Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Simpson, David

SIMPSON, DAVID (1745–1799), divine, was the son of Ralph Simpson, farmer at Ingleby Arncliffe, near Northallerton, Yorkshire, where he was born on 12 Oct. 1745. After education at Northallerton, and then at Scorton grammar school under the Rev. John Noble, he proceeded in October 1765 to St. John's College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. in 1769 and M.A. in 1772. In 1767 he made the acquaintance of the Rev. Theophilus Lindsey [q. v.], by whom he was ‘converted.’ His first curacy was at Ramsden Bellhouse, Essex, under his friend William Cawthorne Unwin. At the end of two years he became curate of Buckingham, where he remained twelve months, leaving on account of opposition excited by his over-earnest preaching. Then he went to Macclesfield, Cheshire, and was appointed assistant curate of St. Michael's Church on 1 June 1772. Here after some little time the ‘methodistical’ earnestness of his preaching caused him to be brought to the notice of Dr. Markham, bishop of Chester, who deprived him of his curacy. On the death of Thomas Hewson, prime curate of Macclesfield, in 1778, he was nominated by the mayor as his successor; but this appointment was so strongly opposed, on the ground that he was a methodist, that he refused it. On the consecration of Christ Church, however, in 1779 he was appointed the first incumbent, and he remained there for the rest of his life. John Wesley was a warm friend of Simpson, and often preached at his church. For some time he added to his income by keeping a school. He also carried on an evening charity school, and this was succeeded by a Sunday school, opened in 1796. He died on 24 March 1799, and was buried at Christ Church. He was twice married—first, about 1773, to Ann Waldy of Yarm, Yorkshire, who died on 16 Sept. 1774, leaving a daughter. His second wife, Elizabeth Davy, by whom he had three children, predeceased him a few days.

Simpson's works comprise: 1. ‘Collection of Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs,’ 1776; curious from its quotations from Shakespeare, Spenser, and other poets (see Notes and Queries, 5th ser. x. 469, xi. 75). 2. ‘Sacred Literature, shewing the Holy Scriptures to be superior to the most celebrated Writings of Antiquity,’ &c., 4 vols. 1788–90. 3. ‘Portraits of Human Characters,’ 1790. 4. ‘The Excellency and Greatness of a Religious Mind,’ 1790. 5. ‘Discourses on Dreams and Night Visions,’ 1791. 6. ‘Essay on the Authenticity of the New Testament,’ 1793. 7. ‘Key to the Prophecies,’ 1795; 3rd edit. 1812. 8. ‘A Plea for Religion and the Sacred Writings,’ 1797; often reprinted; an edition of 1802 has a memoir by John Gaulter, and one in 1837 a memoir by Sir John B. Williams. 9. ‘An Apology for the Doctrine of the Trinity,’ 1798; reprinted in 1812, with memoir by Edward Parsons.

[Memoir by Rev. James Johnston, Macclesfield, 1878; Earwaker's East Cheshire, ii. 509; Allibone's Dict. of Authors, ii. 2107; Tyerman's John Wesley, 1871, iii. 165.]

C. W. S.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.250
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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268 ii 20 f.e. Simpson, David: for Shropshire read Yorkshire