Dawson, William ('Billy')

WM preacher, born at Garforth, Yorks on 30 March 1773. His literary skills showed such promise that there were plans to send him to Cambridge to prepare for Anglican orders; but family finances prevented this and in 1791 he succeeded his father as a colliery agent and farmer. He became a local preacher in 1801, developing his natural gifts as an orator. Though never ordained, he was in popular demand nationally as a preacher known for his godliness and homespun style. He was in great demand for the opening of chapels and anniversary services. He was involved in the launching of the Leeds District Missionary Society in 1813 and from 1837 the Conference gave him an allowance enabling him to give up his paid work to travel, preach and promote the missionary movement. He was also a staunch temperance advocate. He died suddenly at Colne on 4 July 1841.

  • J. Everett, Memoir of William Dawson (1842)
  • Robert A. West, Sketches of Wesleyan Preachers (1849) pp.299-321
  • G.J. Stevenson, Methodist Worthies (1884-1886), 4 pp.565-68
  • Methodist Recorder, Winter Number, 1892, p.47
  • Oxford DNB

Entry written by: PSF
Category: Person
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