Hill, Sir Richard Bt, MP

Richard and Rowland Hill, prominent evangelicals, were the sons of Sir Rowland Hill of a leading Shropshire family. Sir Richard Hill (1732-1808), a controversialist, born at Hawkstone Park on 6 June 1733, was educated at Westminster School and Magdalen College, Oxford, and travelled in Europe 1756-1757. His Pietas Oxoniensis (1768) criticized the university authorities following the expulsion of Methodist students from St Edmund Hall. Though influenced by John Fletcher, he supported George Whitefield, defending Calvinistic Methodism in the controversy of the 1770s and continuing to write polemically in its support. In his Review of All the Doctrines Taught by the Rev. Mr. John Wesley (1772) he criticized Wesley for doctrinal inconsistencies, to which Wesley responded with Some Remarks. The two were reconciled the following year. As independent MP for Shropshire 1780-1806 he championed the evangelical cause. He succeeded his father in the baronetcy in 1783 and died at Hawkstone Park on 28 November 1808.

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His brother, the Rev. Rowland Hill (1744-1833) was educated at Shrewsbury, Eton and St John's College, Cambridge. Holding religious convictions from his youth, he preached and visited the sick and prisoners while at Cambridge. After some difficulties, he was ordained deacon in 1773 (but never attained priest's orders) by the Bishop of Bath and Wells and as curate at Kingston St. Mary, Somerset, developed an itinerant evangelistic ministry. At his large Surrey Chapel in Blackfriars, London from 1783, his preaching continued to attract large numbers. He wrote hymns and compiled several hymnbooks. He supported the London Missionary Society, the Religious Tract Society and the Bible Society and was an early advocate of vaccination. His Village Dialogues (1810) was his most popular work and went through many editions.

  • E. Sidney, The Life of the Rev. Rowland Hill (1834)
  • E. Sidney, The Life of Sir Richard Hill, Bart, MP (1839)
  • Tim Shenton, The Life of Rowland Hill, 'the Second Whitefield (2008)
  • Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical Biography
  • Oxford DNB