Evangelical clergyman, the first vicar of St. Mary's, Birmingham, he was the younger brother of the Rev. Richard B. Riland, rector of Sutton Coldfield, a family living to which John Riland succeeded in 1790. He came to know John Wesley while serving as curate to Henry Venn at Huddersfield. St. Mary's, built in 1774 under an Act of 1772 to meet the needs of the growing population, was in Catherine Street (later called Whittall Street) and was looked upon as the spiritual home of the 'Church Methodists' of Birmingham. William Thompson was buried in its vaults and Hester Ann Rogers (née Roe) in the churchyard. A memorial to Thompson was relocated to St. Martin's church when St. Mary's was demolished in the 1920s.