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Thomas Haweis (1734-1820)

Thomas Haweis was born in Redruth, Cornwall, the son of a solicitor. He was educated at Truro Grammar School and was then apprenticed to a surgeon-apothecary.

Converted in 1750 under the influence of the Anglican evangelical Samuel Walker, Haweis felt called to the ministry and in 1755 entered Oxford Christ Church with financial assistance from the clergyman Joseph Jane. As a student he founded a small Christian group which was later referred to by the historian Tyerman as a second Holy Club.

After ordination in 1757, Haweis became a curate at St Mary Magdalene Oxford and caused such a stir by his Evangelical ministry that he was finally dismissed. Haweis then went to London as an assistant to Martin Madan at the Lock Hospital. He was also appointed chaplain to the Earl of Peterborough and assisted John Newton in seeking ordination. In 1764 he was admitted to the Northamptonshire parish of Aldwincle and commenced a highly successful ministry on Methodist lines. From 1774 he spent part of each year itinerating for the Countess of Huntingdon. When the Countess died, he was named in her will as trustee-executor and was effectively responsible for the continuation of her work.

In later life he was one of the founders of the London Missionary Society and was very active in the promotion of overseas missions.

Despite his Evangelical convictions, Haweis remained a staunch churchman.

Source: Kenneth Hylson-Smith, Evangelicals in the Church of England 1734-1984 (1988), 48-9 and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)

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