1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Allon, Henry

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ALLON, HENRY (1818-1892), English Nonconformist divine, was born on the 13th of October 1818 at Welton near Hull in Yorkshire. Under Methodist influence he decided to enter the ministry, but, developing Congregational ideas, was trained at Cheshunt College. In 1844 he became co-pastor with the Rev. Thomas Lewis of Union Chapel, Islington. In 1852, on the death of Lewis, Allon became sole pastor, and this position he held with increasing influence till his death in 1892. Union Chapel, originally founded by evangelical members of the Church of England and Nonconformists acting in harmony, became during Allon's co-pastorate definitely Congregational in principle and fellowship, and exercised an ever-expanding influence. His chief service to Nonconformity was in Connexion with the improvement of congregational worship, and especially the service of praise. In 1852 Dr. H. J. Gauntlett became organist at Union Chapel and conductor of a psalmody class. To meet the wants of this class, Allon published the original edition of his well known Congregational Psalmist. For many years his collection of hymns, chants and anthems was used in hundreds of churches throughout England. In 1860 Allon began to write, at first chiefly for the Patriot, then under the editorship of T. C. Turbeville. In 1864, at the age of forty-five, he was elected chairman of the Congregational Union, and in 1866 he undertook the editorship of the British Quarterly Review with H. R. Reynolds, the principal of Cheshunt. In 1877 he became sole editor, and in that capacity came into touch with such men as W. E. Gladstone, Matthew Arnold, F. D. Maurice and Dean Stanley. The magazine was discontinued in 1886. In 1871 he received the degree of D.D. from the university of Yale, U.S.A. In 1874 the congregation at Islington decided to erect new buildings. The church, which was built at a cost of £50,000, was specially adapted for congregational worship and was mentioned by an architectural journal as one of the hundred remarkable buildings of the century. The church had in its various departments about 300 teachers in charge of more than 3000 children, and was in its organization one of the earliest instances of the type known as the institutional church. In 1881, on the occasion of the jubilee of the Congregational Union of England and Wales, Allon was again elected chairman. In March 1892 he died suddenly from heart failure. His books were A Memoir of James Sherman (1863); the Sermons of Thomas Binney, with a biographical and critical sketch (1869); The Vision of God and other sermons (1876); The Indwelling Christ (1802). Allon was a man of sound judgment, strong will, great moral courage and personal kindness. His acquaintance with literature was wide, his own style lucid and decisive. In social and political affairs he was a convinced individualist. Both as leader of Union Chapel and in denominational affairs his courage and discretion, his simple faith, combined with a broadminded sympathy with the intellectual movements of the time, made his ministry a widespread influence for good. (D. Mn.)