Gambold, John

Anglican priest and Moravian bishop, he was born on 10 April 1711, the son of the rector of Puncheston, Pembrokeshire. While a student at Christ Church, Oxford, he became associated with the 'Holy Club' in 1730, though temperamentally inclined to solitude and melancholy. He was ordained in 1733 and became vicar of Stanton Harcourt, where he indulged in philosophical and mystical studies. The attraction of stillness led to an estrangement from the Wesleys and in 1742, influenced by Peter Böhler, he gave up his living and joined the Moravians. After a short interval of schoolteaching, for which he found hiself unsuited, he became the minister of their London congregation and was consecrated Bishop in 1754. He compiled the first English Moravian hymn-book in 1754, wrote in defence of the Moravians and played a prominent part in the Synod of Marienborn (1764). He established Moravian congregations at Haverfordwest in 1763 and at Cootehill, Co. Cavan in 1765. He died at Haverfordwest on 13 September 1771. His poems and a tragedy on The Martyrdom of Ignatius were published posthumously. In editing his collected works, Benjamin La Trobe declared that 'Such a Bishop would have been justly esteemed an honour to any church.'

  • Daniel Benham, Life and Labours of John Gambold (1865)
  • L. Tyerman, The Oxford Methodists (1873) pp.155-200
  • Oxford DNB
  • A.W. Harrison, 'Gambold's Edition of the Greek New Testament, 1742', in WHS Proceedings, 13 pp.103-5
  • Timothy Underhill, A Shorthand State of John Gambold's 'Character' of John Wesley (1736), in WHS Proceedings, vol.60 136-42


Entry written by: JAV
Category: Person
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