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Piers, Henry
1694-1770

Vicar of Bexley, Kent, 1737-70. Of aristocratic Irish descent, he graduated from Trinity College, Dublin. Meeting Charles Wesley and John Bray at Blendon Hall in 1738 he was introduced to the evangelical understanding of justification and in 1739 was arraigned by Archbishop Potter for his Methodistical sympathies. The Visitation sermon on 1 Cor. 4:1-2 which he prepared with John Wesley's help for a deanery meeting in 1742 gave great offence to his fellow clergy by its pointed reference to their shortcomings. In 1744 he introduced Wesley to Vincent Perronet. He attended the 1747 Conference, but seems to have withdrawn gradually from contact with Methodism, concerned at what he saw as its antinomian tendencies. Wesley could not persuade him to itinerate beyond his own parish. His closing years were shadowed by financial worries arising out of the mismanagement of a family estate in Montserrat.

Sources

  • WM Magazine, 1902 pp.133-40
  • Richard Butterworth, in WHS Proceedings, 5 pp.225-27
  • A. Skevington Wood Brothers in Arms: John Wesley's Early Clerical Associates (1992) pp.8-14

Entry written by: JAV
Category: Person

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