William Grimshaw

1708-1763. Anglican clergyman. Born in Lancashire of obscure parentage, he was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, and became a typcial curate of his times until a long spiritual struggle culminated in a conversion experience in 1742. He knew nothing then of Whitefield or Wesley, but like the former was converted through reading Scripture and seventeenth-century books. He was incumbent of Haworth, Yorkshire (afterward famous for the Brontes), in a wild country with rough, illiterate people. His uncouth, racy preaching with plenty of humor; his athletic prowess that won their respect; his affection for sinner and saint; and his passionate sense of Christ as Savior made him a powerful evangelist. He transformed the whole place. Before sermon he would go out and round up shirkers with a riding crop, and his preaching brought many hearers from a distance. He took particular pains with the very poor, the isolated, and the sick. Because neighboring parishes never heard the Gospel, he went around preaching, and when their own slack clergy protested, his archbishop supported him. Grimshaw was an ally of both Whitefield and Wesley, but disapproved of the Wesleys' movement toward separating the Methodists from the Church of England. He trained many curates, and was a fine example of the Evangelical Revival in parish life.