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URWICK, WILLIAM (1826–1905), nonconformist divine and chronicler, born at Sligo on 8 March 1826, was second son of William Urwick [q. v.], nonconformist divine, by his wife Sarah (1791–1852), daughter of Thomas Cooke of Shrewsbury. His early education was under his father. He graduated at Trinity College, Dublin, B.A. in 1848, M.A. in 1851. From Dublin he proceeded to the Lancashire Independent College, Manchester, where he studied (1848–51) under Robert Vaughan [q. v.] and Samuel Davidson [q. v. Suppl. I]. On 19 June 1851 he was ordained minister at Hatherlow, Cheshire, where he remained for twenty-three years, doing good work as pastor, as district secretary (later, president) of the Cheshire Congregational Union, and as a translator of German theological works. Here, too, he began the series of his contributions to nonconformist annals. Removing to London, he filled (1874–7) the chair of Hebrew and Old Testament exegesis at New College. Still living in London, he became in 1880 minister of Spicer Street chapel, St. Albans, where he rebuilt the Sunday schools, improved the church premises, and took an active part in temperance and other social works, resigning in 1895. On a visit to his sisters in the old home at Dublin, he died there on 20 Aug. 1905. He married on 1 June 1859 Sophia (1832–1897), daughter of Thomas Hunter of Manchester, by whom he had four sons and five daughters.

Urwick's account of Cheshire nonconformity in 1864, an unequal medley of papers by local ministers and laymen, is not his best work. His own workmanship in it is sharply criticised by H. D. Roberts in ‘Matthew Henry and his Chapel’ (1901). His book on Hertfordshire nonconformity (1884) is distinctly the best, so far, of the nonconformist county histories. Good in its way is his book on Worcester nonconformity (1897); still better is his very valuable little book on the early annals of Trinity College, Dublin (1892). He is, however, essentially an annalist, with no historical breadth of view.

He published, besides the works cited: 1. ‘Historical Sketches of Nonconformity in the County Palatine of Chester,’ 1864. 2. ‘Life and Letters of William Urwick, D.D.’ (his father), 1870. 3. ‘Ecumenical Councils,’ 6 pts. 1870. 4. ‘Errors of Ritualism,’ Manchester, 1872 (lectures). 5. ‘The Nonconformists and the Education Act,’ 1872. 6. ‘The Papacy and the Bible,’ Manchester, 1874 (in controversy with Kenelm Vaughan). 7. ‘The Servant of Jehovah,’ 1877 (commentary on Isaiah lii. 13–liii. 12). 8. ‘Indian Pictures,’ 1881. 9. ‘Bible Truths and Church Errors,’ 1888 (embodies argument to prove Bunyan not a baptist). He translated from the German: H. Martensen's ‘Christian Dogmatics’ (1886); J. Müller's ‘Christian Doctrine of Sin’ (1868, 2 vols.); F. Bleek's ‘Introduction to the New Testament’ (1869–70, 2 vols.); H. Cremer's ‘Biblicotheological Lexicon of New Testament Greek’ (1872). He edited his father's ‘Biographic Sketches of J. D. Latouche’ (1868), and T. A. Urwick's ‘Records of the Family of … Urwick’ (1893).

[The Times, 28 Aug. 1905; Lancashire Independent College Report, 1905; Congregational Year Book, 1906 (portrait); Records of the Family of Urwick, 1893; Cat. of Graduates, Univ. Dublin, 1869.]

A. G.