George Hills, Bishop of British Columbia
18 November 1864
Volume 12, page 216, sittings number 16,014, 16,020 and 16,021.
The Canadian Anglican bishop George Hills became the first Bishop of British Columbia.
Born on 21 June 1816 at Eythorne near Dover in Kent, his father was a rear-admiral in the Royal Navy. Following his education at Durham University and his ordination as a priest in 1840, he was successively Curate of North Shields, lecturer and Curate at Leeds Parish Church, and Vicar of Great Yarmouth. ‘So deeply did he win his way to the sailor’s hearts by the frankness and manliness of his character, and by his horror of humbug, that when he went to British Columbia they insisted upon conveying him to his far-off diocese in a Yarmouth ship, free of charge. He inaugurated services specially for sailors, and had intercessions for them when they went out to sea. During storms, he would gather together their relatives for prayer in church’ (Dundee Evening Telegraph, 16 December 1895).
In 1859 he was consecrated at Westminster Abbey as the first Bishop of the diocese of British Columbia. When he reached his post the following year, he spent time travelling round the diocese, working with First Nations groups and creating new schools and churches.
While on leave in England in 1865 he married, on 4 January 1865 at Madingley near Cambridge, Maria Philadelphia Louise King, eldest daughter of the late Admiral Sir Richard King, Bart., KCB (Essex Standard, 6 January 1865).
He and the former Hudson’s Bay Chaplain Edward Cridge had strong disagreements resulting in a court case in 1874.
Hills returned to England in 1892. He died in Suffolk three years later on 10 December 1895. ‘He very seldom left his distant diocese, which he administered with great zeal and prudence for more than 30 years. […] Dr Hills was not only a pioneer of Christianity but likewise of civilisation, and it is not too much to say that the colonists will regard his loss as of a friend as well as a Bishop’ (Dundee Evening Telegraph, 16 December 1895).