Rowland Hill

1744-1833. Preacher. Educated at Eton, he entered St. John's College, Cambridge (1764), at a time when evangelical views were unpopular. He believed at first that he was the only evangelical Christian there, except for the shoeblack at the gate, but soon he led several students to Christ. He continued to visit the poor and sick, and to preach as opportunity offered, even after six of his friends were expelled from Oxford for so doing. Following ordination he was appointed to Kingston and preached to great crowds, often in the open air, for ten years. He then inherited money and built Surrey Chapel, Blackfriars, where he exerted a powerful London ministry. He welcomed advances in science, himself vaccinating the children of his congregation. He was instrumental in founding the Religious Truth Society, the British and Foreign Bible Society, and the London Missionary Society. Spurgeon described him as full of fun in the pulpit—“a childlike man in whom nothing was repressed.” Sir Rowland Hill of the penny post was named after him.