Richard Johnson — the background
John Thornton had invited Newton to accompany him to Lymington and the Isle of Wight. A stranger, Charles Etty, invited Newton to stay at his home near Lymington en route.
In December 1783, Richard Johnson had been licenced as curate to St John’s, Boldre, a village in the New Forest only 3 miles from Etty’s home.
It is conceivable that Newton and Johnson may have met there in the late summer of 1784. Certainly they subsequently knew the same group of friends in the Lymington area.
And it was only a few months later, on 25 March 1785, that Newton reported to William Bull:
“Yesterday I put Mr. Johnson in my pulpit,
(who I think gives us an earnest of a judicious good preacher).’…”
– Marylynn Rouse at The John Newton Project has been researching how John Newton came to know Richard Johnson and came to recommend him to be Chaplain on the First Fleet.
It’s a fascinating work-in-progress with more to come – read it here.
Related: St John’s Boldre is having “Australia Day Matins” on Sunday 1st February.
Photo courtesy Google Maps.