Griffith, John (1714-1798) (DNB00)

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GRIFFITH, JOHN (1714–1798), independent minister, was born in London in December 1714. His father was a churchman, his mother a member of the independent congregation of Thomas Bradbury [q. v.] He was for a short time apprenticed to a clog-maker. He became a follower of Whitefield, and joined Whitefield's society at the Tabernacle in 1749. Chance led him to hear Samuel Stockell at the independent congregation in Meeting House Lane, Red Cross Street. About 1750 he became one of Stockell's communicants, without severing his connection with the Tabernacle class meetings. Griffith began to preach about 1752, and after Stockell's death (3 May 1753) was appointed pastor 30 Oct. 1754. His ministry was successful, till a dispute with one of his deacons led him to withdraw in 1758 with part of his congregation to an old meeting-house in White's Alley. The congregation grew, and built (1771) a new meeting-house in Mitchell Street. But in a few years it declined, and Griffith retired. In January 1778 he became minister of a new congregation at West Orchard, Coventry, Warwickshire. He ‘does not appear to have been adapted to the situation,’ and removed on 25 March 1781 to Brigstock, Northamptonshire, where his ministry ended in 1788. Returning to London he still preached occasionally. He died on 17 Aug. 1798, and was buried in Bunhill Fields. He was twice married, and had a large family by his first wife; his second wife died before 1788.

He published ‘A Brand Plucked out of the Fire,’ &c., 1759, 12mo (a curious account of his early life and of his quarrel with his first church).

Evangelical Mag. 1799, p. 175 sq.; Wilsons Diss. Churches of London, 1808 ii. 559, 1810 iii. 314 sq.; Sibree and Causton's Independency in Warwickshire, 1855, p. 82 sq.; Centenary of West Orchard Chapel, Coventry, 1879, p. 8.]

A. G.