William Richards

William Richards

en
He was born at Penrhydd, near Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, towards the end of 1749. His father, Henry Richards (died 1 July 1768, aged 59), was a farmer, who moved in 1758 to St. Clears, Carmarthenshire. He had only one year's schooling, in his twelfth year.In 1768 he was admitted a member of the Particular Baptist congregation at Rhydwillim, Carmarthenshire. He became an occasional preacher at Salem Chapel, St. Clears, projected by his father and erected in 1769. In 1773 he became a student in the Baptist dissenting academy at Bristol, under Hugh Evans (1712–1781). Leaving in September 1775, he acted for about nine months as assistant to John Ash at Pershore, Worcestershire.On the recommendation of Hugh Evans, he was invited to an unsettled congregation in Broad Street, Lynn, Norfolk, and agreed to go for a year, from 7 July 1776. During this year he succeeded in healing divisions and organising his flock as a baptist church; his settlement as regular pastor at Lynn dates from 1778. He declined a call to Norwich. He was an assiduous preacher, conducting three services each Sunday without notes. When absent on his visits to Wales, his place was taken by Timothy Durrant. In 1793 he received the diploma of M.A. from Brown University, Rhode Island, a Baptist foundation.In September 1795 he left Lynn for Wales, being in poor health and not returning until March 1798; he more than once tendered his resignation as pastor. He was again in Wales, during the whole of 1800 and 1801, and did not minister to his flock at Lynn after 1802, though the connection was never formally dissolved. He remained theoretically a close-communion Baptist, but abandoned Calvinism. While in South Wales he promoted an Arminian secession from Baptist churches, having relations with the new connexion of General Baptists. He has been claimed by the Unitarians, but held aloof from the Joseph Priestley school, and maintained Sabellian principles on the worship of Jesus Christ.During a part of 1802 he conducted a morning service in the vacant Presbyterian chapel at Lynn. He was a strong advocate of slave emancipation, and was an honorary member of the Pennsylvania abolitionist society. On the loss of his wife in 1805 he secluded himself for seven years. In 1811 his successor at Broad Street, Thomas Finch, was dismissed for anti-Calvinistic heresy, and Richards interested himself in the erection of a new building, Salem Chapel, opened (1811) on General Baptist principles, but he rarely preached there. The congregation became Unitarian, and later dispersed.On 6 September 1818 Richards was admitted LL.D. by Brown University, but did not live to be aware of the honour. He died at Lynn on 13 September 1818 of angina pectoris, and was buried on 17 September in the graveyard of the General Baptist chapel. He married (1803) Emiah (d. 3 Jan. 1805, aged 28), daughter of a Welsh farmer, but had no issue. His library, thirteen hundred volumes, he bequeathed to Brown University; his other property to his sister, Martha Evans.~http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_...
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