William Turner (minister at Wakefield)

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William Turner (1714–1794) was an English dissenting divine.


The son of John Turner (1689–1737), he was born at Preston, Lancashire, on 5 December 1714. His father, a restless man, who was minister for short periods at Preston, Rivington, Northwich, Wirksworth, and Knutsford, distinguished himself on the Hanoverian side in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715. His mother was Hannah (d. 20 February 1747), daughter of William Chorley of Preston; her first husband's name was Holder.

Turner was educated at Findern Academy (1732–6) under Ebenezer Latham, and at Glasgow University (1736–7). He was dissenting minister at Allostock, Cheshire (1737–46), but was not ordained till 7 August 1739. Ill-health caused him to retire from the ministry for eight years, during which he kept a school; in 1754 he became minister at Congleton, Cheshire; in April 1761 he moved to Wakefield, where he continued to minister till July 1792.

His Wakefield ministry brought him into close connection with Thomas Amory, the creator of ‘John Buncle;’ with Joseph Priestley, then at Leeds, whose opinions he espoused; and with Theophilus Lindsey, then vicar of Catterick, of whose policy of inviting a Unitarian secession from the Church of England he disapproved.

His manuscript criticisms suggested to Priestley the project of his Theological Repository, to which Turner contributed (1768–71) as Vigilius (Wakefield). His notes in Priestley's ‘Harmony of the Evangelists,’ 1780, are signed ‘T.’

He died on 28 August 1794. He married (1758) Mary (d. 31 Oct. 1784), eldest daughter of John Holland of Mobberley, Cheshire, by whom he had two sons, the elder being William Turner. He published sermons.



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain"Turner, William (1714-1794)". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.