William Enfield

William Enfield (1741-97), like many of the Unitarian ministers in the 1790s, was raised an Independent and attended Daventry Academy during the tenure of Caleb Ashworth. In 1763 he began his ministry at Benn’s Garden Chapel, Liverpool. In 1770 he removed to the Cairo Street Chapel in Warrington, serving at the same time as a tutor at the Warrington Academy. After the closing of the academy in 1783, Enfield remained for two years before removing to the prestigious Dissenting congregation in Norwich meeting in the Octagon Chapel, where he remained until his death in 1797. Enfield was an advocate for political and religious reform, but was never as vocal a proponent as some of the more controversial Unitarians like Joseph Priestley. Among his writings are An Essay toward the History of Liverpool (1774), Institutes of Natural Philosophy, Theoretical and Experimental (1783), The Speaker (1774), Exercises in Elocution (1780), and numerous periodical essays, many of which appeared in the Monthly Magazine, the same place in which many of Hays’s periodical pieces appeared as well between 1796 and 1801. From his days in Warrington, he grew especially close to the physician John Aikin (a correspondent of Hays) and his sister, the poet, writer, and educator, Anna Letitia Aikin Barbauld.