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Edward Bickersteth

1786-1850. English Evangelical divine. Born in Westmoreland, he worked for the post office before moving into the legal field, finally becoming a solicitor in Norwich. In 1805 he had a deep spiritual experience, and was later to write Help to Studying the Scriptures which went through twenty-one editions. Ordained in 1815, he went briefly to Sierra Leone to report on Church Missionary Society work there, and afterward became one of the society's secretaries, during which time he wrote several books. In 1830 he accepted the living of Watton, Hertfordshire, but maintained his CMS connection. Shortly afterwards he compiled his Christian Psalmody, comprising over 700 hymns, to which he subsequently added another 200; this work went through fifty-nine editions in seven years. In 1814 he took part in the formation of the Parker Society (for republishing the work of the English Reformers). He was active also in the formation of both the Evangelical Alliance and Irish Church Missions. His son, Bishop Edward Henry Bickersteth (1825- 1906), was prominent as a clergyman and hymnwriter.