John Pye-Smith

John Pye-Smith

The Rev Dr John Pye-Smith FRS, FGS (May 25, 1774-February 5, 1851) was a Congregational theologian and tutor, associated with reconciling geological sciences with the Bible, Repeal of the Corn Laws and abolition. He was the author of many learned works.

Dr John Pye-Smith was Theological Tutor at Homerton College near Hackney, London for forty-five years between 1805 and 1850, and minister of the Old Gravel Pit Chapel in Chatham Place, Hackney for nearly as long (1811-50). His pupils included Robert Halley (future Principal of New College, London), Samuel Dyer the missionary, and William Johnson Fox of the South Place Ethical Society.

The son of a Sheffield bookseller, he was surrounded by books in his youth and, practically self-taught, rose not only to become a dissenting academic and author, but through his interest in science and geology, was elected [ [ Smith; John Pye (1774 - 1851) at Royal Society] ] to become the first Fellow of the Royal Society from a nonconformist background.

He was also elected a Fellow of the Geological Society at a time when there was considerable debate about accepting the idea of geological time, and if so to find ways of reconciling this with the teachings of the Old Testament.

During the politically turbulent 1790s, before moving to London he had taken over the editorship of the "Sheffield Iris", the leading abolitionist newspaper in the North of England, during imprisonment of its editor, his friend James Montgomery. In 1830 Dr Pye Smith took the Chair of "The Board of Congregational Ministers" when it passed an anti-slavery motion to secure support from all Congregational chapels across the country in petitioning parliament:"That we feel it to be a solemn duty to employ our influence with our congregations and the public, to promote petitions to both Houses of Parliament for the abolition of Colonial Slavery, and therefore pledge ourselves, and beg to recommend to our brethren throughout the kingdom to prepare from each congregation such petitions to parliament..." The Congregationalists' 1833 abolition lecture, "The Sinfulness of Colonial Slavery", was delivered at John Pye-Smith's Meeting House in Hackney by his former pupil, Robert Halley

Dr John Pye Smith died in Hackney in 1851 and is buried below a marble chest tomb monument in Dr Watts' Walk, at the Congregationalists' non-denominational garden cemetery in the grounds of Abney Park, Stoke Newington.



* John Pye Smith, [ "On the relation between the Holy Scriptures and some parts of geological science"] at Google Books (full download). Published 1840, London: Jackson and Walford.
* John Pye Smith, [ "Four discourses on the sacrifice and priesthood of Jesus Christ, and the Atonement and Redemption thence accruing"] at Google Books (full download). Published 1842, London: Jackson and Walford.

External References

* National Register of Archives [ Smith, John Pye (1774-1851) Congregational Minister]
* Probate at PCC [ Will of Reverend John Pye Smith, Doctor of Divinity of Saint John Hackney , Middlesex]
* Search result for [ John Pye Smith - papers in UK archives]

NAME = Pye-Smith, John
DATE OF BIRTH = May 25, 1774
PLACE OF BIRTH = Sheffield, Yorkshire, England
DATE OF DEATH = February 5, 1851
PLACE OF DEATH = Hackney, Middlesex, England

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