Sunday 1 November 2009

The History of Nonconformity In Warminster

Rev Henry Mayo Gunn

Henry Mayo Gunn was born on 25 March 1817, at Chard, Somerset, where his father, John Gunn, was the Congregational Minister from 1815 to his death in 1836. Henry was educated at Mill Hill School (1832-1834), the University Of London and Coward College (1834-1839). He was the Assistant Minister at Basingstoke (1842-1845), and Minister at Alton, also in Hampshire (1845 to January 1848). It was in January 1848 that he accepted the "unanimous invitation" to be the Congregational Minister at Warminster - a position he held until the end of September 1870. Henry Mayo Gunn went on to be the Congregational Minister at Sevenoaks, Kent (from 1873 to 4 July 1880), where he was twice the Chairman of the Board of Sevenoaks School. He died at 14 Eaton Rise, Ealing, London, on 31 May 1886. His body was laid to rest at Hanwell Cemetery.

Gunn had served as Chairman of the Wilts and East Somerset Congregational Union for many years. He wrote many hymns - one of these, Our Fathers Were High-Minded Men, became known as the "Nonconformist National Anthem." Gunn was also the author a small number of books including The History Of Nonconformity In Warminster, which was written in 1853, when he was in his fifth year as Congregational Minister at Warminster. This book, as readers will discover, contains a great deal of information with regard the events, both locally and nationally, which shaped the shared destiny of those who chose not to worship in the established church but persevered for what they believed in, during what must have been troublesome times. Of compiling the details, the Reverend Gunn said "They have occupied much time and trouble," but he believed "they are worth preserving, and will prove encouraging and useful."

The Warminster And Wylye Valley Society For Local Study (WWV-SLS), who have instigated this new edition, acknowledge that Henry Mayo Gunn's details are indeed worth preserving, and to ensure a continuance of the information proving useful, the WWV-SLS instructed Bedeguar Books to publish again the History Of Nonconformity In Warminster for a new readership. To add to the usefulness, an index, which was sadly lacking from the original, has been appended. The text, however, is exactly as Gunn wrote it, complete with its archaic spelling and retaining its Victorian style.

The History Of Nonconformity In Warminster.
Rev. Henry Mayo Gunn.
Soft cover, 210 mm x 297 mm, 100 pages.
Published by Bedeguar Books.
November 2009.
ISBN (13): 9781872818375
ISBN (10): 1872818374