John Henry Williams (1747-1829): `Political Clergyman'

November 2007
1 colour, 2 black and white illustrations
192 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in Modern British Religious History
ISBN: 9781843833307
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
Boydell Press

John Henry Williams (1747-1829): `Political Clergyman'

War, the French Revolution, and the Church of England

Colin Haydon

First full-length study of the life and career of John Henry Williams, one of the most fascinating figures of the eighteenth-century church.
John Henry Williams was the vicar of Wellesbourne in south Warwickshire from 1778 until his death some fifty years later. A dedicated pastor, displaying an `enlightened and liberal' outlook, his career illuminates the Church of England's condition in the period, and also a clergyman's place in local society. However, he was not merely a country parson. A `political clergyman', Williams engaged fervently in both provincial and national political debate, denouncing the war with revolutionary France between 1793 and 1802, and published a series of forceful sermons condemning the struggle on Christian principles. To opponents, he appeared insidious and blinkered, but to admirers he was 'a sound divine, and not a less sound politician'.

This book, the first to examine Williams' career in full, is a detailed, vivid, and sometimes moving, study of a man who occupies an honorable and significant position in the Church of England's history and in the history of British peace campaigning.

Dr COLIN HAYDON teaches in the Department of History at the University of Winchester.

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Table of Contents

The Grave and the Memory
The Formative Years
The Ivy-mantled Tow'r: Parish and Pastoralia
The Gathering Storm
By Far the Heaviest of All Earthly Calamities: Williams' Anti-War Sermons
Anxiety, the 1797 Campaign, and Afterwards


Will give [readers] a better understanding of the interaction between local and national affairs, and between faith and politics, in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century England. HISTORY

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