menu icon mobile devices search icon mobile devicesSearch the site

Samuel Walker (1714-61)

Samuel Walker was born in Exeter, Devon. He was educated at the local grammar school and Exeter College Oxford. After Anglican ordination in 1736, he was appointed Curate of Doddiscombsleigh in his native county, but resigned after a year to accompany the brother of Lord Rolle as tutor/companion on the grand tour.

After his return he became first Curate and then Vicar of Lanlivery in Cornwall. Walker was also appointed Curate of Truro in 1746 and it was there that he made his greatest impression.

Shortly before taking up his post at Truro, Walker was converted to evangelicalism under the influence of a local headmaster named George Conon. Walker introduced the class system and also founded a clerical club to meet for monthly discussion. He was friendly with the Wesleys but as a loyal Anglican, was opposed to the irregularity of lay preaching.

He published a collection of sermons in 1755 and a second volume appeared posthumously in 1763. These remained in print for many years and were very well-regarded - Charles Simeon for example described Walker's sermons as the finest in the English language. His theology can best be described as mild Calvinism.

Walker's ministry was considered by John Wesley to be the only exception to the rule that no lasting good could be achieved by restricting work to one parish.

Source: Encylopedia of World Methodism (1974), Kenneth Hylson-Smith, Evangelicals in the Church of England 1734-1984 (1988) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography edited by Donald Lewis (1995)

Return to The Methodist Archives Biographical Index

Can we help?