National Portrait Gallery

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Born: Jan­ua­ry 6, 1740, Lid­get Green, York­shire, Eng­land.

Died: Ju­ly 25, 1817, Heb­den Bridge, York­shire, Eng­land.

Buried: Bap­tist Church, Wains­gate, Heb­den Bridge, York­shire, Eng­land.



This John Faw­cett, a hymn writ­er, should not be con­fused with John Faw­cett the com­pos­er.

Fawcett was con­vert­ed at age 16 un­der the min­is­try of George White­field. He first joined the Me­tho­dists, but three years lat­er be­gan at­tend­ing the Bap­tist Church in Brad­ford, Eng­land. Hav­ing be­gun to preach, he was or­dained a Bap­tist min­ist­er at Wains­gate, York­shire.

In 1772, he was in­vit­ed to Lon­don to suc­ceed J. Gill as pas­tor of the Car­ter’s Lane Bap­tist Church. On the day of his de­part­ure, he had preach­ed his fare­well ser­mon, the wa­gons were load­ed, and he was rea­dy to go. But he was so ov­er­come by the thought of leav­ing the con­gre­ga­tion he had come to love, that he can­celed his plans and stayed in Wains­gate. In 1793, Faw­cett was in­vit­ed to be­come pre­si­dent of the Bap­tist Aca­de­my in Bris­tol, but he si­mi­lar­ly de­clined.

In 1811, Faw­cett re­ceived a Doc­tor of Di­vi­ni­ty de­gree from an Am­eri­can school.


Despite his ac­comp­lish­ments, Faw­cett prac­ticed hu­mi­li­ty, as shown in the pre­face to Hymns Adapt­ed to the Cir­cum­stanc­es of Pub­lic Wor­ship and Pri­vate De­vo­tion:

I blush to think of these plain vers­es fall­ing in­to the hands of per­sons of an ele­vat­ed ge­ni­us, and re­fined taste. To such, I know, they will ap­pear flat, dull and un­en­ter­tain­ing…If it may be con­du­cive, un­der di­vine bless­ing to warm the heart or as­sist the de­vo­tion of any hum­ble Chris­tian in the clo­set, the fa­mi­ly or the house of God, I shall there­in sin­cere­ly re­joice, what­ev­er cen­sure I may in­cur from the po­lite world.