John James Stewart Perowne was born on March 13, 1823 at Burdwan, Bengal the eldest son of the Reverend John Perowne, a missionary with the Church Missionary Society and his wife Eliza, a teacher in the missionary school.
John was educated at Norwich Grammar school, Norfolk and was admitted to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge in 1841. An obviously gifted student, he was Bell Scholar in 1842, Tyrwhitt Scholar in 1848 and awarded the Members Prize in 1844, 1846 and 1847. John obtained his B.A. degree in 1845 and his M.A. in 1848.
John James Stewart Perowne was ordained deacon in 1847 and priest in 1848. His first clerical appointment was as Curate of Tunstead, Norfolk from 1847 to 1849.
John was Assistant Master at Cheam School in 1845. Assistant Master at King Edward’s School, Birmingham in 1849 and from 1849 to 1864 he was a Fellow of the Corpus Christi College, obtaining his Bachelors in Divinity in 1856.
After holding a chair as Lecturer in Divinity at King’s College, London, he became, in 1862, the fourth vice-principal of St David’s College, Lampeter, a college with which he was already familiar, for he had been external examiner between 1851 and 1852. The ageing Principal of the college took a backseat, and Perowne effectively ‘took the reins’ until his departure from Lampeter in 1872. In 1867 he was made a Canon of Llandaff, which he held until 1878
It was also in 1862 John married Anna Maria Woolrych the daughter of Humphrey William Woolrych, Sergeant-at-Law, of Croxley House, Hertfordshire and it was during the couples time at Lampeter that their children were born. John Thomas Woolrych Perowne on June 1, 1863, Edward Stanley Perowne in 1864, Connop Fitzroy Perowne in 1866, Arthur William Thomson Perowne on Jun 13, 1867 and finally their only daughter Edith Anna Perowne in 1870.
During his time in Wales, John maintained his links with Cambridge and was Hulsean Lecturer in 1868 which required him to give a minimum of four lectures.
It was to Cambridge that he returned as Praelector in theology at Trinity from 1872 to 1875, obtaining his Doctorate in Divinity in 1873. He was Lady Margaret Preacher in 1874 from 1873 to 1875 a Fellow of Trinity College. From 1875 to 1878 John was Hulsean Professor of Divinity and Hon. Chaplain to Queen Victoria.
In 1878 John became Dean of Peterborough, a post he held until elevated to Bishop of Worcester from 1891 to 1901 when he retired to Southwick, near Tewkesbury, where he died on November 6, 1904.
John James Stewart Perowne was a respected Hebrew scholar of the traditional type and sat on the Old Testament Revision Committee. He is best remembered as the general editor of the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. His chief works were a Commentary on the Book of Psalms (2 vols., 1864-1868) and a life of Bishop Thirlwall (1877-1878).