Ingham, Benjamin

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Born on 11 June 1712 at Ossett, Yorks, he was educated at Queen's College, Oxford and in 1733 was involved with the 'Holy Club'. He was ordained in June 1735 and accompanied John and Charles Wesley to Georgia where, like them, he came under the influence of the Moravians. On his return he began to preach in his native Yorkshire and in 1738 travelled with John Wesley to Herrnhut. The Fetter Lane disputes of 1740 led to a rift between Wesley and Ingham, who remained under Moravian influence until 1751. In 1741, in spite of opposition from her family, he married Lady Margaret Hastings (1700-1768), sister-in-law to the Countess of Huntingdon. They lived at Aberford, Yorks and she encouraged his ministry in the North of England.

His preaching resulted in a connexion of over 40 societies by 1741. He received Moravian support in this ministry and, lacking Wesley's ability and zeal for administration, placed his societies under their care in 1742, in order to concentrate on preaching. In 1748 the hostility of the vicar of Colne forced him to register a number of his preaching places under the Toleration Act. By 1750 he was seeking independence from the Moravians and by 1756 was ordaining his own preachers. In 1760 he was attracted to the Glasites or Sandemanians, a Scottish sect, and adopted their heretical teaching and practices. In spite of the Countess of Huntingdon's intervention, this resulted in a schism which decimated the Inghamite societies and destroyed much of his life's work. He died at Aberford on 2 December 1772.

  • L. Tyerman, The Oxford Methodists (1873) pp.57-154
  • C.W. Towlson, Moravian and Methodist (1957)
  • Richard W. Thompson, Benjamin Ingham and the Inghamites (Kendal, 1958)
  • David F. Clarke, 'Another "Son to Susanna(h)": Benjamin Ingham', in WHS Proceedings, 38 pp.170-76
  • R.P. Heitzenrater (ed.), Diary of an Oxford Methodist: Benjamin Ingham, 1733-1734 (1985)
  • H.M. Pickles, Benjamin Ingham, preacher amongst the dales, forests and fells (Coventry, 1995)
  • Dictionary of Evangelical Biography
  • Oxford DNB