William Huntington (1745-1813), Coalheaver and eccentric preacher
Sitter in 4 portraits
Huntington, the son of an agricultural labourer, worked in a variety of jobs including hearse driver and gardener. In 1773, he experienced a vision in which Christ appeared to him and assured him he was 'brought under the covenant love of God's elect'. He began preaching, although his views were controversial. He combined preaching with coalheaving and other casual work such as cobbling. Huntington had another vision in 1782, telling him to 'prophesy upon the thick boughs'. He moved to London and raised the capital to build Providence Chapel in Titchfield Street. His ministry flourished: his preaching attracted many rich, fashionable members of society and he officiated for more than a quarter of a century.