Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Stowell, William Hendry

STOWELL, WILLIAM HENDRY (1800–1858), dissenting divine, born at Douglas, Isle of Man, on 19 June 1800, was son of William Stowell and his wife, Susan Hilton. Hugh Stowell [q. v.] was his cousin. He was one of the first students at the Blackburn Academy, opened in 1816, under Dr. Joseph Fletcher. His first ministerial charge, at St. Andrew's Chapel, North Shields, extended from February 1821 to 1834, when he was appointed head of the Independent College at Rotherham, and pastor of Masborough congregational church. The latter post he resigned in 1849, and the former in October 1850, on his appointment as president of Cheshunt College. In 1848 he was the pioneer of the ‘missions to working men,’ and took the most prominent part in rendering successful the concert-hall lectures established by Nathaniel Caine at Liverpool in 1850. The university of Glasgow conferred on him the degree of D.D. in 1849, in recognition of the value of his theological works. He resigned Cheshunt College in 1856, and died at his residence, Roman Road, Barnsbury, London, on 2 Jan. 1858. He married Sarah Hilton in July 1821, and left several children.

He wrote: 1. ‘The Ten Commandments illustrated,’ 1824, 8vo. 2. ‘The Missionary Church,’ 1832. 3. ‘The Miraculous Gifts considered,’ 1834. 4. ‘History of the Puritans,’ 1847. 5. ‘The Work of the Spirit,’ 1849. 6. ‘Memoir of R. W. Hamilton, D.D.,’ 1850. He also published several discourses and charges, edited the works of Thomas Adams (fl. 1612–1653) [q. v.], the puritan divine, 1847; and, for the monthly series of the Religious Tract Society, wrote: 1. ‘History of Greece,’ 1848. 2. ‘Lives of Illustrious Greeks,’ 1849. 3. ‘Life of Mohammed.’ 4. ‘Julius Cæsar.’ 5. ‘Life of Isaac Newton.’ He was joint editor of the fifth series of the ‘Eclectic Review,’ and a contributor to the ‘British Quarterly Review’ and other periodicals of the denomination to which he belonged. A posthumous volume of sermons appeared in 1859, edited by his eldest son, William Stowell (d. 1877).

An unsatisfactory portrait, painted by Parker, was presented by subscribers to Rotherham College in 1844; it is engraved in the ‘Memoir’ by Stowell's son.

[William Stowell's Memoir of the Life and Labours of W. H. Stowell, 1859; Congregational Year Book, 1859, p. 222; Guest's History of Rotherham, 1879; Athenæum, 1859, ii. 237; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Hugh Stowell Brown's Autobiography, 1887, p. 20; private information.]

C. W. S.