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Benjamin Latrobe (1728-86)

Benjamin Latrobe was born in Dublin of Huguenot descent. He entered Glasgow University in 1743 but left without taking a degree. Originally a member of a Baptist congregation, he was converted under the influence of John Cennick in 1746 and accompanied him on a tour of Northern Ireland. When Cennick returned to England, Latrobe was left in charge of his Dublin followers.

In November 1747 Latrobe went to London with the intention of seeking admission into the Moravian Church. He travelled to Germany the following year and was ordained before returning to England in March 1749. Between 1750 and 1752, Latrobe served as the main preacher at the Moravian congregation at Fulneck in Yorkshire.

From 1753 Latrobe was based in London where he was employed on inspections of nurseries and schools. He visited Germany again in 1755 and returned as the resident minister to Fulneck from 1757 to 1767.

In 1768 Latrobe was appointed British 'Provincial Helper' (leader) and in which capacity he made repeated tours of Moravian congregations in England and Ireland.

A friend of Charles Wesley, Latrobe was closely involved in the unsuccessful negotiations for the union of the Methodist and Moravian Churches in 1785-1786.

Latrobe was a talented publicist and fund-raiser, who succeeeded in maintaining good relations with other wings of the evangelical movement.

Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)

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