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Thomas Allan (fl.1800-40)

Thomas Allan was a Methodist solicitor whose offices were in Frederick's Place, Old Jewry, London. His place and date of birth are unknown and likewise the details of his death.

Allan was appointed general solicitor for the Wesleyan Church in 1803 and went on to exercise such an influence that he has been described as the 'most important layman in the connexion in the critical years between 1800 and 1840'. His advice was of particular value during the fight against Lord Sidmouth's bill in 1811 and in shaping the response to Catholic emancipation between 1812 and 1829. Allan also did a great deal of work with regard to legal questions arising from chapel trusteeships throughout Britain.

In his later years, Allan voiced private concern over the future of the Methodist Church and was staunch in his opposition to the greater professionalization of the Wesleyan ministry. He was evidently a supporter of the revivalist zeal of earlier years.

Despite the fact that his name does not figure highly in Methodist history, Allan was a tremendously important figure behind the scenes. His contacts with the political and legal world were major assets in safeguarding the interests of the Methodist Church on a national and governmental level.

Two of Allan's sons, Thomas Robinson and Joseph William were educated at Charterhouse School and Cambridge before following their father into the law.

Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995) and Alumni Cantabrigienses compiled by J. A. Venn (1940)

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