Francis James Chavasse (1846-1928) was born on 27 September 1846 at Sutton Coldfield. He was frequently ill as a child and was largely tutored privately rather than going to school. He matriculated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in 1865, where he gained a first class degree in law and modern history.
He was ordained at Manchester in 1870, held a curacy (1870-1873) at St Paul's, Preston, became vicar of St Paul's, Upper Holloway (1873-1877) and rector of St Peter-le-Bailey, Oxford (1877-1889) – now the Chapel of St Peter’s College.
It was in Oxford that he married Edith Maude, with whom he had seven children.
His work in Oxford was greatly admired and lead to him being appointed principal of Wycliffe Hall in 1889. In 1900 he became Bishop of Liverpool, a position he held for 23 years.
He is best remembered in Liverpool for founding Liverpool Cathedral, but also for his compassion and sensitivity at a time when the city was experiencing sectarian tension. The Chavasse family’s impressive record during WWI further endeared him to the people of the city.
He retired to Oxford in 1923 and lived in the rectory of St Peter-le-Bailey, now known as Linton House. He and his son, Christopher, began to consider using the surrounding buildings on New Inn Hall Street for the foundation of a new Oxford College with an Evangelical ethos. Francis died in March 1928, shortly before their idea came to fruition in the form of St Peter’s Hall, which opened in October 1929. He is buried at the Founder’s Plot at Liverpool Cathedral – St Peter’s remains effectively a memorial to him.