Winder, Henry (DNB00)

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WINDER, HENRY (1693–1752), dissenting divine and chronologist, son of Henry Winder (d. 1733), farmer, by a daughter of Adam Bird of Penruddock, was born at Hutton John, parish of Greystoke, Cumberland, on 15 May 1693.

His grandfather, Henry Winder, farmer, who lived to be over a hundred (he was living in 1714), was falsely charged with murdering his first-born son. The accusation was supported by two of his wife's sisters, and the case attained some celebrity (see Winder, Spirit of Quakerism, 1698, 16mo, and Penitent Old Disciple, 1699, 16mo; Audland, Spirit of Quakerism Cloven-footed, 1707, 4to, drawn up by Henry Winder secundus, and prefaced by Thomas Dixon, M.D. [q. v.]; on the other side, Coole, Quakers Cleared, 1696, 16mo; Camm, Old Apostate, 1698, 16mo, Truth prevailing with Reason, 1706, 16mo, and Lying-Tongue Reproved, 1708, 16mo). Henry Winder, the grandson, after passing through the Penruddock grammar school under John Atkinson, entered (1708) the Whitehaven Academy under Thomas Dixon, where Caleb Rotheram [q. v.] and John Taylor (1694–1761) [q. v.], the hebraist, were among his fellow students. For two years (1712–14) he studied at Dublin under Joseph Boyse [q. v.] In Dublin he was licensed to preach. In 1714 he succeeded Edward Rothwell [q. v.] as minister of the independent congregation at Tunley, Lancashire, and was ordained at St. Helen's on 11 Sept. 1716, Christopher Bassnett [q. v.] preaching on the occasion. In 1718 (his first sacrament was 16 Nov.) he was appointed minister of Castle Hey congregation, Liverpool. The first entry in the extant minutes of the Warrington classis (22 April 1719) records his admission to that body, ‘upon his making an acknowledgment of his breaking in upon the rules of it, in the way & manner of his coming to Liverpoole.’ A strong advocate of non-subscription in the controversy then pending both in England and in Ireland, he brought round his congregation to that view. His ministry was successful; a new chapel was built for him in Benn's Garden, Red Cross Street, and opened in July 1727. From 1732 he corresponded with the London dissenters, with a view to the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts.

He married the widow of William Shawe of Liverpool, and educated her son William Shawe, afterwards of Preston. On taking him in 1740 to study at Glasgow, he received the diploma of D.D. For young Shawe's use he had drawn up (about 1733), but did not publish, ‘a short general system of chronology’ on ‘the Newtonian plan.’ This was the germ of his bulky work, the result of twelve years' labour, ‘A Critical and Chronological History of the Rise, Progress, Declension, and Revival of Knowledge, chiefly Religious. In two Periods. I. … Tradition, from Adam to Moses. II. … Letters, from Moses to Christ,’ 1745, 2 vols. 8vo (dedication to William Shawe). He prefers Moses to all secular historians, as earlier and more authentic. In vol. ii. chap. xxi. § 3, is an animated eulogy of British liberties, with evident reference to the events of 1745, during which Winder had exerted himself in helping to raise a regiment for the defence of Liverpool. The work did not sell, and was reissued as a second edition in 1756, with new title-page, and ‘Memoirs’ of the author by George Benson [q. v.]

In September 1746 he had a stroke of paralysis, and never again entered the pulpit, though he preached twice from the reading-desk in January 1747, and occasionally assisted at the sacrament in that year. John Henderson (d. 4 July 1779), who took Anglican orders in 1763, and was the first incumbent of St. Paul's, Liverpool (see Memoirs of Gilbert Wakefield, 1804, i. 204), became his assistant and successor. Winder's faculties failed, and he died on Sunday 9 Aug. 1752. He was buried on the south side of the churchyard of St. Peter's, Liverpool (now the cathedral); the memorial stone was earthed over when the churchyard was laid out as a garden. Henderson preached his funeral sermon. No portrait of Winder is known; he outlived his wife, and left no issue. His library (a remarkable one, with a valuable collection of tracts) and manuscripts were bequeathed to his congregation. The library was transferred to Renshaw Street chapel, to which the congregation removed in 1811; of the manuscripts, a catalogue with excerpts was drawn up by the present writer in 1869; between 1872 and 1884 the papers were scattered and the bulk of them lost. A very important letter (now lost) giving an account (6 Aug. 1723) of the non-subscription debates in the Belfast sub-synod, which Winder had attended as a visitor, was printed in the ‘Christian Moderator,’ October 1827 (p. 274), from a copy by John Porter (1800–1874), then minister at Toxteth Park chapel, Liverpool.

[Memoirs by Benson, 1756; Thom's Liverpool Churches and Chapels, 1854, p. 67; Halley's Lancashire, 1869; ii. 323; Nightingale's Lancashire Nonconformity [1892] iv. 28, 1893 vi. 112; Addison's Graduates of the University of Glasgow, 1898, p. 655; Winder's manuscripts in Renshaw Street chapel library, Liverpool.]

A. G.