Waddington, John (DNB00)

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WADDINGTON, JOHN (1810–1880), congregational divine, born at Leeds on 10 Dec. 1810, was the son of George Waddington by his wife Elizabeth. As a child he was subject of serious impressions, and at the age of fifteen he began to preach in the cottages of the poor neighbours. Before he had reached his twentieth year or had entered college he preached for Airedale College, the demand for student-preachers being greater than the supply. He afterwards entered Airedale College, and, after a brief theological course under William Vint [q. v.], was ordained paster of the congregational church in Orchard Street, Stockport, on 23 May 1833. At Stockport he rendered an important service to congregationalism by introducing Sunday schools in connection with their churches. He also conducted a government enquiry into the distress in the town, the results of which were published in a blue-book.

In 1846 he removed to Southwark, to Union Street chapel, the oldest congregational church in the country. He found it in great financial difficulties, which at one time threatened to disperse the congregation, but which he eventually overcame. In 1864 a new building was opened, erected as a memorial to the 'pilgrim fathers,' several of whom had belonged to the congregation. The charge of so ancient a church stimulated Waddington's interest, which he began assiduously to study. In 1854 he published 'John Penry: the Pilgrim Martyr' (London, 8vo), and in 1861 a more general treatise on 'Congregational Martyrs' (London, 8vo), intended to form part of a series of 'Historical Papers,' which, however, were not continued. The work reached a second edition in the following year. This was followed in 1862 by an essay on 'Congregational Church History from the Reformation to 1662,' London, 8vo, a work which had great popularity, and obtained the bicentenary prize offered by the congregational union. In 1866 he published 'Surrey Congregational History,' London, 8vo, in which he dealt more particularly with the records of his own congregation. In 1869 he began the issue of his great work on 'Congregational History,' which occupied the latter part of his life. It was completed to 1850 in five volumes, was compiled with great labour and research, and is the most comprehensive treatise on any English body of nonconformists. Waddington died on 24 Sept. 1880. He received the honorary degree of D.D. from the university of Williamstown, U.S.A.

Besides the works mentioned he was the author of:

  1. 'Emmaus, or Communion with the Saviour at Eventide,' London, 1846, 16mo.
  2. 'The American Crisis in relation to Slavery,' London, 1862, 8vo,
  3. 'Track of the Hidden Church,' Boston, Mass. 1863, 12mo.

He also edited 'The Life of a Vagrant,' London, 1850, 8vo, an autobiography written by Josiah Basset.

[Men of the Time, 1879; Congregational Yearbook, 1881.]

E. I. C.