His energy, his sometimes eccentric convictions and his failure to consider others' points of view perhaps hampered the career of W. S. Gilly (1789-1855) in the Church of England. But they contributed to a life which was remarkable in its depth and breadth of achievement - as preacher, writer, social reformer and philanthropist. Gilly was born in Suffolk and spent his early years in south-east England, including a spell as a student at Christ's Hospital. He later lambasted the public school system of his day. As a young clergyman in East London he preached to an inattentive Charles Dickens. But the main path of his life was set by two events: his second marriage to a connection of a Bishop of Durham, which brought him access to considerable funds, and his visit to the valleys in Piedmont where Waldensian Protestants had settled. Gilly spearheaded English attempts to help the Waldensians, including the setting-up of a college to train their pastors. As Prebend of Durham Cathedral and Vicar of Norham, in the Borders, he also became a notable agitator for social reform in the North-East, working to relieve poverty in the city of Durham and championing the hinds, the travelling labourers of the Borders region. He published many books and articles, and a number of memorials to his work survive. This thoughtful and wide-ranging review of Gilly's life and work is illustrated with maps, genealogies, photographs and contemporary illustrations, including sketches by Gilly's wife Jane.
Publisher: Lasse Press
Number of pages: 272
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
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