, having been elected to an honorary fellowship at Magdalen in 1897 and at Corpus Christi in 1920, and to honorary membership of the council of Keble College in the last-named year.

Whether as a member of the hebdomadal council, on which he served from 1896 to 1919, or as chairman of the board of faculty of theology, or as a member of the council of St Hugh's Hall (later College), Oxford, Lock showed himself not unsympathetic to new ideas and new causes. He supported the higher education of women and strove successfully for the abolition of the denominational restrictions on admittance to the degrees of BD and DD. Among his contemporaries he possessed a considerable reputation as a preacher, lecturer, and organizer of seminars (in the days when seminars were a novelty). At Keble College, throughout his fifty years of service, his personal popularity, determined tactfulness, and energetic leadership contributed significantly to the shaping of the institution. He died at 13 Rawlinson Road, Oxford, on 12 August 1933.

D. C. Simpson, rev. Peter Hinchliff


The Times (14 Aug 1933) · Clock Tower [Keble College] (Nov 1933) · Oxford Magazine (12 Oct 1933) · R. Morgan, ed., The religion of the Incarnation (1989), 136–46 · P. Hinchliff, God and history: aspects of British theology, 1875–1914 (1992), 113–15 · S. C. Carpenter, Church and people, 1789–1889, 2nd edn, 3 (1959), 553–5 · C. T. Wainwright, ed., Keeping the faith (1989) · General Register Office for England


C. W. Furse, oils, 1895, Keble College, Oxford · W. Stoneman, photograph, 1920, NPG · P. Brain, photograph, NPG [see illus.]

Wealth at death  

£4466 19s. 6d.: probate, 4 Sept 1933, CGPLA Eng. & Wales