Thomas Williams (Congregational minister)

Last updated
The Rev. Thomas Williams
Born 1724/25 [1]
Died(1770-06-19)19 June 1770
Gosport, Hampshire, England
Nationality British
Occupation Congregational minister
Spouse(s) Rebecca (née Isgar)

Thomas Williams (1724/1725–1770) was a Congregational minister.


Life as an Independent (Congregational) minister

From 1745 to 1749 Williams was a student at Plasterers' Hall, London, [2] which was a dissenting academy that provided for the training of Congregational ministers in the Calvinist tradition. [3] Williams was a student of Dr. Zephaniah Marryat. [4] [5] On 6 June 1750 Williams began his ministry at the Independent Chapel in the High Street of Gosport, Hampshire, which was a large chapel capable of seating twelve hundred persons. [5]

Calvinism Protestant branch of Christianity

Calvinism is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians.

Zephaniah Marryat was an English nonconformist minister. He was a strict Calvinist.

Gosport Town and Borough in England

Gosport is a town in Hampshire on the south coast of England. At the 2011 Census, its population was 82,622. On a peninsula on the eastern side of Portsmouth Harbour, opposite the city of Portsmouth, it is linked to it by the Gosport Ferry. It is south-east of Fareham, and linked by a bus line and a road. The Rowner area of the peninsula was settled by the Anglo-Saxons, and is mentioned in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle as Rughenor. Both Rowner and Alverstoke, the name coming from the point where the River Alver entered the Solent at Stokes Bay, were included in the Domesday Book. Rowner was the earliest known settlement of the peninsula with many Mesolithic finds and a hunting camp being found and tumuli on the peninsula investigated. Bronze Age items found in a 1960s construction in HMS Sultan included a hoard of axe heads and torcs. A three-celled dwelling unearthed during construction of the Rowner naval Estate in the 1970s points to a settled landscape. Next to the River Alver which passes the southern and western edge of Rowner is a Norman motte and bailey, the first fortification of the peninsula, giving a vantage point over the Solent, Stokes Bay, Lee-on-the-Solent and the Isle of Wight. The former Rowner naval married quarters estate, now mostly demolished, and HMS Sultan were built on a former military airfield, known first as RAF Gosport and later as HMS Siskin, which gives its name to the local infant and junior schools. The barracks at Browndown were used in the ITV series: Bad Lads Army.

Williams was a popular preacher. In 1752 he was proposed for membership of the Kings Head Society, [5] which then administered the dissenting academy at Plasterers' Hall, London, which in 1768 moved to Homerton, where the academy became known as the Homerton Academy or Independent College, Homerton. [6]

Homerton a town in London Borough of Hackney, United Kindom

Homerton is a district in East London, England, in the London Borough of Hackney. It is bordered to the west by Hackney Central, to the north by Lower Clapton, in the east by Hackney Wick, Leyton and by South Hackney to the south.

Independent College, Homerton, later Homerton Academy, was a dissenting academy just outside London, England, in the 18th and early 19th centuries.

Williams died at Gosport on 19 June 1770. He was succeeded at Gosford by Rev. James Watson and when he resigned in 1776, David Bogue was appointed as the minister of the Independent Chapel of Gosport. [5]

David Bogue British nonconformist leader

David Bogue was a British nonconformist leader.


Williams married Rebecca Isgar on 6 August 1750, at Rowner near Gosport. Rebecca was born about 1713 and died on 8 April 1799. Thomas and Rebecca had three children: Rebecca (born on 1 May 1751), Thomas (born on 27 May 1753) and Lydia (born on 24 July 1757). [7]

Rowner village in United Kingdom

Rowner is a part of Gosport, Hampshire, was mostly infamous for the high rise flats which dominated the area until recently, it was known as 'The Concrete Jungle'. Rowner was first mentioned in the Domesday Book, during the 11th century, where there was a Manor and St Mary the Virgin church. Within the grounds of the church have been found Roman burial shrouds, indicating use within this period. In the area is Rowner copse which is accessible for walkers, and a dirt track for BMX and Mountain Bike riders and has a play park for children. Part of the 1960s Naval estate within the area is undergoing redevelopment, as part of the Rowner Destruction Scheme, after the compulsory purchase of private homes already built there, they are now being called Alver village.

Rebecca married John Voke, a purser on HMS Acteon and Lydia married John Fenn. [7] John Fenn was one of the directors of the Missionary Society of London, which was a non-denominational missionary society formed in England by evangelical Anglicans and Nonconformists, largely Congregationalist in outlook, which in 1795 became the London Missionary Society. [8] In 1804 he participated in the foundation of the British and Foreign Bible Society. [5]

Missionary member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism

A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to proselytize or perform ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care, and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin missionem, meaning "act of sending" or mittere, meaning "to send". The word was used in light of its biblical usage; in the Latin translation of the Bible, Christ uses the word when sending the disciples to preach The gospel in his name. The term is most commonly used for Christian missions, but can be used for any creed or ideology.

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Anglicanism The practices, liturgy and identity of the Church of England

Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition that evolved out of the practices, liturgy and identity of the Church of England following the Protestant Reformation.

Thomas Williams married Mary Marsh on 17 April 1783. Thomas was a supplier of uniforms to the Royal Navy in Gosport. In 1794 Thomas and Mary and their six children moved to Nottingham, then the thriving centre of the East Midlands industrial revolution. [9] Thomas was listed in the Nottingham trade directories as a hosier. The industry was based on William Lee's stocking frame knitting machine. The business was successful. Thomas received recognition as a Burgess of Nottingham in 1796 and as a Sheriff of Nottingham in 1803. [9] However the prosperity which had been such a feature of the hosiery industry in the second half of the 18th century ended. In 1804 when Thomas died of typhus at the age of 50, Mary was left with a heavily mortgaged business with five sons and three daughters to look after. Their daughter Lydia married Edward Garrard Marsh, a member of the Church Missionary Society (CMS), who was influential in two of her brothers, Henry and William, joining the CMS and becoming missionaries in New Zealand. [10]

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  1. Daniels, Eilir (2010). "Research Report: Rev. Thomas Williams, Gosport, Hampshire (1724/25-1770)" . Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  2. "Williams, Thomas (?-c.1770)". Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies. 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  3. "Plaisterer's Hall Academy (1744-1754)". Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies. 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  4. "Marryatt, Zephaniah (c.1684-c.1754)". Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies. 2011. Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Harvey-Williams, Nevil (March 2011). "The Williams Family in the 18th and 19th Centuries - Part 1" . Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  6. Parker, Irene (2009). Dissenting academies in England: their rise and progress, and their place among the educational systems of the country. Cambridge University Press. ISBN   978-0-521-74864-3.
  7. 1 2 Harvey-Williams, Nevil (March 2011). "Early Family History and Origins of the Thomas Williams's of Gosport & Nottingham covering mainly the period 1725 to 1850" . Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  8. Lovett, Richard (1899). The history of the London Missionary Society, 1795-1895. London : Henry Frowde.
  9. 1 2 Harvey-Williams, Nevil (March 2011). "The Williams Family in the 18th and 19th Centuries - Part 2" . Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  10. Rogers, Lawrence M. (1973). Te Wiremu: A Biography of Henry Williams. Pegasus Press, New Zealand.