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Martin Madan (1726-90)

Martin Madan was born in Hertingfordbury, Hertforshire, a cousin of the Poet Laureate William Cowper and elder brother to the Bishop of Peterborough.

Educated at Christ Church Oxford, Madan was converted by John Wesley in 1748 and was later ordained into the Anglican Church. He served as chaplain at the Lock Hospital in London and also itinerated for the Countess of Huntingdon until 1780. Despite his Calvinist sympathies he remained on friendly terms with the Wesleys and acted as godfather to Charles's son Samuel.

In 1780 Madan caused a major uproar with the publication of a book advocating polygamy. He retired from public life soon after.

Madan possessed considerable musical ability. He re-wrote the original words of the famous Charles Wesley hymn "Hark the Herald Angels sing" and produced a collection of psalms and hymns in 1794.

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

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