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William Grimshaw (1708-63)

William Grimshaw was born in Brindle, Lancashire, the son of a poor farmer.

He was educated at Blackburn Grammar School and Heskin Free School before going up to Cambridge Christ's Church in 1726.

After his graduation, he was ordained and served curacies at Littleborough and Todmorden until 1742, when he was admitted to the perpetual curacy of Haworth in Yorkshire.

Grimshaw began to exercise an evangelical ministry on Methodist lines although he did not have contact with the Wesleys until much later. He was particularly influenced by the Scottish preacher William Darney who visited Haworth in 1744.

Grimshaw met Charles Wesley in October 1746 and the following May, John Wesley preached in Haworth Church.

Grimshaw began to preach outside his parish bounds and in July 1747 accompanied John Bennet on a tour of Methodist societies in Lancashire and Cheshire.

In 1750 Grimshaw was named by John Wesley as the next in authority after the Wesley brothers.

A staunch churchman, Grimshaw and Charles Wesley were close allies in the struggle to keep Methodism within the Church of England. This did not however prevent him from building a Methodist chapel in Haworth in 1758.

Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974), Frank Baker, William Grimshaw (1963) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)

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