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William Cudworth (1718-63)

William Cudworth was born in London. Converted at the age of twenty, he joined the Calvinistic Methodists through contact with John Cennick in 1743. Cudworth became a teacher at the Tabernacle School and a preacher at the Spitalfields Chapel. He left the Calvinistic Methodists in 1745 because of concern over his antinomian theology and views on church government.

Cudworth founded his own church in Leicester Fields and later in Margaret Street, where he was able to attract a number of preachers including William Kendrick and Stephen Dixon. Cudworth was a capable controversialist who disputed with James Kelly, John Wesley and Anne Dutton among others.

During the 1750s, Cudworth was involved with the troubled Norwich Methodist Society and about 1755 he became friendly with James Hervey, who he encouraged to criticise Wesley in print.

Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)

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