BUNTING, JABEZ (1779–1858), English Wesleyan divine, was born of humble parentage at Manchester on the 13th of May 1779. He was educated at Manchester grammar school, and at the age of nineteen began to preach, being received into full connexion in 1803. He continued to minister for upwards of fifty-seven years in Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Liverpool, London and elsewhere. In 1835 he was appointed president of the first Wesleyan theological college (at Hoxton), and in this position he succeeded in materially raising the standard of education among Wesleyan ministers. He was four times chosen to be president of the conference, was repeatedly secretary of the “Legal Hundred,” and for eighteen years was secretary to the Wesleyan Missionary Society. Under him Methodism ceased to be a society based upon Anglican foundation, and became a distinct church. He favoured the extension of lay power in committees, and was particularly zealous in the cause of foreign missions. Bunting was a popular preacher, and an effective platform speaker; in 1818 he was given the degree of M.A. by Aberdeen University, and in 1834 that of D.D. by Wesleyan University of Middletown, Conn., U.S.A. He died on the 16th of June 1858. His eldest son, William Maclardie Bunting (1805–1866), was also a distinguished Wesleyan minister; and his grandson Sir Percy William Bunting (b. 1836), son of T. P. Bunting, became prominent as a liberal nonconformist and editor of the Contemporary Review from 1882, being knighted in 1908.
See Lives of Jabez Bunting (1859) and W. M. Bunting (1870) by Thomas Percival Bunting.