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CHORLEY, JOSIAH (d. 1719?), presbyterian minister, was a great-grandson of Richard Chorley of Walton-le-Dale, near Preston, Lancashire, and second of six sons of Henry Chorley of Preston. He had the degree of M.A., but of his early history nothing is known. He succeeded John Collinges, D.D. [q. v.], as one of the ministers of the presbyterian congregation at Norwich. The baptismal register of the congregation begins in September 1691 with an entry by Chorley. Chorley's ministry in Norwich was marked by his zeal in catechetical instruction, which gave rise to his very curious compendium of the Bible in verse. In January 1719 he was succeeded by John Brook from Yarmouth (afterwards of York, where he died in 1735). Chorley baptised a child of Brook's on 3 Sept. 1719, and is believed to have died soon after. He is said to have bequeathed 200l., the interest to be divided between the presbyterian minister and the poor at Preston, but nothing is now known of this endowment. He published ‘A Metrical Index to the Bible,’ &c., Norwich, 1711, 8yo. This very ingenious aid to the memorising of the contents of chapters is dedicated ‘Deo Trin-Uni O.M. Ecclesiæq; vere Catholicæ.’ At the end is ‘A Poetical Meditation’ of some merit. A second edition, London, 1714, 24mo, was improved by suggestions from Samuel Say, then independent minister at Lowestoft (see Chorley's letter to Say, 11 Dec. 1712, in ‘The Say Papers,’ Monthly Repository, 1810). A reprint of the 2nd edition, with delicate woodcuts designed by Thurston, and notes by the printer, John Johnson, appeared in 1818, 18mo. Watt (Bibl. Brit.) incorrectly gives Chorley's name as Joseph.

Chorley has been confused with his son (according to Browne, his nephew) Richard, who was educated in the academies of Frankland at Rathmell (entered 3 April 1697) and Chorlton at Manchester (entered 16 March 1699), and ministered at Filby near Yarmouth (till 1722) and Framlingham (till 1731). He afterwards lost his sight, and (about 1757) ceased to identify himself with dissent; his daughter, who lived in Norwich, was for a time insane.

[Monthly Repos. 1810, p. 632, 1811, p. 592, 1837, p. 632; Toulmin's Historical View, 1814, p. 682; Taylor's Hist. Octagon Chapel, Norwich, 1848, p. 13 sq.; Kenrick's Memorials Presb. Chapel, York, 1869, p. 43; Preston Guardian, 24 Feb. and 7 April 1877; Browne's Hist. Cong. Norf. and Suff. 1877, pp. 366, 638; Baker's Memorials Diss. Chapel, Manchester, 1884, p. 61; information from Rev. W. Sharman, Preston.]

A. G.