Dunn, Samuel
1798-1882; e.m. 1819

Click to enlarge

WR minister, the son of a Megavissey sea-captain and erstwhile smuggler who later became a Methodist. He was born at Mevagissey on 13 February 1798. He entered the WM ministry under the influence of Dr Adam Clarke and in 1822 responded to Clarke's appeal for missionaries to Shetland. There his work was so successful that when he left in 1825 there were over 600 members.

Back in England he was quickly involved in controversy. In Rochdale he warmly supported a circuit memorial criticizing the handling of the Leeds Organ Case and joined in disputes relating to Church-state relations. This, and the suggestion that his theology, especially about the divinity of Christ, was unsound, caused his reception into full connexion to be delayed until 1836, despite his success as an evangelist. (After six months in Camborne, he reported an increase of 300 members, with over 1,000 on trial.) When the Fly Sheets appeared in the 1840s, although he had nothing to do with them, he published the Wesley Banner and Revival Record partly in their defence, was asked to cease publication and was expelled.

After travelling in support of reform he finally became minister of the UMFC chapel in Camborne and, after a visit to the USA, during which he acquired an American doctorate, preached wherever he was invited. His voluminous writings included lives of John Fletcher (in a Selection from his Works, 1837), Richard Treffry (1842), Adam Clarke (1863) and James Dixon (1872) and selections from the theological works of the Puritan divines. He died at Hastings on 24 January 1882 and was buried in Abney Park Cemetery, London.


'Vehement in his delivery, but not impassioned.- Devout in his manner… Faithful.- Conscientious… Not wrapped up in the chrysalis of pomp, like an insect in the pupa state, which some showy preachers too much resemble; but s real workman.'

Wesleyan Takings (1840) pp.360-1

  • Methodist Recorder, Winter Number, 1899, pp.21-2
  • J.D. Dinnick, The Transfiguration of Christ, and other sermons of Samuel Dunn, with a biographical sketch (1890)
  • Thomas R. Harris, Samuel Dunn, Reformer (Redruth, 1963)
  • Oliver A. Beckerlegge, The Three Expelled (Peterborough, 1996)