A scene from the Leben der heiligen Altväter (1482)

R.W. Moss, The Rev. W. B. Pope, D.D.: Theologian and Saint

in The Library of Methodist Biography. London: Robert Culley, 1920

This 126-page book is the fullest biography of Pope yet. It has eight chapters, covering Pope’s youth, student years, family life, Wesleyan ministry, position as theological tutor, preaching, literary output, and closing years. The author had access to many personal letters and diaries, but does not provide footnotes or any apparatus to enable further research.

The author is Richard Waddy Moss (1850- 1935), tutor at Didsbury from 1888 to 1915, serving as Principal from 1913-1915.

Moss reports that Pope suffered from severely depressed spirits late in life. This report is not altogether surprising, since Pope’s writings (all those funeral orations!) display that his meditative spirit tended toward a temperament of melancholy. But Moss’ portrait of depressed William Burt Pope has been picked up by some later commentators, and it would have been helpful if Moss had provided some more details, corroboration, or documentation to round out his assessment.