King, Peter

Lord Chancellor 1725-1733, he was called to the Bar in 1698, knighted in 1708, became a Privy Councillor in 1715 and first baron King of Ockham in 1725. In 1691, while still a young man, he published An Enquiry into the Constitution, Discipline, Unity and Worship of the Primitive Church anonymously as by 'an impartial hand'; and in 1702 a History of the Apostles Creed.

John Wesley read the Enquiry in January 1746 and was convinced by it that in the Early Church bishops and presbyters were 'of one order' - though he ignored King's qualification that they were 'different in degree' and drew the inference that they had the same right to ordain. Similarly, in developing the Methodist connexion of societies, he disregarded King's evidence that the primitive Church was made up of independent congregations. His reading of King and Edward Stillingfleet eventually influenced his decision in 1784 to ordain preachers for America.

  • Edgar W. Thompson, Wesley: Apostolic Man (1957) pp.23-33
  • Frank Baker, John Wesley and the Church of England (1970) pp.147-49 etc.
  • Oxford DNB