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William Darney (1684/85-1774)

William Darney was a Scottish shoemaker and peddlar. He is said to have been converted during the Scottish Awakening of 1741 and began preaching in the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1742. He operated independently of the Methodists and founded several societies in East Lancashire and West Yorkshire. In 1745 he came into contact with the clergyman William Grimshaw of Haworth and contributed to the conversion of Grimshaw to an evangelical outlook.

In 1747 he placed his societies under the pastoral supervision of John Wesley and was accepted as an itinerant by the Conference of 1748.

Darney was of an independent disposition and this impaired his relations with the Wesleys. His fervent Calvinist beliefs and intermittent refusal to submit to Connexional discipline, was the cause of repeated reprimands. In 1769 he left the itinerancy but continued to preach in the Rossendale area until his death in December 1774.

Darney wrote hymns and published a number of theological works.

Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974) and J. W. Laycock, Methodist Heroes in the Great Haworth Round 1734-1784 (1909), pp.39-44, 53-59, 228-234 and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995)

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