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Title: William Jay of Bath (1769-1853)
Author: Waddell, Stephen Blair
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 7343
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2012
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William Jay (1769-1853) was an Independent minister of the Argyle Chapel in Bath for sixty-two years. His career bridged the time between the Evangelical Revival of the eighteenth century and the formal Congregational denominationalism of the nineteenth century. Jay’s autobiography is used among historians for its first-hand accounts of other notable evangelical figures such as William Wilberforce (1759-1833), Hannah More (1745-1833) and John Newton (1725-1807). Too often his own influence has been overlooked, but at the time he was regarded as one of the foremost Dissenting preachers of his era. His ministry within a fashionable spa city increased the respectability of evangelical religion among the growing middle classes in Bath. This thesis examines the evangelicalism of William Jay in the context of his times. The scope of Jay’s life and popularity will be examined in six chapters. Following the introduction, chapter two will examine his direct impact through the Argyle Chapel upon Bath. Chapter three will review the early life of William Jay that was much neglected by his biographers. It will demonstrate the formation of his evangelicalism first introduced to him by Joanna Turner (1732-1784) and instilled in his training by Cornelius Winter (1742-1807). The social composition of the Argyle Chapel will be evaluated in the fourth chapter. Those that Jay attracted to the chapel not only promoted his cause to advance the gospel, but also increased the prestige of the minister and his place of worship. In chapter five, Jay’s preaching, which attracted celebrity and commoner alike, will be analyzed for form, style, content, delivery and the receptivity of his audience. Likewise, the spirituality of the man, which will be reviewed in chapter six, induced similar qualities to stimulate evangelical religion. Finally, the polity and ecclesiology of William Jay will be examined in the seventh chapter. The Argyle Chapel was under strong pastoral guidance for the vast majority of the minister’s service until Jay lost that influence shortly before his retirement in 1852. The biography will conclude with an appraisal of R.W. Dale’s (1829-1895) categorization of Jay and his chapel as representative of older evangelical religion and criticism of the early participants of the revival found in Dale’s sermon The Old Evangelicalism and the New (1889). William Jay promoted a religious perspective that exhorted the individual to dwell on the self yet sought to do so through a united Christian movement that crossed denominational barriers.
Supervisor: Bebbington, David William Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Bath ; William Jay ; John Angell James ; R.W. Dale ; Evangelicalism ; Argyle Chapel ; Cornelius Winter ; Congregational ; Dissent ; Jay, William, 1769-1853 ; Evangelicalism Great Britain ; Dissenters, Religious England Biography ; Clergy Biography