William Darney


William Darney – aka Scotch Will – was a Scottish clogger and pedlar of drapery. He was converted in 1742 by the Scottish Revival and became an itinerant preacher in 1741, and was popular in the Upper Calder Valley.

He taught people to read in return for a night's shelter.

He founded a congregation at Heptonstall in 1742.

He invited John Wesley to the district in 1747.

He wrote over 200 hymns. This – together with his heretical leanings, his idiosyncratic preaching style, and his erratic behaviour – annoyed Charles Wesley, and he would have been removed by Wesley if he had not been supported by William Grimshaw.

He wrote and sold his poetry. He wrote The spread of the Gospel in various parts of 104 verses.

His literary style is illustrated by a verse of one of his hymns which reads:

In Heptonstall the parish through
the Gospel still doth spread;
And here and there are a few
who on the Saviour fed.

Near Todmorden our blessed Lord
a church hath planted there;
The pillars stand firm in his word,
his goodness they declare
or another:

Sometimes there's mist and foggs that rise
Before me in this wilderness
Till these blow off, I cannot see
O Lord, by God, to follow thee
Of Bradford, he wrote:

On Bradford likewise look Thou down,
Where Satan keeps his seat:
Come, by Thy Power: Lord! him dethrone,
For Thou art very great
His followers formed Darney Societies

© Malcolm Bull 2022
Revised 16:21 / 5th November 2022 / 3672

Page Ref: MMD8

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