Joseph Milner

1744-1797. Evangelical clergyman. After education at Cambridge he was ordained and served a curacy at Thorp Arch, near Tadcaster in Yorkshire. In 1768 he became headmaster of Hull Grammar School, where one of his pupils was William Wilberforce.* He was also lecturer at Holy Trinity Church. He employed his brother Isaac* at the school for a short while before paying for his education at Cambridge. In 1770 he became an ardent Evangelical, and his preaching in Hull and at North Ferriby nearby (where he was successively curate and vicar) was very popular among the poor and resented by the more respectable. In due course the opposition died out, and in 1797 he was appointed vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Hull, through the influence of Wilberforce, but died before he could be instituted. His best-known work was his History of the Church of Christ (3 vols., 1794-97). He was not a professional historian, and the work has been subjected to a good deal of criticism, but it was marked by a determination to record the bright side of church history and not just controversies. Some of his essays and sermons were also published.