Perronet, Edward


b Sundridge, nr Westerham Kent 1726, d Canterbury, Kent 1792. The grandson of David Perronet, the first of a French Huguenot family to settle in England in 1680, and son of Vincent, the long-serving vicar of Shoreham, Kent, and a doughty supporter of Whitefield and the Wesleys during the 18th-c evangelical revival. Edward was educated at home and possibly at Oxford Univ; by 1746 he and his brother Charles were also preaching in the same gospel cause. But after the publication of his 1757 satirical poem The Mitre, which attacked both abuses and leaders in church and state, he separated from the Wesleys, from the Countess of Huntingdon and from the CofE. A note added to his published verses read, ‘I was born, and am like to die, in the tottering communion of the Church of England; but I despise her nonsense…’ This was too much for John Wesley who demanded the poem’s suppression. Though (like other fellow-workers) he appears with both praise and blame in JW’s published Journals, he also differed from him at that time over who should be recognised as proper ministers of the sacraments. He then pastored an independent congregation at Canterbury until his death, and published 3 anonymous vols of sacred verse which included his hymns, beginning with A Small Collection of Hymns in 1782. His volatile personality may have contributed to the personal differences, but he was buried, ironically, within the cloisters of Canterbury Cathedral. Alexander Grosart in Julian says ‘He always sings as well as prays’. Since his father Vincent lived to 1785, Shoreham vicarage remained ‘home’ for most of Edward’s life; it was also the nearest place to a family home that the mature John Wesley knew, and where he was always welcome. Edward’s sister Damaris (c1730–82) spent her whole life there, becoming a tireless Bible teacher and evangelist among local women, children and families and a Maidstone prison visitor, greatly valued by Wesley; like her father but unlike her brothers, she remained within the CofE and its parish structures. No.281*.

Hymns and songs by Perronet, Edward

Number Hymn Name
281 All hail the power of Jesus’ name