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William Grimshaw of Haworth in Yorkshire, born 14 September 1708, was regarded by J C Ryle as one of the three greatest men of the eighteenth century Evangelical Revival; the other two being John Wesley and George Whitefield. And yet he is little known today. One reason for this is that he left behind no printed sermons - nothing that posterity could read and profit from after his death - or so it was thought until the Methodist historian Frank Baker unearthed four manuscripts which Grimshaw had prepared for publication. Baker used these for his doctoral thesis on Grimshaw, published in 1963, two hundred years after the preacher's death. Sometimes preaching up to thirty times a week in towns and villages throughout Yorkshire and beyond, William Grimshaw had little time and perhaps available finance to see his work through the press. On his death at the age of fifty-four, his manuscripts were retained in the family and eventually sold to an earlier Methodist historian, Luke Tyerman. Tyerman arranged for them to be stored in the Methodist archives and a full century would pass before these pithy and wise comments would be rediscovered. Then, surprisingly, they appeared to be lost once more. Anxious to obtain them for my forthcoming biography on William Grimshaw in 1996, I made urgent enquiries regarding them. Eventually they were discovered among unclassified material at the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, passed there from the Hartley Victoria College.
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