William Gadsby of Manchester, was born at Attle-borough, Warwickshire, January 3, 1773.
When about twenty years of age he was baptized and united with the church at Coventry, under the care of Mr. Butterworth. He received his dismission from this church in 1796, and joined a few people that met him in a barn at Hinkley.
His first sermon was preached on Whit-Sunday, at Desford, Leicestershire. While pastor of the church at Manchester, Mr. Gadsby travelled over 60,000 miles, and preached nearly 12,000 sermons. He was singularly consistent with his profession; kindness and friendship were conspicuous in his whole life.
Benevolent and hospitable, he was constantly engaged in acts of mercy, and in dealing out bread to the hungry. He even organized soup kitchens during times of great hunger.
He was pre-eminently a good man, and was made a blessing to thousands. He was called home January 27, 1844, in the 71st year of his age.
Amongst his last words were, “I shall soon be with him”, shouting, “Victory, Victory, Victory (then raising his hand), for ever.”
Between twenty and thirty thousand people attended his funeral.
“I hear at morn and e’en,
At noon and midnight hour,
The choral harmonies of heaven,
Earth’s Babel tongues o’erpower.
That resurrection word,
That shout of VICTORY
Once more: For ever with the Lord
Amen, so let it be.”
A most interesting Memoir giving fuller details of William Gadsby’s life and ministry by Mr B.A. Ramsbottom in his book titled “William Gadsby” can be obtained from Gospel Standard Trust Publications. This book is almost certain to become the standard work on the life of William Gadsby. Written over a period of 20-30 years, the life and character of this extraordinary man of God is now presented to the Christian reader in this most interesting biography.