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The John Newton Project

Members


These members of the Eclectic Society are the names shown in Newton's earliest notebook of 1787-1789
 
William Jarvis Abdy
(1755-1823)
Born in the year that Newton formed a friendship with George Whitefield, Abdy entered Magdalen Hall, Oxford, in 1775, the year in which Newton wrote Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion city of our God. When Abdy first joined the Eclectic Society he held the lectureship of Allhallows, Lombard Street and the curacy of St John’s Horslydown, Bermondsey (where he would remain for the next 41 years, eventually becoming  its rector). Abdy’s first wife died the year after their marriage. He subsequently married Elizabet Perkins of Staines. He was known and loved for his consistent character as a Christian both in and out of the pulpit.
John Bacon, RA
(1740-1799)
John Bacon showed an early talent for artistic work. He was awarded the first ever gold medal for sculpture by the Royal Academy in 1769. He married his first wife Elizabeth Wade in 1773, the year that Amazing Grace was first sung. After her death, he married Martha Holland, with Newton performing the marriage ceremony. Newton first met Bacon in 1782. Invited to join the Eclectic Society in its founding year of 1783, Bacon took notes verbatim at its meetings. He seemed to always arrive unprepared for doing this, for his mss give the impression of one who, at the last moment, rummaged through his pockets for a scrap of an old letter, or a pencil sketch of a memorial statue in planning, or scrounged some pages off fellow Eclectics. On his death the Eclectic Society was presented with a silver teapot inscribed: ‘Bequeathed to the Eclectic Society by John Bacon, Esq., late one of its members, as a token of his affectionate regard.’
Ely Bates
(1743-1812)
Ely Bates was a respected author with ‘an original turn of thinking’. He was secretary to Sir George Saville. Quiet and serious, he could be aroused to share his reflections, as Newton described to William Bull: ‘Mr Bates usually sits silent the first half hour, and perhaps takes the second to himself in a continued discourse. The light he throws upon the subject, and the precision with which he treats it, are admirable; and so are his humility and ingenuousness.’ In April 1787 Bates married Elizabeth Mary Morgan. They lived at Blackheath, where Bates largely withdrew to concentrate on philosophical contemplation and writing. Fellow Eclectic John Pearson described him as ‘a man endowed with a very superior capacity, a sublime genius, an original turn of thinking, and powers of acute and correct ratiocination’. Bates died at the age of 68 and was buried in Bath Abbey. His widow joined the Moravians, to whom she became a generous benefactor. Her legacy lives on in the Elizabeth Mary Bates Trust.
Richard Cecil
(1748-1810)
The youngest of the founding members (he entered Queen's College, Oxford, in the year of Amazing Grace), Cecil held several London lectureships (including St Margaret, Lothbury, Orange Street Chapel and Christ Church, Spitalfields) and two small livings at Cliff in Lewes, Sussex. He was curate of the proprietary chapel St John’s Bedford Row, and subsequently rector of Chobham for the summer months. He was constantly under ill health. Daniel Wilson, Bishop of Calcutta, wrote, 'Mr Cecil possessed an unusual power of impressing a congregation and riveting their attention.  Sometimes a sentence, or even a single word, sufficed.'  Cecil preached Newton's Funeral Sermon at St Mary Woonoth. He wrote the Memoirs of John Bacon (1801), William Bromley Cadogan (1798) and John Newton (1808), each published by the Religious Tract Society. In later years Cecil suffered a paralysis of his right side and was subsequently much in pain.  He would sit in his pulpit to preach.  His thoughts then were, 'The dying words of Mr Hervey are much on my mind, "If I had my life to live again, I would spend more of it on my knees."' See his Life and Remains (there are various versions, with comments by his wife, daughter and former curate Josiah Pratt).
John Clayton
(1754-1843)
Clayton was converted through William Romaine's preaching.  He trained at Trevecca College, becoming a preacher in the Countess of Huntingdon's chapel at Tunbridge Wells. He first sought ordination into the Established Church but withdrew to assist Sir Harry Trelawney, who was then a dissenter. Clayton was subsequently ordained as the Independent Minister of King's Weigh House Chapel, a meeting house over the King's Weigh House in Little Eastcheap, where he ministered from 1778 to 1826.  A few months after his arrival he married Martha Flower. Their three sons John, George and William each became pastors.  When Clayton began his ministry the church was Presbyterian. Within six years he had switched their allegiance to Congregational. In 1782, Clayton approached Newton on William Bull’s behalf to draw up plans for a proposed academy in Newport Pagnell  ‘for preparing young men for the ministry, in which the greatest stress might be laid upon truth, life, spirituality, and the least stress possible upon modes, forms, and non-essentials.’ One of Newton's breakfast guests, he was invited to join the Eclectic Society in its founding year of 1783. Newton had a soft spot for Clayton's sister-in-law, Jane Flower, who had attended the same school in Northampton as his adopted daughter Betsy Catlett. See Memorials of the Clayton Family.
Henry Foster
(1745-1844)
Born in Yorkshire, Foster was converted in his youth through the family prayers of one of his father’s workmen. He studied at Queens College, Oxford, and was ordained as curate to William Romaine at St Andrew-by-the-Wardrobe, a church which went rather by the name of St Ann’s Blackfriars (the parishes had amalgamated when the latter was burned down in the Great Fire of London, 1666). Newton appealed to Foster to become his curate in Olney, warning him of the snares facing a young man working in London. Although Foster declined his invitation, he often filled in for Newton at Olney to allow him to travel. Both Newtons were very fond of Foster. Both had him read their funeral services. Foster had several lectureships in London, preaching five times a week to different congregations. On Simeon’s appeal, he turned down the offer of the living of Holy Trinity Clapham in favour of John Venn. With great reluctance he accepted the perpetual curacy of St James Clerkenwell in 1804, a post delayed by litigation until 1807.
James Edward Gambier
(1759-1839)
James Edward, the son of William James and Mary, and second cousin of Admiral James Lord Gambier, graduated at Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge. From 1788 he held the lectureship at St Mildred Bread Street with St Margaret Moses. The following year he was instituted rector of Langley in Kent, close to the home of Admiral Sir Charles Middleton of Teston, where he remained for fifty years. He was domestic chaplain to Middleton. In 1813 he became rector of St Mary-le-Strand. He was buried at Langley.
not be be confused with:
James Edward’s second cousin, James Gambier (1756-1833), who was born in the Bahamas but raised in England at Teston by his aunt and uncle Admiral Sir Charles and Lady Margaret Middleton. James became Admiral Lord Gambier of Iver, first President of the Church Missionary Society (an outreach from the Eclectic Society), and a Vice President of both the Naval & Military Bible Society and the British & Foreign Bible Society.
William Goode
(1762-1816)
William Goode was born in Buckingham, just 20 miles from Olney. At the age of thirteen, following the example of Matthew Henry, he made ‘an everlasting covenant’ with God. In his early teens he was educated at William Bull’s in Newport Pagnell and subsequently at Thomas Clarke’s in Chesham Bois, where he studied alongside another future Eclectic, Basil Woodd. He graduated from Magdalen Hall, Oxford, was ordained curate to Abbott’s Langley, Herts and in 1786 as curate to William Romaine at St Ann’s Blackfriars. He succeeded Romaine as the rector in 1795 (there were 40 applicants, but the parish and several MPs petitioned for Goode). Amongst Goode’s lectureships, he held that at St John’s Wapping, a couple of blocks from Newton’s birthplace. Goode wrote a number of hymns. He was secretary to the Society for the Relief of Poor Pious Clergymen and President of Sion College. William’s older brother John Goode also studied with William Bull, becoming an Independent pastor (of Potter’s Pury, and then of White’s Row Chapel, Spitalfields) and a member of the Congregational Board.
[?] Lawson Not yet positively identified.
John Newton
(1725-1807)
Please browse our website! Try these:
his own profile, by himself
his CV with references, by his friends
George Pattrick
(1746-1800)
The son of a wealthy Essex farmer 1772, Pattrick trained as an attorney but after a few years turned to the ministry and was given the living of Aveley, where Newton spent his childhood. Pattrick was persuaded by one of his parishioners to listen to evangelical preachers in London. This resulted in his seeking advice from Richard Conyers, then at Deptford.  Partly for health reasons he resigned his positions and was chosen chaplain of Morden College, Blackheath in 1787, a post which Newton’s Olney vicar Moses Browne had previously held. Gaining in spiritual insight, Pattrick became a popular preacher, but was dismissed under the charge of 'having concealed his real methodistical principles at the time of making his application' and for preaching 'with a degree of vehemence and enthusiasm', concentrating on 'faith and grace and such-like controversial points of religion'. For a while he was curate at Carshalton, then assistant to Henry Foster in London. His lectureships there were crowded out, averaging an attendance of 1,500. He died while visiting his wife’s birthplace, Madely, and was buried closed to their former vicar John Fletcher.
John Pearson, FRS
(1758-1826)

(sometimes spelled Pierson)
Born in Yorkshire, after an apprenticeship to a surgeon Pearson lived for three years at the home of William Hey of the Leeds Infirmary (who became a close friend of Wilberforce’s). In 1781 he was appointed house surgeon to the Lock Hospital in London. It was he who recommended Scott as its chaplain. He attended Scotts’s family gratis. Pearson was the biographer of William Hey. His son John Norman was First Principal of the Church Missionary Society's College at Islington, 1826-1839 and vicar of Holy Trinity, Tunbridge Wells, 1839-1853. Another son Edwin was knighted on being appointed Lieutenant of the Yeoman of the Guard. His daughter Sarah Anne married George Gisbourne Babington, son of Thomas Babington of Rothley Temple. Pearson’s wife died just 4 months after he did.
Thomas Robinson
(1749-1813)

country member
A Yorkshireman, Robinson found great fellowship with other believers at Cambridge while studying at Trinity College. He first curacy was nearby at Witcham and Wickford, then later at St Martin’s Leicester (now the cathedral, where the remains of Richard III are buried) and All Saints. Newton saw great potential in Robinson. They visited each other. On Newton’s recommendation to Lord Dartmouth, with support from Thomas Babington of Rothley Temple, Robinson was appointed vicar of St Mary’s Leicester (St Mary de Castro), from which position he exerted a tremendous influence for good on the city. It was Robinson’s letter of recommendation of William Carey to Newton which drew Newton’s practical support for the pioneering missionary, first in London and then as a correspondent when he reached India. Not being resident in London, Robinson could not be a regular member of the Eclectic Society, but was invited to attend as a country member. This privilege required the unanimous agreement of all the members a fortnight in advance. See also Newton’s letters to Robinson
Thomas Scott
(1747-1821)
As one of Newton’s neighbouring clergymen, Scott sought to draw Newton into controversy for his own amusement. Newton offered him his patient friendship instead. In time Scott turned to the Olney curate for advice.  Newton recorded: ‘Thou hast answered my desires and exceeded my expectations in him; how gradually yet how clearly hast thou taught him thy Gospel truth! And hast favoured him with a single eye to seek thee and thy truth above all. I hope to see him (if my life be spared) eminent in knowledge, powers and usefulness among thy servants.’ Scott was indeed an eminent teacher, the writer of a much valued Bible Commentary, and the one whom Newton recommended to Wilberforce for his spiritual instruction – made possible by the timely appointment of Scott as chaplain of the Lock Hospital in 1785. Scott was the first Secretary of the Church Missionary Society. He published his testimony The Force of Truth. As his health deteriorated, he moved out of the city to the living of Aston Sandford in Buckinghamshire. His son John added a Memoir of his father to the publication of his correspondence. Here and subsequently here.
Basil Woodd
(1760-1831)
Born in Richmond, Surrey, Woodd was educated at Chesham Bois at the same time as William Goode, later studying at Trinity College Oxford. In 1784 he became the lecturer at St Peter’s Cornhill, close to St Mary Woolnoth, and morning preacher at Bentinck Propriety Chapel in Marylebone, soon afterwards establishing an evening preaching. He was later able to purchase the lease of the chapel. Newton kept a fatherly eye on him. As his first wife had lain dying in 1791, Woodd read her a letter of condolence and encouragement he had received from Newton. 'If it is not improper' she said, 'give my love to him; tell him he thinks more of me than I deserve… Tell him whether I live or die, all is well, and I believe will work together for my good… Tell him not to forget me in his prayers.' Newton performed her burial service. Woodd married again the following year.  During his time at Bentinck, Woodd saw the congregation increase from 20 to 300 regular attenders. He founded schools, entirely supported by Bentinck Chapel, in which some 3,000 children were educated. One of his more widely known hymns is Hail, thou source of every blessing. He was additionally chaplain to the Marquis Townshend and, from 1808, rector of Drayton Beauchamp, Buckinghamshire. See A Family Record...


Article printed from johnnewton.org at 03:55 on 26 August 2019