Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Turner, Daniel (1710-1798)

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TURNER, DANIEL (1710–1798), hymn-writer, was born at Blackwater Farm, near St. Albans, on 1 March 1709–10. He kept a boarding-school at Hemel Hempstead, but at the same time made a reputation as an occasional preacher in baptist chapels. In 1741 he was chosen pastor of the baptist church in Reading. Thence he removed in 1748 to Abingdon, and held the pastorate there until his death on 5 Sept. 1798. He was buried in the baptist cemetery at Abingdon.

Turner received the honorary degree of M.A. from the baptist college, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A. He was a friend and correspondent of Robert Robinson [q. v.], John Rippon [q. v.], Dr. Watts, and others. He was twice married: first, to Miss Fanch, by whom he had two sons, who both predeceased him; secondly, to Mrs. Lucas, a widow, of Reading, by whom he had no issue. Perhaps his best known hymn is ‘Jesus, full of all compassion,’ which appeared in the Bristol ‘Baptist Collection,’ 1769. Another, ‘Beyond the glittering starry skies,’ was published by his brother-in-law, James Fanch, baptist minister of Rumsey, in the ‘Gospel Magazine,’ June 1776. Turner expanded it by twenty-one stanzas, and included it in his ‘Poems,’ 1794. Besides many pamphlets and separate sermons, Turner published: 1. ‘An Introduction to Psalmody,’ 1737. 2. ‘An Abstract of English Grammar and Rhetoric,’ London, 1739, 8vo. 3. ‘Divine Songs, Hymns, and other Poems,’ Reading, 1747, 12mo. 4. ‘A Compendium of Social Religion,’ 1758, 8vo; 2nd edit. Bristol, 1778, 8vo. 5. ‘Letters Religious and Moral,’ London, 1766, 8vo; 2nd edit., Henley, 1793, 8vo. 6. ‘Short Meditations on Select Portions of Scripture,’ Abingdon, 1771, 16mo; 3rd edit. 1803. 7. ‘Devotional Poetry vindicated against Dr. Johnson,’ Oxford, 1785, 8vo. 8. ‘Essays on Important Subjects,’ Oxford, 1787, 16mo. 9. ‘Poems Devotional and Moral,’ privately printed, 1794. 10. ‘Common Sense, or the Plain Man's Answer to the Question, Whether Christianity be a Religion worthy of our choice?’ 1797.

[Protestant Dissenters' Mag. vi. 41; Ivimey's Hist. of the Baptists, iv. 35, 421, 422, 423; Chalmers's Biogr. Dict. 1816; Miller's Singers and Songs of the Church, p. 202; Julian's Dict. of Hymnology, pp. 140, 598, 691, 1188; Brydges's Censura Lit. iii. 419; Watt's Bibl. Brit.; Baptist Ann. Reg. 1790–3, p. 127.]

C. F. S.