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ROWLAND HILL (1744–1833)

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Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 465 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ROWLAND HILL (1744–1833), English preacher, sixth son of Sir Rowland Hill, Bart. (d. 1783), was born at Hawkstone, Shropshire, on the 23rd of August 1744. He was educated at Shrewsbury, Eton and St John's College, Cambridge. Stimulated by George Whitefield's example, he scandalized the university authorities and his own friends by preaching and visiting the sick before he had taken orders. In 1773 he was appointed to the parish of Kingston, Somersetshire, where he soon attracted great crowds to his open-air services. Having inherited consider-able property, he built for his own use Surrey Chapel, in the Blackfriars Road, London (1783). Hill conducted his services in accordance with the forms of the Church of England, in whose communion he always remained. Both at Surrey Chapel and in his provincial " gospel tours " he had great success. His oratory was specially adapted for rude and uncultivated audiences. He possessed a voice of great power, and according to Southey " his manner " was " that of a performer as great in his own line as Kean or Kemble." His earnest and pure purposes more than made up for his occasional lapses from good taste and the eccentricity of his wit. He helped to found the Religious Tract Society, the British and Foreign Bible Society, and the London Missionary Society, and was a stout advocate of vaccination. His best-known work is the Village Dialogues, which first appeared in 181o, and reached a 34th edition in 1839. He died on the 11th of April 1833. See Life by E. Sidney (1833); Memoirs, by William Jones (1834) ; and Memorials, by Jas. Sherman (1857).
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