Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mimpriss, Robert

681842Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 38 — Mimpriss, Robert1894Edward George Hawke

MIMPRISS, ROBERT (1797–1875), Sunday-school worker, was born at Deptford, Kent, 14 Jan. 1797. His father was an official in Deptford dockyard, and had nine sons, of whom Robert and Thomas, afterwards a surgeon, alone survived infancy. After education at a Blackheath boarding school Robert, at the age of sixteen, went to sea as purser on a foreign merchantman. But after the first voyage he abandoned the occupation, and after a brief trial of a clerkship in a London merchant's office, and subsequently of a desultory study of art, he married a lady of fortune in 1821, and thenceforth devoted himself to the development of Sunday schools. He devised what was known as the ‘Mimpriss System of Graduated Simultaneous Instruction,’ based on Greswell's ‘Harmony of the Gospels’ [see Greswell, Edward]. He moulded the gospel history into a continuous narrative, and divided it into one hundred lessons. The course was illustrated by pictorial maps, charts, and tables, in the preparation of which he was assisted by John Wilson, author of ‘Lectures on the Israelitish Origin of the English Nation.’ From 1830 to 1850 Mimpriss was chiefly engaged in writing books in connection with his system, but he repeatedly travelled round the country setting forth its merits or advocating millenarian and teetotal principles.

In 1860 the illness of his wife and pecuniary losses, due to the partial failure of his publications, led him to relax his efforts. He died at Clapham, 20 Dec. 1875. His widow and his brother Thomas survived him. A portrait is prefixed to the memoir of 1876.

His works, apart from elementary manuals for the use of schools, were:

  1. ‘A Pictorial, Geographical, Chronological, and Historical Chart, delineating the Rise and Progress of the Evangelical or Christian Dispensation to the Ascension of our Lord,’ London, 1832 (with a key,8vo).
  2. ‘A Harmony of the Four Gospels in the English Authorised Version, arranged according to Greswell's “Harmonia Evangelica,” in Greek …’ intended principally as an accompaniment to No. 1, London, 1833, 8vo.
  3. ‘Gospel Recreations for Sabbath Evenings,’ London, 1836, 8vo (with a set of card-pictures); 2nd edit. 1839, revised and much enlarged, under the title of ‘Conversations for Sabbath Evenings on our Lord's Life and Ministry.’
  4. ‘The Acts of the Apostles and Epistles historically and geographically delineated according to Greswell's arrangement,’ Lond. 1837, 8vo (with a chart).
  5. ‘The Treasury Harmony of the Four Evangelists, in the words of the Authorised Version, according to Greswell's “Harmonia Evangelica," &c.,’ 2vols. London, 1849-51, 12mo; republished as the ‘Gospel Treasury,’ new edit., London, 1884, 4to.
  6. A Full Development of Mimpriss's System of Graduated Simultaneous nstruction,’ London [1855], 8vo.
  7. ‘The Mimpriss System. The Amalgamated Manual for Superintendents,’ London [1855], 8vo.

[Robert Mimpriss: a Memoir of his Life and Work, London [1876], 8vo; Record and Rock for December 1875; the author's works; private information.]

E. G. H.