Aldridge, William (DNB00)

ALDRIDGE, WILLIAM (1737–1797), nonconformist minister, was born at Warminster, in Wiltshire, in 1737. As a youth he spent a mere pleasure-seeking life. In his twenty-fourth year, however, he was seized with a passionate desire to be a preacher of the gospel, and was admitted to the Countess of Huntingdon's college at Treveca in South Wales. There he remained until a regular theological course was completed. He received ‘license,' and for a number of years preached in the chapels of the countess's ‘connection'—semi-methodist, semi-episcopal. In September 1771 he was sent by Lady Huntingdon, with a Joseph Cook, to Margate, in the Isle of Thanet. They were utter strangers in the place. They began to address any who would listen to them in the open air. The numbers increased from month to month. About this time occurred in Dover a schism among the Wesleyan Methodists, and the malcontents invited the two missionary evangelists thither. Mr. Aldridge preached for the first time in the market-place on a Sunday. The opposition was violent. But a presbyterian meeting-house that had been closed having been obtained, he officiated in it while he resided at Dover. Later, the two preachers supplied Margate and Dover alternately. In the midst of his usefulness the Countess of Huntingdon appointed Mr. Aldridge to ‘supply' the Mulberry Garden chapel in Wapping. There his ministry proved so remarkable a success that the large congregation united in a petition to her ladyship to ‘continue him as their minister.' The despotic lady—as was her wont—refused the appeal of the people. This led to Mr. Aldridge severing himself from the countess's ‘connexion.' Jewry-street chapel (Calvinistic Methodist) being then vacant, he was ‘called' to it, accepted the invitation, and remained its devoted and beloved minister for upwards of twenty years. He died on 28 Feb. 1797. Like so many nonconformist ministers he was buried in Bunhill-fields. The two literary-theological memorials of Aldridge are his ‘Doctrine of the Trinity, Stated, Proved, and Defended,' and a funeral sermon on the death of the Countess of Huntingdon. The former is occasionally most powerful in its reasoning.

[Wilson's History and Antiquities of Dissenting Churches, i. 129–132; Bryson's Sermon on the Death of the Rev. W. Aldridge, pp. 14, 16; Baptist Register, i. 501–2.]

A. B. G.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.5
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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253 i 35 Aldridge, William: for Treveca read Trevecca