Miller, William Edward
1766-1839; e.m. 1799

Dr Edward Miller (1735-1807), organist at Doncaster parish church for fifty years, published The Psalms of Watts and Wesley … for the use of Methodists.

His son William Edward Miller, born in Doncaster on 1 June 1766, inherited his father's love of music, literature and the fine arts and became an accomplished violinist, acclaimed as 'second only to Paganini'. In his early years he lived an erratic life and squandered a fortune part of which was made while living in India. As an Anglican and musician, he was attracted to Norfolk Street WM church, Sheffield, by the singing. He began to attend worship there and was greatly influenced by the Rev. John Moon at a quarterly lovefeast in 1794. By tradition he subsequently experienced a sensational conversion under the preaching of the Rev. William Bramwel.l

It has been claimed that as a result he abandoned the Cremona violin given to him by Tippoo Sahib, the sultan of Mysore, during his visit to India. He entered the WM itinerancy in 1799, despite experiencing extremes of exultation and depression that continued during his ministry. After Bramwell's death in 1818 he inherited his mantle, becoming known as the 'sweet singer' of the Yorkshire revivals. He died at Sheffield on 12 November 1839.


'William Edward [Miller] inherited his father's enthusiastic love of music, literature and the fine arts. He was distinguished by an open, frank, ardent disposition, and a generosity which knew no bounds. His person was strikingly handsome, and his manners fascinating; but he was passionate, self-willed and impatient of control; and the death of his mother, when he was only ten years of age, left these evil passions unchecked.'

A member of the family, quoted by James Dixon, p.11

  • James Dixon, Memoir of William E. Miller (1842)
  • T. Alexander Seed, Norfolk Street Wesleyan Chapel, Sheffield (1907)


Entry written by: DCD
Category: Person
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