Kent, Dr John Henry Somerset
1923-  ; e.m. 1950

Methodist historian, son of the PM minister Walter Harold Kent (1889-1951; em. 1916). He was educated at Emmanuel College, where he gained a 1st Class in the Historical Tripos, and Wesley House, Cambridge. In 1950 he was awarded a PhD for his thesis on 'The clash between radicalism and conservatism in Methodism, 1815-1848'. During his first year as assistant tutor at Headingley College (1951-53), he was President's Assistant to Dr H. Watkin-Jones. He taught History at Emmanuel College, Cambridge 1955-59 and Church History and English at Hartley Victoria College 1959-65; and from 1965 to 1988 he was successively Lecturer, Reader and Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Doctrine in the University of Bristol. He was British Editor of the Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974). His published works, which include Jabez Bunting, the Last Wesleyan (WHS Lecture, 1955), The Age of Disunity (1966), Holding the Fort: Studies in Victorian Revivalism (1978) and The Unacceptable Face: the Modern Churtch in the Eyes of the Historian (1987) are consistently marked by a keen and incisive intelligence, an impatience with shibboleths, and a readiness to question received wisdom. His Peake Memorial Lecture of 1972 was on 'Religion and Revolution in Victorian England'. Modern Religious Rebels, edited by Stuart Mews (1993) is a commemorative volume of essays presented to him on his retirement.

  • H.J. Hanham, 'Kent in Context: some personal reflections', in Stuart Mills (ed.), Modern Religious Rebels (1993)