Jackson, Thomas (1783-1873)
1783-1873; e.m. 1804

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WM minister and historian, son of a farm labourer at Sancton, Yorks born on 12 December 1783. His two brothers, Robert and Samuel Jackson, and his son Thomas all entered the ministry. With little formal education he showed himself to be a born student and became a distinguished scholar, serving as Connexional Editor (1824-37 and 1839-41) and theological tutor at Richmond College (1842-61). He was President of the Conference in 1838, playing a major part in the celebration of the Methodist centenary the following year, and again in 1849, at the height of the Reform crisis. (A highly critical account of his role in the expulsions of that year was published by Samuel Dunn after his death.) He was an able apologist for Methodism against the High Anglican attacks of E.B. Pusey and others. His most significant publications were The Centenary of Wesleyan Methodism (1839), a life of Charles Wesley (1841) and editions of John Wesley's Works (1829-31), Charles Wesley's Journal (1849) (though the shortcomings of his editorial principles are now seen to have hampered generations of scholars) and the Lives of the Early Methodist Preachers (1837-38; 3rd edition, enlarged, 1865-66). He also wrote lives of Richard Watson and Robert Newton. His Recollections of My Own Life and Times (1873) is a rich quarry for students of nineteenth century Methodism. His extensive library was bought by James Heald and and presented to Richmond College. He died at Shepherd's Bush, London, on 10 March 1873.


'Has plodded hard to cultivate a mind, not naturally rich, and brought it to yield fair average crops, - Style good, - a degree of polish, - but void of richness and strength… A sound theologian, though not profound, and well qualified for the office he sustains, as Editor of the Wesleyan Magazine. An agreeable rather than a rich voice; - and full, but not varied.'

Wesleyan Takings (1840), pp.350-1

  • Samuel Dunn, Recollections of Thomas Jackson and his Acts (1873)
  • G.J. Stevenson, Methodist Worthies (1884-1886), 2 pp.272-85
  • E.G. Rupp, Thomas Jackson, Methodist patriarch (1954)
  • Isabel Rivers, 'Thomas Jackson (1783–1873), Book Collector,Editor, and Tutor' in Wesley and Methodist Studies, 6 (2014), pp. 63-89
  • Oxford DNB