Child, Thomas (DNB12)

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CHILD, THOMAS (1839–1906), minister of the 'new church,' son of John Child, heckle-comb maker, and his wife Grace M'Kay, was born at Arbroath on 10 Dec. 1839, and brought up in connection with the Free Church of Scotland. He was put under a relative at Darlington to learn tanning, but ran away. After serving apprenticeship to a chemist he was employed by manufacturing chemists at Horncastle; here, as there was no presbyterian congregation, he joined the congregational body and, with a view to its ministry, studied at Airedale College (1862-7). As a congregational minister he settled successively at Castleford, West Riding (1867-8), and Sittingbourne, Kent (1870). His perusal of the 'Appeal' by Samuel Noble [q. v.] led him to accept the doctrines of Emanuel Swedenborg. As a preacher in connection with the 'new church,' he officiated at Newcastle-on-Tyne (1872). removing to Lowestoft (1874) and to Bath (1876), where he was ordained on 15 Oct. 1878. In March 1886 he became assistant at the chapel in Palace Gardens Terrace, Kensington, to Jonathan Bayloy, who died on 12 May following, when Child became his successor. He died on 23 March 1906. He married in October 1870 Louisa Hadkinson.

Child's writings in support of 'new church' principles, for the publication of which Sir Isaac Pitman [q. v. Suppl. I] was responsible, enjoyed considerable vogue. His chief work was 'Root Principles in Rational and Spiritual Things' (1905; 2nd edit. 1907), a reasoned reply to Haeckel's 'Riddle of the Universe,' which was commended by Dr. A. R. Wallace. He also wrote: 1. 'Are New Churchmen Christians?' 1882. 2. 'The Key of Life,' 1887 (sermons at Kensington, with forms of prayer). 3. 'Is there an Unseen World ?' 1888-9. 4. 'The Church and Science,' 1892. 5. 'The Glorification of the Lord's Humanity,' 1906; lectures delivered in 1894, with biographical sketch by William Alfred Presland and James Speirs, and portrait (posthumous). 6. 'The Bible: its Rational Principle of Interpretation,' 1907 (posthumous).

[Presland and Speirs, biographical sketch, 1906.]

A. G.