[taken from Chapter 2 Manx Worthies, A.W.Moore, 1901]

WILLIAM HENDRY STOWELL (b. 1800, d. 1857),

was the only son of William Stowell, a paper stainer in Douglas, and Ann Hendry. His father was a member of the Church of England, and a brother of the Rev. Hugh Stowell, Rector of Ballaugh (see p. 29). Chief among the teachers of WILLIAM HENDRY was his relative, the Rev Robert Brown (see p. 34). From him the young student gained those, severe canons of taste which he never afterwards neglected ; from him also he acquired a poetic tendency."1 In 1810, his father transferred his business to Liverpool. For a short time, WILLIAM HENDRY took part in it. But, in 1816, through the influence of the learned and eloquent Dr. Raffles, he was encouraged to prepare himself for the Congregational ministry. With this object he went to pursue his studies at a collegiate institution then just established under the Rev. Dr. Joseph Fletcher, at Blackburn. In 1820, though his college course did not terminate till the end of the year, he received an invitation from St. Andrew's Congregational Chapel, at North Shields, to become its pastor. He was ordained in the following February, and at once began his ministry there. He soon became remarkably popular. His earnestness, his natural eloquence, the freshness of his thought and style, all combined to place him in a position where he was looked up to by all parties and denominations as a singularly gifted preacher. It is said that, but for want of vocal power, he would have risen to the highest ranks as a pulpit orator. From first to last his career at St. Andrew's appears to have been characterised, by painstaking study and unflagging ardour in every department of his work. In 1827, he was nearly drowned. As a result of this, and his habit of constantly overworking himself, he was troubled with increasing weakness in the throat and chest. He, therefore, in 1834, asked to be transferred to a less severe climate, and this was accomplished by his acceptance of the posts of President of the Congregational Theological College at, Rotherham, and Pastor of the Church at Masboro'. His pastorate was most successful, he having added no less than 300 members to the Church. His work at the college, too, had great results . He so ruled and loved his students that they practically formed part of his family, and benefitted in the highest degree from his brilliant lectures and his vast erudition, especially in languages. " His great characteristic as a teacher depended upon the conscienciousness and extreme anxiety with which he ... endeavoured to stimulate, as well as to guide the thinking powers of his disciples."2 In 1848, he had a severe illness, which reduced his strength so much that he had serious thoughts of resigning his offices, and, though he struggled on for a time, it became necessary for him to take a less arduous post. In 1850, therefore, he, accepted the Presidency of the Countess of Huntingdon's College at Cheshunt. As regards his career there, one of his students writes: " Those who have looked into his writings, to become acquainted with his talents, and to gain an impression of his style, can form no adequate conception of that masculine intellect, that luxuriant fancy, that rare and glorious abandonment and that prompt and happy manner. To know him and appreciate him, one must have been with him in his moments of inspiration, to have caught the gems as he flung them about in profusion ; or when his great heart was weighed down with some deep sorrow or serious reflection."3 And again : Every one was struck with the singular beauty of his expressions, and the chasteness of his composition. . . . His exegetical skill was sometimes of a high order."3 He resigned his presidency in June, 1856, and, during the short remainder of his life, he resided for the most part in London, visiting his native island in the, autumn of 1857. Dr. Stowell's scholarship was accurate, extensive, and varied. He was a good classic and an able theologian). With general literature, especially in the departments of history and ethics, he was well acquainted. He wrote several books the first of which was on the Decalogue. The next, in 1849, was a treatise on the work of the Holy Spirit. It was immediately after the publication of this latter work that he received the degree of D.D. from the University of Glasgow. He published other books of less note, such as volumes of the Religious Tract Society, &c., and also wrote largely for the Press, being at one time editor of the "Eclectic Review," and he contributed articles to the "Biblical Review" and the "British Quarterly Review." (Abstract of a memoir by William Stowell, B.A., London, 1869.)

1 Life of W. H. Stowell, [A Memoir of the Life and Labours of the Rev William Hendry Stowell D.D. by William Stowell B.A. London: Judd and Glass 1859]
2 Life of W. H. Stowell, p. 202
3 Ibid, Pp. 271-2.

A brief mention of W. Stowell snr is in Cubbon Bibliography vol ii p1470 in which is mentioned the competing firms of Fell and Stowell both selling paper (for wall hangings) - Stowell originally importing from Dublin though possibly also using Island made paper; Stowell's premises were on North Quay.


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