Hammond, Thomas Chatterton (1877–1961), anglican clergyman and controversialist, was born 20 February 1877 in Cork city, youngest son of Colman Mark Hammond, former lay missionary, retired naval officer, and farmer, and his second wife, Elizabeth (née Sergeant). The farm near Cobh was sold after Colman's death in 1883. For a time the Hammonds lived with relatives in Cork, of whom the wife was a catholic and the husband an agnostic, both anxious to propagate their views. This strengthened Hammond's commitment to evangelicalism, as did the conversion of a brother to catholicism.
Hammond was educated at Cork Model School and became a railway clerk at the age of 13. He was prominent in the Cork YMCA, which combined social and religious activities. The early 1890s witnessed an evangelical mini-revival in which some clerical and lay enthusiasts attempted to spread protestantism by public preaching. This was resented by many catholics, and provoked rioting and political controversy. The young Hammond was an active street-preacher in Cork, once becoming the object of a tug-of-war between rioters and policemen.
Street-preaching was disliked by many protestants as irresponsible, while its devotees often saw mainstream protestantism as worldly and lukewarm, and sometimes seceded to small independent denominations. Hammond, however, remained within the Church of Ireland after briefly considering presbyterianism. From 1896 he trained in Dublin as a lay missionary with the Society for Irish Church Missions to the Roman catholics. In 1899 he enrolled in TCD, where he studied the scriptures and idealist philosophy. He received the diaconate on 20 December 1903 and became curate of St Kevin's, a hardline evangelical parish in a working-class area around the South Circular Road, Dublin. Hammond was ordained by Archbishop Joseph Peacocke (qv) of Dublin on 26 March 1905. He married (26 January 1906) Margaret McNay, sister of a close friend and fellow-evangelist, at St Anne's parish church, Cork. Their long and happy marriage produced three sons and a daughter.
Hammond became rector of St Kevin's in 1910. By this time he was one of the most controversial figures in Irish religious circles. In the late nineteenth century the principal Irish battleground between the catholic church and evangelical protestant missionaries shifted from the west of Ireland to the Dublin slums. Protestant and catholic evangelisers argued in the newspapers, the streets, and the law courts over the religious affiliations of slum-dwellers, down-and-outs, unmarried mothers and their children, and other marginal groups which provided potential inmates for charitable institutions operated by the rival denominations. Each side denounced the other as power-hungry and spiritually blind hypocrites, trying to win souls by bribery and intimidation, whose dupes forfeited self-respect in this life and salvation in the next. Such disputes regularly became enmeshed in the issue of Irish fitness for self-government; Hammond and other evangelists claimed there would be no religious freedom under home rule, while catholics and nationalists accused them of pseudo-religious political agitation.
Hammond's prominence increased when he became the leading writer for an ultra-protestant monthly, the Catholic, after the death of its founder Thomas Connellan (qv) in 1917, and left St Kevin's to become superintendent of the Irish Church Missions in 1919. He also composed numerous pamphlets on religious controversy; whenever prominent catholic spokesmen lectured in Dublin, Hammond sent a representative to take notes so he could prepare an instant rebuttal. At a time when open-air debates were a major source of public entertainment, Hammond and his evangelists held regular public meetings. In Dublin, these were picketed by catholic activists; in provincial towns they were broken up by force. The Irish Catholic called Hammond ‘the notorious chief of soupers’.
These activities grew more troublesome after the establishment of the Irish Free State, which saw a revival in catholic self-confidence and militancy. Since he coupled high-profile controversy with protests against modernists and anglo-catholics within the Church of Ireland, Hammond was regarded with disquiet by church authorities and denied preferment. At the same time he acquired an international reputation as an evangelical spokesman; in 1926 he toured Canada and Australia, campaigning against proposals to legitimise anglo-catholic liturgical practices by amending the Book of Common Prayer.
In April 1936 Hammond became rector of St Philip's church, Sydney, Australia, and principal of Moore Theological College, which his extensive programme of rebuilding and curriculum development (1936–53) revitalised as a strongpoint of conservative evangelical anglicanism. On the voyage Hammond completed his principal work of apologetics, In understanding be men (London, 1936), subsequently widely translated; a revised version still circulates.
As a principal lieutenant to Archbishop Howard Mowll, Hammond purged modernists, anglo-catholic ritualists, and liberal evangelicals from positions of influence, confirming Sydney as perhaps the most evangelical anglican diocese in the world (with a strong Irish evangelical influence). He became rural dean in 1936, canon in 1939, and archdeacon in 1949. Hammond campaigned to defend the evangelical position elsewhere in Australia, orchestrating a four-year lawsuit against the bishop of Bathurst for permitting ritualist services. He continued to write on theological subjects, giving regular radio broadcasts in opposition to a catholic apologist on a rival Sydney station. He served the Australian Orange Order as grand chaplain (1943–7, 1950–61) and grand master (1960–61) of New South Wales, and grand chaplain of Australia (1954–61).
Hammond died of a cerebral haemorrhage on 16 November 1961. Like his fellow Corkman Daniel Mannix (qv), he was seen by opponents as bringing Irish conflicts to Australia. He was the last major spokesman of the nineteenth-century ‘second reformation’ conversionist tradition, a combatant in the sectarian disputes that bedevilled twentieth-century Irish social policy, and a valiant fighter for truth as he saw it.