Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Kinghorn, Joseph
KINGHORN, JOSEPH (1766–1832), particular baptist minister, was born at Gateshead-on-Tyne, Durham, on 17 Jan. 1766. His father, David Kinghorn (b. 3 Oct. 1737; d. 18 Feb. 1822), was a shoemaker and baptist preacher at Newcastle-on-Tyne, who was ordained on 1 May 1771 as minister of a baptist congregation at Burton-Bishop, East Riding of Yorkshire, where he remained till July 1799, when he retired to Norwich. Joseph was his eldest son by his second wife, Elizabeth (d. 25 Jan. 1810, aged 72), second daughter of Joseph Jopling of Satley, co. Durham. After four years' schooling, Kinghorn was taken on trial as apprentice to watch- and clock-making at Hull in 1779, but in March 1781 became a clerk in the white-lead works at Elswick, Northumberland. In April 1783 he was baptised by his father at Burton-Bishop, and looked forward to entering the ministry. He made the acquaintance of Robert Hall (1764–1831) [q. v.], and had thoughts of joining him at the university of Aberdeen. On 20 Aug. 1784 he entered the baptist academy at Bristol, under Caleb Evans, D.D. Among his fellow-students his most intimate friend was James Hinton, father of John Howard Hinton [q. v.] On leaving the academy he ministered for several months (from May 1788) at Fairford, Gloucestershire. He received an invitation from the baptist congregation at St. Mary's Chapel, Norwich, so called because it is situate in the parish of St. Mary-in-Coslany. On 27 March 1789 he settled in Norwich, and was ordained on 20 May 1790.
Kinghorn's ministry at Norwich, which lasted till his death, was one of much public usefulness. He was famed for the unction of his preaching, and his power of apt illustration was noted by Edward Irving. His old chapel was replaced in 1811 by a very handsome structure on the same site. On 2 Aug. 1804 he was invited to the headship of the Northern Baptist Academy, then on the point of being established in Bradford, but he preferred pastoral work. In a controversy with Robert Hall, which began in 1816, he took the side of close communion, making adult baptism a term of participation in the Lord's Supper. He made mission journeys to Scotland in 1818 and 1822, and in every enterprise connected with his own body he played a prominent part. The intellectual life of Norwich was in his time considerable. From 1790 he was a member of a ‘speculative society,’ of which William Taylor [q. v.], the German scholar, was the leading spirit, and in which the cultured Roman catholic was welcomed along with the representatives of all protestant churches. In later life Kinghorn gave much time to Hebrew and rabbinical studies. He died unmarried on 1 Sept. 1832, and was buried on 7 Sept. in the vestibule of St. Mary's Chapel; Joseph John Gurney [q. v.], the quaker philanthropist, spoke at his funeral; the sermon was preached by John Alexander, minister of Prince's Street congregational church.
A list of twenty of his publications is given by Wilkin, including:
- ‘A Defence of Infant Baptism its best confutation,’ &c., Norwich, 1795, 12mo.
- ‘Public Worship,’ &c., Norwich, 1800, 12mo.
- ‘Address … on Church Communion,’ &c., Norwich, 1803, 1813, 1824.
- ‘Arguments … against the Roman Catholic Doctrines,’ &c., Norwich, 1804.
- ‘Serious Considerations addressed to the House of Israel,’ &c., 1811, 12mo.
- ‘The Miracles of Jesus not performed by the power of the Shemhamphorash,’ &c., 1812.
- ‘Scriptural Arguments for the Divinity of Christ,’ &c., Norwich, 1813, 12mo; 1814, 8vo.
- ‘Advice … to Young Ministers,’ &c., Norwich, 1814, 12mo.
- ‘Baptism a Term of Communion,’ Norwich, 1816, 8vo; two editions same year; 1876, 8vo; also ‘A Defence’ of this, Norwich, 1820, 8vo.
- ‘Practical Cautions to Students,’ &c., Norwich, 1817, 8vo.
- ‘The Argument in support of Infant Baptism from … Circumcision,’ &c. 1823, 12mo.
- ‘Arguments … against Mixed Communion,’ &c., 1827, 12mo.
- ‘Sketch of the Life of the Rev. Isaac Slee,’ &c., 1827, 12mo.
- ‘Remarks on … the Visible Church,’ &c., Norwich, 1829, 12mo.He edited Robertson's ‘Clavis Pentateuchi,’ &c., Norwich, 1824, 8vo, and the 9th (1814) and 10th (1827) editions of Ash and Evans's ‘Collection of Hymns’ (1769). His sermon on the ‘Separate State’ is in vol. ii. of the ‘British Preacher,’ 1831. Wilkin enumerates twelve of his unpublished manuscripts, chiefly controversial. The catalogue of his library was published at Norwich, 1833, 8vo.
[Wilkin's Joseph Kinghorn, 1855; Browne's Hist. Congr. Norf. and Suff. 1877, p. 552; Todd's Brief Histor. Sketch of the Baptist Church in St. Mary's, Norwich , pp. 14 sq.; Julian's Dictionary of Hymnology, 1892, p. 112.]