George Horne (1730-1792) was born on 12 Nov. 1730, the son of the Rev. Samuel Horne, Rector of Otham, Kent. He was educated at Maidstone School and University College, Oxford (B.A., 1749; Fellow, 1750; M.A., 1752), and ordained in 1753. In 1768 he became President of Magdalen College, Oxford, a position which he retained until his death. From 1771 to 1781 Horne was chaplain-in-ordinary to King George III, and in 1776 he became Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford. He was appointed Dean of Canterbury in 1781. In 1790, in spite of illness, he accepted the Bishopric of Norwich. By the winter of 1791, however, he was gravely ill. He died at Bath on 17 Jan. 1792, and was buried at Eltham, Kent, in the family vault of the Burtons, his wife's family.
Horne was a prolific writer on theological matters, both doctrinal and devotional, whose views, although not particularly controversial, were apt to bring him into literary arguments, even with such figures as David Hume and Adam Smith. He is best known for his Commentary on the Psalms (London, 1771), which retained its popularity for many years.
On 26 June 1768 Horne married Felicia Elizabetha, daughter of Philip Burton of Eltham, Kent, and Hatton Gardens. The marriage produced three children, all daughters: Felicia Elizabetha (d. 1837), Maria and Sarah (1777-1843). Mrs. Horne died in 1824, having spent the last years of her life at Uxbridge, Middlesex, accompanied by her unmarried daughter Maria. She was, like her husband, an enthusiastic collector and compiler of devotional meditations, although few of her writings were printed.
The Hornes's eldest daughter, Felicia, married on 18 May 1791 the Rev. Robert Hele Selby (d. 1839), who shortly thereafter changed his surname by adding Hele. Of their numerous offspring, George (b. ?1801), Mary Ann, Caroline (later Mrs. Ashe), Emma Felicia, and John are mentioned in the collection. Sarah, George Horne's youngest daughter, was educated in Bristol, at the school run by Hannah More (1745-1833) and her sisters. She remained a friend of Miss More's for many years. In the 1790s Sarah married the Rev. Humphrey Aram Hole, then Vicar of Okehampton, Devon (d. 1814). They had two children, George and Felicia Eliza. George (1798-1859), like his father, entered the Church; of the children of his marriage (to Jane -), only Robert (b. ?1823) appears in the collection. Felicia Eliza married the Rev. John Earle Welby in 1819.
The collection contains papers of the Horne family intended for family consumption, rather than for publication. Much of the collection consists of manuscript notebooks, mainly in the hands of George and Felicia Horne, but with some passages in the hand of Sarah Horne and one, apparently, in that of Maria Horne. Since Mrs. Horne recorded, copied and extracted some of her husband's writings, in addition to producing her own, it is not always possible to determine which items were composed by George Horne and which were the work of his wife.
The collection was originally part of the Hole family papers, in the possession of the Arundell family, Devon. Presented to the Library by Sir Robert Arundell, 1977.