William Harris Murch

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Dr. William Harris Murch
Dr William Harris Murch.jpg
Born 1784
Died 12 July 1859
Nationality British
Occupation Preacher and Teacher
Religion Baptist
Partner(s) Eleanor
Children Three

Rev. Dr. William Harris Murch (1784 – 12 July 1859) was a Baptist Minister who served as a joint secretary of the Baptist Union and the Theological head and President of the Stepney Academy.


Murch was born in Honiton in Devon in 1784 and took to the church early, being known as a "boy preacher". He is said to have been inspired by reading a biography of Samuel Pearce, by Andrew Fuller. He attended Wymondley College, a dissenting academy that often moved location. He was baptised in 1802 as a young adult, in the Baptist style. After completing his training, he accepted an offer from the Sheppards Barton Meeting House at Frome only after he considered he was mature enough. After a long ministry there he was appointed the President and Theological Tutor of Stepney Academy in 1827 and he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity by Brown University.[1]

Murch became one of the joint secretaries of the Baptist Union in 1834 which was a post he was to retain for twelve years. It may be a coincidence but John Howard Hinton was later to say that although Baptists had been meeting for many years it was not until 1834 that the real Baptist Union was formed.[2]

Isaac Crewdson (Beaconite) writer Samuel Jackman Prescod - Barbadian Journalist William Morgan from Birmingham William Forster - Quaker leader George Stacey - Quaker leader William Forster - Anti-Slavery ambassador John Burnet -Abolitionist Speaker William Knibb -Missionary to Jamaica Joseph Ketley from Guyana George Thompson - UK & US abolitionist J. Harfield Tredgold - British South African (secretary) Josiah Forster - Quaker leader Samuel Gurney - the Banker's Banker Sir John Eardley-Wilmot Dr Stephen Lushington - MP and Judge Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton James Gillespie Birney - American John Beaumont George Bradburn - Massachusetts politician George William Alexander - Banker and Treasurer Benjamin Godwin - Baptist activist Vice Admiral Moorson William Taylor William Taylor John Morrison GK Prince Josiah Conder Joseph Soul James Dean (abolitionist) John Keep - Ohio fund raiser Joseph Eaton Joseph Sturge - Organiser from Birmingham James Whitehorne Joseph Marriage George Bennett Richard Allen Stafford Allen William Leatham, banker William Beaumont Sir Edward Baines - Journalist Samuel Lucas Francis August Cox Abraham Beaumont Samuel Fox, Nottingham grocer Louis Celeste Lecesne Jonathan Backhouse Samuel Bowly William Dawes - Ohio fund raiser Robert Kaye Greville - Botanist Joseph Pease, railway pioneer W.T.Blair M.M. Isambert (sic) Mary Clarkson -Thomas Clarkson's daughter in law William Tatum Saxe Bannister - Pamphleteer Richard Davis Webb - Irish Nathaniel Colver - American not known John Cropper - Most generous Liverpudlian Thomas Scales William James William Wilson Thomas Swan Edward Steane from Camberwell William Brock Edward Baldwin Jonathon Miller Capt. Charles Stuart from Jamaica Sir John Jeremie - Judge Charles Stovel - Baptist Richard Peek, ex-Sheriff of London John Sturge Elon Galusha Cyrus Pitt Grosvenor Rev. Isaac Bass Henry Sterry Peter Clare -; sec. of Literary & Phil. Soc. Manchester J.H. Johnson Thomas Price Joseph Reynolds Samuel Wheeler William Boultbee Daniel O'Connell - "The Liberator" William Fairbank John Woodmark William Smeal from Glasgow James Carlile - Irish Minister and educationalist Rev. Dr. Thomas Binney Edward Barrett - Freed slave John Howard Hinton - Baptist minister John Angell James - clergyman Joseph Cooper Dr. Richard Robert Madden - Irish Thomas Bulley Isaac Hodgson Edward Smith Sir John Bowring - diplomat and linguist John Ellis C. Edwards Lester - American writer Tapper Cadbury - Businessman not known Thomas Pinches David Turnbull - Cuban link Edward Adey Richard Barrett John Steer Henry Tuckett James Mott - American on honeymoon Robert Forster (brother of William and Josiah) Richard Rathbone John Birt Wendell Phillips - American M. L'Instant from Haiti Henry Stanton - American Prof William Adam Mrs Elizabeth Tredgold - British South African T.M. McDonnell Mrs John Beaumont Anne Knight - Feminist Elizabeth Pease - Suffragist Jacob Post - Religious writer Anne Isabella, Lady Byron - mathematician and estranged wife Amelia Opie - Novelist and poet Mrs Rawson - Sheffield campaigner Thomas Clarkson's grandson Thomas Clarkson Thomas Morgan Thomas Clarkson - main speaker George Head Head - Banker from Carlisle William Allen John Scoble Henry Beckford - emancipated slave and abolitionist Use your cursor to explore (or Click "i" to enlarge)
1840 World Anti-Slavery Convention.[3] Mrch is ???? but you can move your cursor to identify other delegates or click the icon to enlarge

In 1840, Murch attended the World's Anti-Slavery Convention in London and he was one of the notable delegates recorded in the picture.[3] After stepping down at Stepney Academy in 1843[4] and from his other formal positions Murch served for seven years with a Church in Rickmansworth before helping to form a church in Bath. Murch died in 1859.[2]


Murch is in a painting in the National Portrait Gallery in London.[3] He was also painted by George Frederick Clarke and this painting is now at the Regent's Park College in Oxford.[4]


  1. ^ Honorary Degrees, Brown University, accessed February 2013
  2. ^ a b "Former Secretaries of the Baptist Union.". biblicalstudies.org.uk. Retrieved 5 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c The Anti-Slavery Society Convention, 1840, Benjamin Robert Haydon, 1841, National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG599, Given by British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society in 1880
  4. ^ a b "Dr William Harris Murch (1784–1859), Principal of Stepney Academy (1827–1843)". Your Paintings. BBC. Retrieved 5 February 2013.