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Born on 13 February 1876 in Grimsby into a poor but well-cared for family. Following his mother’s death, he was brought up by his grandmother and like her became an agricultural worker. He was also a successful champion cyclist, until the death of a friend in a race caused him to give this up in 1896. He was encouraged by Thomas Champness to train as a Lay Evangelist. Despite his early lack of education he distinguished himself in both the academic and sporting life at Headingley College. During his first appointment at the ManchesterBarrow-in-Furness and Salford Mission he started the Central Hall Brotherhood and there as well as at the new Barrow in Furness King’s Hall, pursued his vision as a social reformer of helping the sick, offering loans to the needy, and opening a ‘labour registry’, together with opportunities for young men to become athletes.

In 1914 he became an army chaplain, rising to the rank of Major and being awarded the Military Cross. ‘During several days’ operations he continually went forward under heavy fire and attended to the wounded. On one occasion he saved the life of a wounded officer by carrying him to safety under close-range machine-gun and sniper fire.’ In 1918 he was mentioned in despatches and awarded a bar to his MC while serving in the fifth Battle of Ypres Salient.

After the end of hostilities his hatred of war led him to become a powerful Peace Advocate’ and public supporter of the League of Nations Union; also of many social reform movements, including the National Birth Control Association. He supported the Labour Party, speaking on the same platform as such leading figures as Clement Atlee. During his ministry in Wallasey he had a lasting influence on the young Fred Pratt Green. He died on 26 November 1945.

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Born in Coventry on 10 December 1840, the son of a bricklayer of the same name, who was transported to Australia in 1845 for stealing, was influenced by a Methodist grandmother who had heard Wesley preach in Coventry in the 1780s. At an early age he joined his mother and sister as a silk winder. From the age of five he worked as a chimney sweep’s boy, lodging with his master until he was 13 and claiming to be a journeyman sweeper. At 17 he walked to Rugby where he was employed as an assistant by a Wesleyan Thomas Partridge. Though living with his master’s pious family, he continued his dissolute ways as leader of the ‘Rugby Roughs’ until, after witnessing a public hanging in Warwick, he gave up smoking and drinking and became an advocate of teetotalism.

One Sunday evening he and a friend slipped into the back pew of Rugby Wesleyan chapel, but left after the service without speaking to anyone. This led eventually to his being invited to a class meeting and to his conversion. Although still illiterate, he was persuaded to teach in the Sunday School and with the help of his pupils began to learn the alphabet. In January 1865 he went to sweep the chimney of a housemaster at Rugby School and met his housemaid. They were married in December and she began to teach him to read and write. Within a few months he could read the New Testament and became a local preacher. He and his wife became members of the Railway Terrace Primitive Methodist Church and he joined a ‘Hallelujah Band’ which held evangelical meetings around the district in the face of much hostility.

Meeting William Booth in London in 1876, he so impressed him that he was sent to the Hackney Christian Mission, where day and night he visited the slums and cared for the poor. He soon became a travelling evangelist for the Mission. Sent to Whitby on a mission the following year, he called himself ‘Captain Cadman’ and referred to Booth as ‘General of the Hallelujah Army’, heading reports in the Christian Mission Magazine War News When the Salvation Army formally introduced ranks for its leaders, he became a Major in the Yorkshire Division, opening corps in York, Scarborough, Halifax and Shipley. In 1888 as a Colonel he became the first leader of the Men’s Social Work Headquarters, leading to the ‘Darkest England’ scheme. Appointed International Travelling Commissioner, he accompanied General Booth on his motorcades, travelling widely in Africa,Australia and Canada. He died on 12 December 1927.

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WM minister and polymath. He was born at Moybeg, Co. Londonderry in 1760 (or, according to his father, 1762), the son of a schoolmaster. He came under Methodist influence in 1778, travelled to England in 1782, met John Wesley in Bristol and was sent into circuit. Unusually, he was received into full connexion after only one year in the itinerancy. In 1788 he married Mary Cooke, daughter of a wealthy Trowbridge clothier, whom he had met during his first year in circuit. Part of his circuit ministry was spent in such outlying parts of the connexion as the Channel Islands and the Shetlands.

He became a leading figure and a moderating influence in British Methodism after Wesley's death. He encouraged the increasing role of the laity, including women, in WM, though distancing himself from the more extreme radicals. In 1815-1819 he managed to survive criticism from his fellow Wesleyans, including Richard Watson, over his adoptionist views on the 'eternal sonship' of Christ and his interpretation of Luke 1:35 in volume 1 of his New Testament Commentary (1817). Three times President of the British Conference (1806, 1814 and 1822), he also presided over the Irish Conference on four occasions. But in 1831 he was successfully debarred from chairing the British Conference for a fourth time by none other than Jabez Bunting. He was actively involved in combatting poverty and African slavery, and established Strangers' Friend Societies in several cities.

His scholarship was outstanding and wide-ranging. His chief reputation was as a linguist, particularly in Middle Eastern and Oriental languages (including Persian, Arabic, Ethiopian, Coptic and Sanskrit); this enabled him to play an important part in the work of the Bible Society. (But when shown the Rosetta Stone, now in the British Museum, in 1803 with its three parallel inscriptions in Greek, Hieroglyphics and demotic, he mistook the third of these as Coptic, which was at least a step towards the correct identification.) In 1808 he received an honorary doctorate from Aberdeen and was elected a Fellow of the Antiquarian Society and a member of the Geological Society in 1823. He was also a foundation member and a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and was elected to the Royal Irish Academy. In 1808 he was engaged to edit a new and more complete edition of Thomas Rymer's Foedera, a collection of State Papers from the time of the Norman Conquest to the accession of George III, a task to which he gave much time during the next decade, though he resigned before much more than the first volume was completed. His major publication was his eight-volume Commentary on the Bible (begun with the Gospels in 1798 and published between1810 and1825), which was enriched by his extensive linguistic studies and was widely used for many years.

He was a keen advocate of missions at home and overseas, of which he claimed first-hand experience through his service in the Channel Islands, 1786-1789. He supported the moves in 1813-14 to create District missionary societies. In 1818 he undertook the Christian instruction of two Buddhist priests, Munhi Rathana and Dherma Rama, from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). They were baptized Adam and Alexander respectively in 1820, but problems arose in Ceylon after their return, where missionary attitudes towards Buddhism did not match his. In the 1820s he had oversight of the Shetlands Mission and in 1831 established six mission schools in counties Londonderry and Antrim. He died of cholera on 26 August 1832 and is buried close to John Wesley at Wesley's Chapel, London. There are memorials to him both at Wesley's Chapel and at Eastcote Methodist Church in West London.

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One of the Wesleys’ early travelling companions. In April 1744 he was sent by Charles Wesley to Wednesbury with £60 collected for the victims of the riots there. In 1753 he and William Briggs were entrusted with the printing, publishing and book sales at the Foundery, making them the first ‘Book Stewards’, and they sent out details of their proposals to the circuit stewards throughout the country. Butts earned a reputation for total honesty in his dealings, especially in the payment of debts. He is thought to have been the author of ‘A Letter from a Private Person to his Pastor, concerning the People Called Methodists’ (1743). His ms Diary is in the Library at Duke University, North Carolina.

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