Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Broadbent, William

BROADBENT, WILLIAM (1755–1827), Unitarian minister, the son of William and Elizabeth Broadbent, was born 28 Aug. 1755. He was educated for the ministry at Daventry academy (August 1777-June 1782), first under Thomas Robins, who resigned the divinity chair in June 1781 from loss of voice, and afterwards under Thomas Belsham [q.v.] Broadbent became classical tutor to the academy in August 1782, and in January 1784 he exchanged this appointment for that of tutor in mathematics, natural philosophy, and logic. Belsham resigned the divinity chair in June 1789, having become a Unitarian, and the academy was removed in November to Northampton. Broadbent continued to act as tutor till the end of 1791, when he became minister at Warrington (he took out his license on 18 Jan. 1792), and removed to Cockey Moor. At this time his views were of the average Daventry type. But at Warrington he re-examined his theological convictions, and becoming a Unitarian of the Belsham school, he succeeded in carrying nearly all his congregation with him. Broadbent from his eighteenth year kept up a close friendship with Belsham ; in Williams's chaotic 'Memoirs' of Belsham (1833, 8vo) are some fragments of their correspondence. Biblical exegesis was Broadbent's favourite study, and textual interpretation played a prominent part in his preaching. He resigned his Warrington charge in the spring of 1822, induced by broken health and the depressing effects of the loss of his son. He died at Latchford, near Warrington, on 1 Dec. 1827, and was buried in the Warrington chapel on 6 Dec.

Thomas Biggin Broadbent (1793-1817), only child of William Broadbent, born at Warrington on 17 March 1793, entered Glasgow College in November 1809. After graduating in April 1813 he became classical tutor in the Unitarian academy at Hackney, an office he filled till 1816, preaching latterly at Prince's Street Chapel, Westminster, during a vacancy. His pulpit powers were remarkable. Resigning his London work, he returned to Warrington to pursue his ministerial training as his father's assistant. He died of apoplexy on 9 Nov. 1817. He prepared for the press, in 1816, portions (1 and 2 Cor., 1 Tim., and Titus) of Belsham's 'Epistles of Paul the Apostle,' published 1822, 4 vols. 8vo. He also edited the fourth edition, 1817, 8vo, of the 'Improved Version' of the New Testament, originally published 1808, 8vo, under Belsham's superintendence. Two of his sermons, published posthumously in 1817, reached a second edition.

[Monthly Repos. 1810, p. 362, 1817, p. 690 (memoir by H. G. [Holbrook Gaskell?]), 1818, p 1 sq (portrait of T. B. Broadbent from miniature by Partridge), 1822, pp. 198, 285, 289, 1828, p.69; Williams's Mem. of Belsham, 1833 p.610; information from Rev. E. Pilcher.]

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