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William Edward Miller (1766-1839)

William Edward Miller was born in Doncaster, Yorkshire, son of the prominent local historian Dr Miller, who served for fifty-six years as the organist at the parish church.

Miller possessed considerable musical ability and was trained as a professional musician. At the age of sixteen he went to London where he enjoyed an extravagent lifestyle. At the age of eighteen he ran away to India where he spent six years as a professor of music. He made a large fortune but by the time he returned to England, he was virtually penniless.

After his return from overseas, he settled first in London and then Sheffield. In 1794 he joined the Methodist Society at Carver Street Chapel and wrote several hymns for the great revival of 1795-97. He began to preach and in 1799 entered the Wesleyan ministry, abandoning music, which he regarded as a worldly snare.

Miller exercised an active circuit ministry until 1825 when he settled as a supernumary in Sheffield.

Source: Revd. T. Alexander Seed, Norfolk Street Wesleyan Chapel, Sheffield (1907), 68-72 and Methodist Magazine 1840, 252.

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