William Dunn Longstaff

LONGSTAFF, William Dunn. b. Sunderland, County Durham, 28 January 1822; d. Sunderland, 2 April 1894. He was the son of a ship owner, and became one of a number of wealthy businessmen and ship owners who were deeply involved in the religious life of Sunderland. Longstaff began as a member of the Church of England, but sided with the controversial curate of St John’s Church, the ‘Welsh firebrand’ Arthur Augustus Rees, who fell out with his rector and bishop and who was dismissed from his curacy in 1842. Rees, with the help of Longstaff and others, built an Independent Chapel called Bethesda, where he preached to a vast congregation and subsequently introduced Adult Baptism (Milburn, 1988, p...

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