Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hewson, William (1806-1870)

HEWSON, WILLIAM (1806–1870), theological writer, son of William Hewson of 7 Tottenham Court New Road, clerk in a bank, was born on 12 April 1806; baptised at St. Margaret's, Westminster, on 28 Dec. in the same year; and entered at St. Paul's School, London, on 9 Oct. 1815. He won an exhibition and proceeded to St. John's College, Cambridge, in 1826, where he graduated B.A. in 1830 and M.A. in 1833. From June 1830 to 1833 he held the curacy of Bishop Burton in the East Riding of Yorkshire. From January 1834 he was curate of Spofforth, Yorkshire, for one year, and then became head-master of Sherburn grammar school, Yorkshire, with Sunday duty as a curate in Sherburn parish. From January 1838 until June 1847 he was head-master of St. Peter's School, York. In 1848 the Archbishop of York presented him to the perpetual curacy of Goatland, worth only 53l. a year, with permission to reside at Whitby, as there was no house for the incumbent in the parish. Hewson succeeded in obtaining an increased stipend of 275l. a year. He began to build a house, which was nearly completed at the time of his death. Prophecy and its fulfilment were the principal subject of his studies. He was a laborious writer, and produced twenty-six publications, but his method of exposition was not lucid, and his works were little read. His favourite belief was that the Book of Revelation is an inspired interpretation of the spirit of Jewish prophecy. He died from disease of the heart at 1 St. Hilda Terrace, Whitby, on 23 April 1870, and was buried, as had been his wife and son, in York cemetery. On 2 Nov. 1830 he married, at St. Luke's, Chelsea, Mary Ann, only child of Samuel and Mary Reckster, and widow of Lieutenant Alfred A. Yeakell. She died on 14 Feb. 1861, having had two children, Frances Anne Hewson, who was born at Beverley on 8 Nov. 1833, and completed the publication of her father's Hebrew and Greek scriptures in 1870; and John Singleton (1835–1850). Some of William Hewson's publications were: 1. ‘The Christian's Bible Companion,’ 1855. 2. ‘The Key of David, or the Mystery of the Seven Sealed Books of Jewish Prophecy,’ 1855. 3. ‘The Oblation and Temple of Ezekiel's Prophetic Visions, in their Relation to the Restoration of the Kingdom of Israel. To which is appended a Practical Exposition of the Apocalypse. The Symbolic Chronometer. On the Mystic Number 666,’ 1858, 5 parts. 4. ‘Thy Kingdom come, or the Christian's Prayer of Penitence and Faith,’ 1859. 5. ‘Christianity in its Relation to Judaism and Heathenism, in three tracts. With Lithographic Illustrations and Revolving Diagrams,’ 1860. 6. ‘The Hebrew and Greek Scriptures compared with Oriental History, Dialling, Science, and Mythology. Also the History of the Cross gathered from many Countries,’ 1870.

[Guardian, 4 May 1870, p. 513; Whitby Times, 29 April 1870, p. 4; Smale's Whitby Authors, 1867, pp. 104, 171–6, 217; information from Miss F. A. Hewson.]

G. C. B.