John Bampton (c. 1690-1751), English divine, was a member of Trinity College, Oxford, where he graduated M.A. in 1712, and for some time canon of Salisbury. He died on the 2nd of June 1751, aged 61. His will directs that eight lectures shall be delivered annually at Oxford in the University Church on as many Sunday mornings in full term, "between the commencement of the last month in Lent term and the end of the third week in Act term, upon either of the following subjects: - to confirm and establish the Christian faith, and to confute all heretics and schismatics; upon the divine authority of the Holy Scriptures; upon the authority of the writings of the primitive fathers, as to the faith and practice of the primitive Church; upon the divinity of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; upon the divinity of the Holy Ghost; upon the articles of the Christian faith as comprehended in the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds." The lecturer, who must be at least a Master of Arts of Oxford or Cambridge, was formerly chosen yearly by the heads of colleges, on the fourth Tuesday in Easter term, and no one can be chosen a second time. The series of lectures began in 1780, and is still continued, though since 1895 elections are only made in alternate years through a depreciation of the revenue of the fund.
The endowment provides £120 for each lecturer, and the lectures have to be published within two months of their delivery. Among the lecturers have been Heber in 1815 (The Personality and Office of the Christian Comforter); R. Whately in 1822 (Party Feeling in Religion); R. D. Hampden in 1832 (The Scholastic Philosophy in relation to Christian Theology); E. M. Goulburn in 1850 (The Resurrection of the Body); H. L. Mansel in 1858 (The Limits of Religious Thought); H. P. Liddon in 1866 (The Divinity of our Lord); E. Hatch in 1880 (The Organization of the Early Christian Churches); C. Bigg in 1886 (Christian Platonists of Alexandria); C. Gore in 1891 (The Incarnation); W. Sanday in 1893 (Inspiration); J. R. Illingworth in 1894 (Personality, Human and Divine); W. R. Inge in 1899 (Christian Mysticism), etc. A complete list is given in the Oxford Historical Register. The institution has done much to preserve a high standard in English theology; and the lectures as a whole form a historically interesting collection of apologetic literature.