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William Jones Edit Profile

also known as William Jones of Nayland

clergyman , author

William Jones, known as William Jones of Nayland, was a British clergyman and author.


He was born at Lowick, Northamptonshire, United Kingdom on 30 July 1726, but was descended from an old Welsh family. One of his ancestors was Colonel John Jones, brother-in-law of Oliver Cromwell.


He was educated at Charterhouse School and University College, Oxford. There a taste for music, as well as a similarity of character, led to his close intimacy with George Horne, later bishop of Norwich, whom he induced to study Hutchinsonian doctrines, obtaining his bachelor's degree at University College, Oxford in 1749.


Jones held various preferments (Vicar of Bethersden, Kent (1764); Rector of Pluckley, Kent (1765).

In 1756 Jones published his tract The Catholic Doctrine of a Trinity, a statement of the doctrine from the Hutchinsonian point of view, with a summary of biblical proofs. This was followed in 1762 by an Essay on the First Principles of Natural Philosophy, in which he maintained the theories of Hutchinson in opposition to those of Isaac Newton, and in 1781 he dealt with the same subject in Physiological Disquisitions.

In 1777 he obtained the perpetual curacy of Nayland, Suffolk, and on Horne's appointment to Norwich became his chaplain, afterwards writing his life. His vicarage became the centre of a High Church coterie, and Jones himself was a link between the non-jurors and the Oxford Movement. He could write intelligibly on abstruse topics.

Jones's "A Full Answer to the Essay on Spirit" (London 1753), co-authored with George Horne, responded to Robert Clayton's Arian work of three years earlier and sharpened the trinitarian controversy according to Jones himself. His collected works, with a life by William Stevens, appeared in 1801, in 12 vols. , and were condensed into 6 vols in 1810. A life of Jones, forming pt. 5 of the Biography of English Divines, was published in 1849.


  • Jones was the originator of the British Critic (May 1793).