Hills, George

George Hills, Anglican bishop of British Columbia 1859-95 (b at Eythorne, Eng 21 June 1816; d 10 Dec 1895). An early graduate of Durham University, Hills was influenced by the Tractarians, serving under Dr Hook at Leeds parish church (1841-48). In 1848 Hills became vicar of Great Yarmouth and in 1859 was appointed to the new colonial bishopric of BC. By nature authoritarian, he came into conflict with the older colonial society, bringing about one of the few splits in the Anglican community in 1874 when his dean, the Reverend E. Cridge, withdrew to establish a congregation of the Reformed Episcopal Church. This dispute, based both on doctrinal grounds and on social and personal differences, was fought in ecclesiastical and civil courts, and divided the society of the new Pacific province. Hills's great energies were otherwise devoted to increasing his clergy, travelling through his large diocese, initiating native missions, acquiring land and creating churches and schools that were often beyond the financial capacities of his laity. He undoubtedly established the foundation for the predominance of the Church of England in British Columbia.