Jeremiah Joyce

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Jeremiah Joyce (1763-1816) was an English Unitarian minister and writer.


He was born 24 February 1763 at Mildred's Court London. He became a glass-painter, but on the death of his father and with the support of his brother, Joshua, he studied for the Unitarian ministry, where he became proficient in mathematics and Latin. Later he became tutor to the sons of Earl Stanhope.

Joyce had radical political views, became a member of the Society for Constitutional Reform and of the London Corresponding Society. On 4 May 1794 he was arrested at Stanhope's house in Kent on a charge of 'treasonable practices', and examined by the Privy Council, where he refused to answer any questions without a lawyer, which he was refused. He remained in custody until 19 May when, with others, he was committed to the Tower of London on a charge of High Treason. They were arraigned at the Old Bailey on 25 October. After the acquittal of some of his co-defendants, charges against him were dropped. Joyce had suffered twenty three weeks imprisonment.

Joyce was for many years the secretary of the Unitarian Society. At the time of his death, 21 June 1816, he was minister of the precursor to Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel at Hampstead. Joyce married Elizabeth Harding (niece of Captain Fagg) in 1796 and the youngest of his six children, Hannah (born the year before Joyce died, later married William Ridyard), went to live with his friend William Shepherd.


Joyce wrote a number of popular educational works on science and mathematics. He was largely responsible for the editing of two rival encyclopedic works bearing the names of others, George Gregory's Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (1808) and William Nicholson's British Encyclopaedia (1809). He also contributed articles to Rees's Cyclopædia (1802-1819).