Harrison, Ralph (DNB00)

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HARRISON, RALPH (1748–1810), nonconformist divine and tutor, son of William Harrison, presbyterian minister of Chinley, Derbyshire, was born at Chinley on 10 Sept. 1748. He was descended from Cuthbert Harrison (d. October 1680), ejected from Lurgan, co. Armagh. In 1763 he entered the Warrington Academy, of which John Aikin, D.D. (1713–1780) [q. v.], was divinity tutor. In 1769 he was appointed assistant to Joseph Fownes (1715–1789) as minister of High Street Chapel, Shrewsbury. On 29 Dec. (elected 17 Nov.) 1771 he succeeded Joseph Mottershead (1688–1771) at Cross Street Chapel, Manchester. His theology was Arian. From 1774 he kept a school, and gained great repute as a teacher, among his pupils being the sons of the Marquis of Waterford. From the institution of the Manchester Academy (22 Feb. 1786) till 1789 Harrison was professor of classics and belles-lettres there. He died, after long illness, on 10 Nov. 1810. Soon after settling in Manchester, he married Ann, daughter of John Touchet. His son William (d. 30 Nov. 1859, aged 80) was minister at Blackley, Lancashire (1803–54); another son, John, (1786–1853), was a Manchester merchant and father of John Harrison, Ph.D. (d. 1866), minister at Chowbent, Lancashire (1838–47), Brixton, Surrey (1847–61), and Ipswich (1861–3).

Harrison published: 1. ‘Institutes of English Grammar,’ &c., Manchester, 1777, 12mo. 2. ‘Sacred Harmony,’ &c. [1786], 4to, 2 vols. (contains psalm tunes of his composition). 3. ‘A Sermon … at Manchester … on occasion of the Establishment of an Academy,’ &c., Warrington [1786], 8vo. 4. ‘Account of the Author,’ prefixed to John Seddon's posthumous ‘Discourses,’ Warrington, 1793, 12mo. Posthumous was 5. ‘Sermons,’ &c., 1813, 8vo (prefixed is ‘Biographical Memoir’ by his son William). Also some geographical manuals.

[Calamy's Continuation, 1727, i. 572; Monthly Repository, 1810 p. 601, 1814 p. 264; Harrison's Biographical Memoir, 1813; Astley's Hist. Presb. Meeting-House, Shrewsbury, 1847, p. 19; Roll of Students, Manchester Academy, 1868; Baker's Memorials of a Dissenting Chapel (Cross Street, Manchester), 1884, pp. 44 sq., 109, 143 sq.; manuscript list of Lancashire and Cheshire Presb. chapels.]

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