Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Dykes, Thomas

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DYKES, THOMAS (1761–1847), divine, was born at Ipswich on 21 Dec. 1761, and, after going to a boarding-school at a village in the neighbourhood, entered his father's business. An illness, however, led him to turn his mind to religion. After taking the advice of the Rev. Joseph Milner of Hull, he entered Magdalene College, Cambridge, in 1786, and, having taken his degree, was ordained to the curacy of Cottingham, near Hull, in 1788. In October 1789 he was ordained priest to the curacy of Barwick-in-Elmet, having a few months previously married Mary, the daughter of Mr. Hey, a well-known surgeon of Leeds, by whom he had a family. He was now bent upon supplying the want of churches in Hull by building a new church at his own cost in the parish of the Holy Trinity, and, in spite of the opposition of the corporation, who were the patrons of the living, he obtained the sanction of the Archbishop of York. The church was consecrated under the name of St. John's in 1791, and opened for divine service on 13 May 1792. Dykes was the first incumbent, but though an extremely popular preacher he never realised from his pew-rents the amount invested in the building, and the deficiency, over 500l., was made good by private subscription. Two hundred sittings were added to the church in 1803, and the steeple was built at the same time. In 1833 Dykes became master of the Charterhouse at Hull, and took up his residence there, and in the following year was also presented to the vicarage of North Ferriby, where the duties were performed by a curate. The benefactions of Dykes to the town of Hull were numerous; it was chiefly through his exertions that the female penitentiary was built in 1812, and one of the main objects of his life was to supply the deficiency of church accommodation. Christ's Church, founded in 1821, St. James's Church, founded in 1829, were offshoots of St. John's; and he furthered by his eloquence and his purse the erection of the Mariners' Church, St. Stephen's and St. Paul's, and the enlargement of the church at Drypool. In spite of advancing years he continued to discharge his duties as incumbent of St. John's until about eighteen months before his death on 23 Aug. 1847. During his long ministry he followed worthily in the footsteps of Joseph Milner, who had laid the foundation of the religious revival in Hull; his doctrinal views were moderately Calvinistic, and the chief features of his sermons were persuasiveness and pathos. On political questions he was a tory, and was emphatically opposed to the concession of the Roman catholic claims, though chiefly from religious motives.

A selection from his sermons was published by the Rev. W. Knight, incumbent of St. James's Church, Hull, together with a ‘Memoir and Extracts from his Correspondence,’ by the Rev. John King, incumbent of Christ Church, Hull, in 1849. Among his separate publications may be mentioned a sermon ‘On the Open Abounding of Profligacy and Immorality’ (1804); a sermon ‘On the Death of the Rev. Miles Atkinson’ (1811); and a sermon ‘On the Doctrines of the Church of England, considered in relation to their Moral Influence’ (1817).

[Memoir by the Rev. John King mentioned above; Funeral Sermon by the Rev. W. Knight, The Christian Pastor's Removal from Earth to Heaven (1847); and a notice in the Christian Observer, vol. xlviii. (1848), where most of the dates are incorrect.]

L. C. S.