Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hetherington, William Maxwell

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HETHERINGTON, WILLIAM MAXWELL (1803–1885), Scottish poet and divine, was born 4 June 1803 in the parish of Troqueer, on the opposite bank of the Nith from Dumfries. Receiving a parish school education, he was bred a gardener, but entered the university of Edinburgh in 1822, and became a distinguished student. Before completing his studies for the church he published, in 1829, 'Twelve Dramatic Sketches' founded on the Pastoral Poetry of Scotland,' being faithful delineations of scenery and manners familiar to the author, interspersed with graceful and melodious lyrics. Hetherington became minister of Torphichen, Linlithgow, in 1836; in 1843 he adhered to the free church, and in 1844 was appointed to a charge in St. Andrews; he became minister of Free St. Paul's, Edinburgh, in 1848; and was appointed professor of apologetics and systematic theology in New College, Glasgow, in 1857. He died 23 May 1865. In 1836 he married Jennie, daughter of the Rev. Dr. Meek of Hamilton.

Besides his poems Hetherington published: 1. 'The Ministers Family,' 1838, a popular evangelicail work. 2. 'History of the Church of Scotland from the Introduction of Christianity to the Period of the Disruption, May 18, 1843,' 1843. It was preceded by an essay 'On the Principles and Constitution of the Church of Scotland,' and reached a seventh edition in 1852. Its purpose being manifest rather impairs its value as an historical authority. 3. 'History of the Westminster Assembly of Divines,' 1843. A useful work of reference, especially as edited and annotated in 1878 by the Rev. R. Williamson. In 1844 Hetherington established the 'Free Church Magazine,' which he edited for four years. He also contributed to religious periodicals, especially the 'British and Foreign Evangelical Review,' and published sermons, poems, and some small religious works.

[Glasgow and Edinburgh newspapers, May 1865; Rogers's Scottish Minstrel; Grant Wilson's Poets and Poetry of Scotland; Hew Scott's Fasti Eccl. Scot. i. 204.]

T. B.