Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Fothergill, Anthony (1685?-1761)

FOTHERGILL, ANTHONY (1685?–1761), theological writer, was the youngest son of Thomas Fothergill of Brownber, Ravenstonedale, Westmoreland. Like his forefathers and descendants for many generations he owned Brownber, and lived and died there. Though he is said to have had no ‘liberal education,’ he published several theological works, the largest of which is entitled ‘Wicked Christians Practical Atheists; or Free Thoughts of a Plain Man on the Doctrines and Duties of Religion in general, and of Christianity in particular; compared and contrasted with the Faith and Practice of Protestants of every Denomination so far as either have come under the observation or to the knowledge of the Author: By Anthony Fothergill, a husbandman in the county of Westmoreland,’ 8vo, 1754. The description ‘husbandman’ is no doubt an attempt at a translation of the Lake country ‘statesman.’ This work was followed by two pamphlets: ‘A Modest Inquiry how far the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England and the Creed ascribed to St. Athanasius are consistent with and supported by one another; and how far they are also consistent with the Declarations of Jesus Christ and the Doctrines of His Apostles,’ 1755; and ‘The Fall of Man: an Enquiry into the Nature of that Event and how far the Posterity of Adam are involved in the guilt of his Transgression, addressed to all, but particularly preachers who embrace the doctrine of original sin,’ 1756. It is stated that he also wrote some things in verse, and contributed to the ‘Monthly Review.’ He seems to have acted as the parish lawyer. The parishioners put up in Ravenstonedale church a brass plate to his memory, bearing an inscription, which concludes: ‘his integrity of heart, social disposition, and uncommon abilities gained him general esteem. He departed this (his chequered) life, June 13, 1761, aged 75.’

[Newspaper cutting signed ‘J. W. F.’ in the possession of Miss Carter Squire; Gent. Mag. vol. lxxii. pt. ii. p. 1186; Nicolson and Burn's Hist. and Antiq. of Cumberland and Westmoreland, i. 518, 528; Monthly Review, xiii. 57 (July 1755), xiv. 8 (January 1756), xv. 677, 678 (App. to 1756); Brit. Mus. Cat. of Printed Books.]

E. C-n.