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Rev. John Hyatt
Born January 12, 1767
Sherborne, Dorset, England
Died January 30, 1826
Hackney, Middlesex, England
Nationality English
Education Self-Schooling and Apprentice Carpenter
Religion Christian (Methodist) & Calvinist
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Westcombe
Parents John Hyatt (Innkeeper) & Elizabeth

John Hyatt (January 12, 1767 – January 30, 1826) was an Englishman of simple rural upbringing who found Wesleyan theology as a young man. He went on to become a much loved and revered driving force of early Methodism in London, becoming influential in the First Great Awakening. He was to be found preaching regularly in the East End slums of Hackney in London. He gained a large following and was always in demand for his sermons, which were greatly infuenced by those of John Wesley and George Whitefield.



John Hyatt was born on 12 January 1767 in Sherborne, Dorset, England to John Guppy Hyatt and Elizabeth Hyatt. He was baptised on 24 January 1767, in Sherborne, Dorset, England. John died on 30 January 1826, aged 59, in Hackney, London, and was buried in Bunhill Fields, London. John married at the age of 20 years and his wife, Elizabeth Westcombe, was born in 1765 in Kingston, Somerset, England to William Westcombe and Eleanor Varder. She was baptised on 8 February 1765, in Kingston St Mary, Somerset. She died in 1832, aged about 67, and was also buried in Bunhill Fields Cemetery with her husband.

Elizabeth Westcombe was a niece of the Rev. Daniel Varder, a Dissenting Minister, who arrived in sherborne around 1757. Some time after this, his niece Elizabeth Westcombe joined him. Daniel Varder was ordained a Minister on 6th Oct 1757 in Sherborne, Dorset.

Of John Hyatt's parents, little is known other than that his Father was abandoned as a young man when his own Father left for the East Indies from Sherborne. There is no trace of his demise.

It is said of John's father "that having no friends possessed of considerable means, was taken in and trained up amidst scenes of obscurity and dependance. When but very young, he entered upon the married life, after which he commenced business in a small public house in his native town, where, by the aid of divine providence, and a prudent and excellent wife, he brought up a numerous family in decency and comfort" [1]. One of his children was to become The Rev. John Hyatt.


John Hyatt was said to be a young man of ill repute, brought up in the Crosskeys inn, Sherborne, Dorset (still existing today). At 14 he was an apprentice Cabinet maker. At 18 he took charge of the cabinet makers upon the death of the owner, but he was not really interested. He was more interested in spending his time at the family Inn, drinking and getting into bad company. He soon became "ungodly" and took to "sinful pleasures" [2] In his late teens he met Elizabeth Westcombe. Her father had an extensive library and John soon began to educate himself there in order to be close to Elizabeth. John married Elizabeth in 1787.

In 1794 he became friendly with the Rev J. Weston, a visiting Wesleyan preacher. This lead to john preaching his first sermon at Compton, near Sherborne. Over the next two years he visited chapels nearby to preach and gained a good following, including in Mere, Wiltshire, where he built a chapel [3]

John Hyatt was ordained on 17 July 1798[4]. He then moved to Frome, Somerset, c1800. In 1805 his peers in the church sent him (not entirely at his own wish) to London, to Whitefield's Tabernacle, Tottenham Court Road [5] where he became Minister of the London Tabernacle for the next 20 years or so until his death, becoming a celebrated man. During his life in London he lived at 61 Great Russell st. Bloomsbury Square.

Quote: "It is the fashion in the present day to talk of man's enlightenment, and to represent human nature as upheaving under its load, as straining towards a knowledge of truth; such is not in reality the case, and whenever there is an effort in the mind untaught of the Spirit, it is directed towards God as the great moral and not as the great spiritual Being. A man untaught of the Holy Ghost may long to know a moral, he can never desire to know a spiritual Being." [6]


Listed in the Surman Index[7] is a short history of his career.

1790-1796 Compton Dorset and Intinerant

1796-n.d. Mere Wiltshire (Pastor)

1798-1800 Mere Wiltshire

1800-1805 Frome Somerset

1805-1826 Tabernacle, London Middlesex (Co-Pastor)


  1. ^ Quoted from family correspondance, researched by Paul F. Cranefield for his book 'Born Wanderer: The Life of Stanley Portal Hyatt' ISBN 0-87993-601-0
  2. ^ John Hyatt, The Dictionary of National Biography v.28, pp365-6 By J. Morison, London, 1828 s:Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 28.djvu/371
  3. ^ John Hyatt, 'Sermons on various subjects', edited by Charles Hyatt, 1829, to which is prefixed a memoir to John Hyatt.
  4. ^ "The Surman Index Online", Dr Williams's Centre for Dissenting Studies,
  5. ^ A Discourse delivered at Ebenezer Chapel, Shadwell, February 19th 1826, on the occasion of the death of the Reverand John Hyatt, containing a full account of his early life.
  6. ^ John Hyatt, 'Sermons on various subjects', edited by Charles Hyatt, 1829.
  7. ^ "The Surman Index Online", Dr Williams's Centre for Dissenting Studies,

Will of Reverend John Hyatt, Resident Minister of the Tabernacle and Tottenham Court Chapel of Tottenham Court , Middlesex 7 April 1826 PROB 11/1711 The National Archives



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