Richard William Church (25 April 1815 – 6 December 1890) was an English churchman and writer, known latterly as Dean Church.Life
Richard William was the eldest of three sons of John Dearman Church, a wine merchant, and his wife Bromley Caroline Metzener (d. 1845). His grandfather Matthew Church, a merchant of Cork, and his wife, were Quakers, and John had not been baptized into the Church of England until the time of his marriage in 1814. His uncle, General Sir Richard Church (1784–1873), achieved fame as a liberator of Greece.
The family moved in 1818 to Florence. After his father's death in 1828 his mother settled in Bath, and he was sent to a strict evangelical school at Redland, Bristol. He was admitted in 1832 to Wadham College, Oxford, where he took first-class honours in 1836. His mother, meanwhile, was remarried to Thomas Crokat, a widowed Englishman of Leghorn. In 1838, he was elected fellow of Oriel College. One of his contemporaries, Richard Mitchell, commenting on this election, said: "There is such a moral beauty about Church that they could not help taking him." He was appointed tutor of Oriel in 1839 and was ordained the same year. He was a close friend of John Henry Newman in this period and closely allied to the Tractarian movement. In 1841 Tract 90 of Tracts for the Times appeared and Church resigned his tutorship.
From 1844 to 1845, Church was junior proctor and, in that capacity and in concert with his senior colleague, vetoed a proposal to censure Tracts publicly. In 1846, with others, he started The Guardian newspaper and he was an early contributor to The Saturday Review. In 1850 he became engaged to H.F. Bennett, of a Somersetshire family, a niece of George Moberly, Bishop of Salisbury. After again holding the tutorship of Oriel, he accepted in 1858 the small living of Whatley in Somerset near Frome and was married in the following year. He was a diligent parish priest and a serious student and contributed largely to current literature.