You are here: Home Members
Document Actions

Pentecostals and Charismatics in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

The new edition of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography—published on Thursday 27 September 2012—includes the lives of 60 men and women who shaped the Christian churches in 20th-century Britain: bishops and parish priests, revivalists and spiritualists, missionaries and church founders.

Among the 60 church figures now added to the Oxford DNB are:


  • Alexander Alfred Boddy (1854-1930), the energetic incumbent of All Saints’ Monkwearmouth, Sunderland who, inspired by Welsh revival (1904), led Pentecostal conventions at Sunderland in the years before First World War.

  • Arthur Douglas Brown (1874-1940), Baptist minister at Balham, South London, and son of A. G. Brown, who led a revival at Lowestoft in 1921, though he was concerned less with conversion than renewal among existing church members.

  • Evangelist John [Jock] Troup (1896-1954), ‘a rough Gospel-preacher’, who led missions to fishing communities on north-east coast of Scotland in the same period.

  • George Jeffreys (1889-1962) experienced ‘new birth’ during Welsh revival of 1904, and went on to found the Elim Pentecostal Alliance, which enjoyed extraordinary growth in the fifteen years after the end of the First World War.

  • David Christopher Knight Watson (1933-1984), who developed forms of worship in his York parish which made it a symbol of charismatic practice in the Church of England in the late 1970s.

  • Constance Penswick-Smith (1878-1938), the clergyman’s daughter who campaigned from the 1910s for the revival of Mothering Sunday in the church calendar.

  • Presbyterian minister Arthur Gray (1868-1956) and Methodist minister David Mace (1907-1990) whose theological writings on love and sex within marriage led to the creation of the Marriage Guidance Council.

  • Mabel Barltrop (1866-1934), a vicar’s widow who formed the Panacea Society (in Bedford), appointed 12 female apostles, and declared herself the ‘daughter of God’.

  • Methodist minister William Henry Lax (1868-1937) whose mission in London’s East End became famous worldwide, through his open-air preaching, and innovations such as street parties which he organized for children to celebrate the end of the First World War.

  • Former missionary and poet Minnie Louise Haskins (1875-1957) whose lines, ‘I said to the man at the gate of the year’ were read by George VI in his Christmas radio broadcast in 1939.

  • Derrick Sherwin Bailey (1910-1984) who initiated the modern debate on homosexuality in the Church of England, and whose work on sexual ethics resulted in homosexual law reform in 1967. Plus, Peter Elers (1930-1986), vicar of Thaxted, Essex, who came out as gay in a BBC TV documentary, and became a founder of the Gay Christian Movement.

  • Reckoned the most likely leader of a devolved Scottish government in the late 1970s, Church of Scotland minister Geoff Shaw (1927-1978), an evangelist in the Gorbals, Glasgow.


The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is the national record of men and women who have shaped all walks of British life from the Romans to the 21st century. The dictionary is updated three times a year with new biographies. The next update will be published on 3 January 2013 and will include biographies of men and women who died in the year 2009



The Oxford DNB online is freely available in public libraries across the UK. Public libraries offer ‘remote access’, allowing library members to log-in and read the dictionary online—at home or anywhere—at any time. For further details see


Contributed by:

William K Kay

Bangor, UK
Bangor University
last modified 2012-09-28 19:01