Jabez Bunting (13 May 1779 – 16 June 1858), English Wesleyan divine, was born of humble parentage at Manchester. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School, and at the age of nineteen began to preach, being received into full Connexion (i.e., becoming a fully ordained minister) in 1803. He continued to minister for upwards of fifty-seven years in Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool, London and elsewhere.
In 1835 he was appointed president of the first Wesleyan theological college (at Hoxton), and in this position he succeeded in materially raising the standard of education among Wesleyan ministers. He was four times chosen to be President of the Conference (the ruling body of Wesleyan church), was repeatedly secretary of the Legal Hundred, and for eighteen years was secretary to the Wesleyan Missionary Society. Under him Methodism ceased to be a society based upon Anglican foundation, and became a distinct church. He favored the extension of lay power in committees, and was particularly zealous in the cause of foreign missions. Politically, he was conservative: for example, as President of the Conference, he supported the transportation of the Tolpuddle martyrs despite the fact that they were closely linked to Methodism, their leaders being local preachers.
Bunting was a popular preacher, and an effective platform speaker; in 1818 he was given the degree of M.A. by the University of Aberdeen, and in 1834 that of D.D. by Wesleyan University of Middletown, Connecticut, United States.
His eldest son, William Maclardie Bunting (1805–1866), was also a distinguished Wesleyan minister; and his grandson Sir Percy William Bunting (1836-1911), son of T. P. Bunting, became prominent as a liberal nonconformist and editor of the Contemporary Review.
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- Kent, J. (1977), Methodism and social change in Britain. In T. Runyon (Ed.), Sanctification and liberation, pp. 83-101. Nashville TN: Abingdon Press.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bunting, Jabez". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press