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Daniel Williams

1643?-1716. Presbyterian divine and founder of Dr. Williams' Library in London. Born near Wrexham in Wales, he became an itinerant preacher by the age of nineteen. Without formal academic training but nevertheless widely read, he accepted the post of chaplain to the countess of Meath in Ireland in 1665. From 1667 he was a Nonconformist pastor in Dublin. There he gained his largely theoretical admiration of Presbyterianism. Leaving Ireland in 1687 during the troubles, he moved to London where he became pastor of the Presbyterian congregation in Hand Alley, Bishopsgate. During the 1690s he was the acknowledged leader of the London Presbyterians, especially so after the death of Richard Baxter. His Calvinism was of the Amyraldian* variety, deemed “Neonomianism” by those with whom he engaged in bitter controversy. He was twice married, and it was money received from his wives that enabled him to be a philanthropist-hence the library.