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Benjamin Ingham

1712 - 1772

Benjamin Ingham (11 June 1712 [O.S.] – 1772), was born and raised in the Yorkshire and Humber region of England. He earned his B.A. degree from Oxford, and was ordained at age 23. Methodist connections from Oxford led to a colonial mission in America where he developed a keen interest in the Moravian church from fellow German missionaries. Following a 1738 visit to Germany for greater exposure to the Moravian faith, Ingham returned to preaching in Yorkshire for the next four years. During this time he built up a following of more societies than he could manage. Ingham relinquished control of his societies to the Moravian Brethren in 1742. Ingham’s Moravian transformation occurred the year following his marriage to Lady Margaret Hastings. The Moravians, or Unitas Fratrum, were recognized by the British Crown in 1749 thereby creating the Moravian Church in England. While Ingham’s bond with his Brethren strengthened, it was a relationship that was to evolve. By the early 1750s Ingham found his views differing from the Oxford Methodists. When the viewpoints of the Moravian elders clashed with those representing the Church of England, Ingham used this 1753 scandal to distance himself from his Brethren and reestablish his own Inghamite societies. Still insecure as an independent church, Ingham turned to Sandemanianism during the final years of his life as a viable option forward for his followers. While he shared many Sandemanian views he chose independence instead. The majority of his societies splintered and joined with other denominations which included Methodists, Sandemanians and Congregationalists. He died at Aberford in 1772, four years after his wife.