Rippon, John (DNB00)


RIPPON, JOHN (1751–1836), baptist divine, the son of John Rippon, a baptist minister first at Tiverton and then at Up-Ottery, Devon, was born at Tiverton on 29 April 1751. He was educated at the British Academy, entered the ministry, and on 1 Aug. 1773 became pastor of the baptist church in Carter Lane, Tooley Street (afterwards removed in consequence of the rebuilding of London Bridge, 1826–31, to New Park Street, where a new chapel was completed on 6 May 1833). Of his predecessor, Dr. John Gill [q. v.], he wrote a ‘Brief Memoir,’ published two years after his own death (London, 1838, 8vo). These two divines occupied the same pastoral office in succession for a period of upwards of 117 years. Like the majority of his co-religionists, Rippon gave his warm sympathy to the Americans during the war of independence, and was in correspondence with leading baptists on the other side of the Atlantic. The Baptist College of Providence, Rhode Island, conferred upon him the degree of D.D. in 1792. From 1790 until 1802 Rippon edited ‘The Baptist Annual Register,’ including valuable ‘sketches of the state of religion among different denominations of good men at home and abroad.’ In 1803 he printed ‘A Discourse on the Origin and Progress of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge among the Poor,’ from the foundation of the society in 1750 down to 1802. From 1800 onwards he began collecting materials relating to Bunhill Fields. The bulk of his manuscript collections, occupying eleven volumes (Addit. MSS. 28513–23), was purchased by the British Museum on 23 July 1870 from ‘Mrs. Rippon,’ a daughter-in-law, and includes many engraved portraits, and valuable, if diffuse, biographies of several hundred nonconformist divines. Another collection of ‘Bunhill inscriptions’ made by Rippon is preserved in the library of the Heralds' College, Doctors' Commons. The ‘Bunhill Memorials’ (1849), by John Andrews Jones [q. v.], fulfils Rippon's design.

Rippon is best known as the compiler of a ‘Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors, intended as an Appendix to Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns,’ London, 1827, 12mo; the British Museum has an interleaved copy, with the author's manuscript notes and revisions. Rippon published a tenth edition, with sixty additional hymns, in 1800 (London, 12mo). A thirtieth edition, with further additional hymns, appeared in 1830; and in 1844 appeared the ‘comprehensive edition,’ known to hymnologists as ‘The Comprehensive Rippon,’ containing in all 1,170 hymns in one hundred metres. Among the few hymns of Rippon's own composition are some of acknowledged merit, such as ‘The day has dawned, Jehovah comes.’ He also printed an ‘Index to Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns’ (London, 1810, 12mo), besides a baptist catechism and several separate sermons. The sale of his hymnal is said to have brought him in a comfortable income. Rippon died in London on 17 Dec. 1836, in the eighty-sixth year of his age and the sixty-fourth year of his ministry, and was buried in Bunhill Fields cemetery on 24 Dec. The British Museum purchased, on 12 Aug. 1863, four stout volumes of Rippon's correspondence (Addit. MSS. 25386–89), arranged in alphabetical order of writers, with the anonymous letters at the end. Many of these letters are addressed to Rippon as to a confessor, and are of psychological interest.

A younger brother, Thomas Rippon (1761–1835), born at Tiverton in 1761, entered the Bank of England, was trained in the severe school of Abraham Newland [q. v.], and eventually succeeded him as chief cashier. He died at the bank on 13 Aug. 1835. During over fifty years' service he took but one holiday, which he abridged to three days. By preciseness, judgment, and thrift, he amassed 60,000l. (Gent. Mag. 1835, ii. 331–2, 670).

The John Rippon, composer of ‘The Crucifixion, a Sacred Oratorio’ in vocal score, fol. (Sac. Harm. Soc. Cat. p. 68), appears to have been a nephew of the divine.

[Times, 20 Dec. 1836; John Andrews Jones's Bunhill Memorials, pp. 232–6; Baptist Mag. 1837, p. 35; Ivimey's Hist. of English Baptists, iii, 452; Ann. Reg. 1837, p. 162; Julian's Dict. of Hymnology; Notes and Queries, 6th ser. xi. 26.]

T. S.