James was the son of Nathaniel Scholefield, an independent minister of Henley on Thames. He married Harriet Chase, daughter of Dr Samuel Chase of Luton, Beds on 27th August 1827 and bore a son , James E.
THE LATE PROFESSOR SCHOLEFIELD.
The death of a man well-known, and so generally respected, as Professor Scholefield, has excited a great and painful interest in this town and neighbourhood. The following remarks on his life and character, which have been furnished to us by a friend of the late Professor, will be read with interest.
Professor Scholefield received his early education at Christ's Hospital. He was entered at Trinity College, Cambridge, In the year 1809, of which College he became a Scholar in 1812 and in the same year, he gained the Craven university Scholarship. In 1813 he took the degree of Bachelor of Arts, being 12th Senior optime, and subsequently obtaining the highest Classical Honours, viz.: The 1st Chancellor's Medal. The Classical Tripos was not then in existence. He was Members' Prizeman in 1814 and again in 1815. In the latter years he became a Fellow of Trinity, and ten years after on the death of Mr.Dobree, was elected Regius Professor of Greek in the University. This office he held till his death, continuing efficiently to discharge its duties,till the last few months of his life, when declining health compelled him to give up work, and retire from Cambridge.
But Professor Scholefield was not only known as a scholar, he used his great talents and high position to promote the glory of God and the welfare of his people. This was the one object for which he lived and died.It was as a faithful and eminently useful minister of the gospel that he was most widely known, honoured and loved.
"His praise was in all the churches".
He was ordained in December 1812, to the curacy of Trinity church, in this town, on the nomination of Mr Simeon, the then incumbent. He continued for ten years to be Mr Simeon's curate, and in 1823 was presented by his college to the living of St Michael's. It was during his thirty years ministry in the latter church that his great work was done.
Finding that his lot was cast here, he set himself with unwearied diligence, and in a noble spirit of self sacrifice, to do good. In every benevolent scheme which set foot in the town and neighbourhood he took an active and prominent part, lending it the aid of both his purse and of his labours. For many years before his death scarcely a public religious meeting was held in Cambridge which he did not attend and commonly preside over.For a quarter of a century he took his place in rotation as a chaplain at Addenbrookes Hospital. while the female refuge and the servants training institution were largely indebted to his exertions on their behalf. But apart from these and many such like benefits which he was the means of conferring upon the immediate locality in which he resided, his position in a university town, and in a high office of that university, gave him a field of usefulness such has rarely fallen to the lot of any , and which he did not fail to improve. It would be impossible to calculate the amount of good that has resulted from his labours. For a long series of years his church, and the very valuable lectures which he delivered on the Friday evenings during term time, at his own house, were attended by large numbers of gown-men, whom he was thus teaching to be the teachers of others. A large number of zealous and able ministers in England, as well as several who are labouring abroad as missionaries, owe, under God, the formation of their ministerial character, and their store of ministerial knowledge to their connections to the late professor. Of many he was the spiritual father.
Of the character of Professor Scholefield it is unnecessary to speak much to those among who he lived, and had every opportunity of observing what he was. His character was peculiarly transparent. What he seemed to be, that he was. One exception, however, should be made to this. There was a real kindness, a warmth of heart about him which did not appear on the surface. A stranger was often repulsed by a seeming air of sternness and severity. Better acquaintance showed this to be the index of a naturally firm and determined character-the air of a man who was thoroughly in earnest, who knew and habitually felt that life was a reality; who, possessing, and not seldom evincing, the greatest tenderness, kept feeling in subjection to principle and judgement.
Decision, soundness of judgement, unselfishness, simplicity of life and manners, and entire devotedness to his masters work, were some of his chief characteristics. A remarkable instance of his disinterestedness occurred in the year 1837, when the living of Sapcote in Leicestershire, was offered to him. On this he might have retired into comparative rest, or he might have held the two livings together, neither course, however, did he take. He felt that the post of duty, of consistency, and of usefulness, was at Cambridge, and there he stayed.
For sometime before his death, the professors health had been in a declining state. In November of last year he went , by the advice of his medical attendants, to Hastings. The quiet and rest which he found there, he greatly enjoyed, but the progress of disease could not be stopped. He sank gradually, evincing throughout a spirit of calm resignation, of cheerful thankfulness, and of holy peace. The great truths of which he had so long preached to others stood him in good stead in the time of trial. His bible was his constant companion; to that or to some simple hymn he turned, foresaking all the riches of classical and English lore, which were within his reach.
On Monday, the 4th Instant, he was able to be dressed and got down into the drawing room; there he sat for some time at an open window, having been with some difficulty persuaded to relinquish his intention of riding out, an exertion he was evidently too weak to encounter. After a while he moved from the window to a sofa,and there, with one gentle sigh, without a struggle, and apparently without a pang, he breathed his last, soon after 1 o'clock in the day.
"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, for they rest from their labours" . The loss is to the survivors alone.
The remains of the Reverend Professor were interred in the beautifully situated churchyard of Fairlight, in the neighbourhood of Hastings on Monday, the 11th Inst.
"The memory of the just is blessed ; whose faith follow, considering the end of his conversation".
On Sunday last, sermons in connection with the death of Professor Scholefield were preached. In the morning before the Vice-chancellor and the University, by the Rev H Venn B.D, formerly fellow and tutor of Queens college, and a friend and contemporary of the professor. At Trinity church, by the Rev C F Childe, formerly his curate and at St Michaels, by his more recent curate and friend, the Rev T T Perowne. In the evening, the Rev C Clayton preached on the same subject at Trinity church.
(Cambridge Independent Press - Saturday 23 April 1853)