The Life and Times of John Newton 1725–1807
1725 Newton is born in London to John & Elizabeth Newton.
1732 Elizabeth Newton dies.
1744 Newton is impressed on board H.M.S. Harwich.
1745 Newton attempts desertion and is whipped and degraded to rank of seaman.
1748 Near-shipwreck of Greyhound provokes spiritual crisis.
February 1750 Newton marries Mary Catlett, daughter of George & Elizabeth.
May 1754 Newton meets fellow believer, Captain Andrew Clunie.
November 1754 Epileptic seizure convinces Newton to leave the slave trade.
June 1755 Newton listens to George Whitefield preach in London.
August 1755 Newton begins his work as tide surveyor in Liverpool.
June 1764 Lord Dartmouth achieves ordination for Newton in the Church of England; Newton accepts curacy at Olney.
August 1764 Publication of Authentic Narrative makes public Newton’s life story.
1767 William Cowper arrives at Olney.
January 1773 Newton preaches on 1 Chronicles 17:16, 17, and writes Amazing Grace to accompany the sermon.
1774 Publication of “The Omicron Letters” offers some of Newton’s finest teachings on the spiritual life.
1779 Publication of Olney Hymns establishes Newton’s reputation as a hymn—writer.
December 1779 Church of England inducts Newton as rector of St. Mary Woolnoth, London.
1780 Publication of Cardiphonia makes Newton’s extensive correspondence available to the public.
January 1783 Newton calls the first meeting of the Eclectic Society.
December 1785 William Wilberforce visits Newton’s home.
1788 William Pitt calls Newton before the Privy Council on the subject of the slave trade.
December 1807 Newton dies in London.
1726 Jonathan Swift publishes Gulliver’s Travels.
May 1735 George Whitefield comes to a “full assurance of faith.”
May 1738 John Wesley feels his heart “strangely warmed.”
1742 George Frederick Handel composes Messiah.
1756–1763 France and England vie for American possessions during the Seven Years’ War.
1770 Captain James Cook explores Botany Bay on the shoreline of Australia.
1776–1783 American colonies revolt and form independent nation.
1782 Charles Simeon appointed as curate-in-charge of Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge.
1783 King George III appoints William Pitt as prime minister of Britain.
1787 Freed slaves found the British colony of Sierra Leone in West Africa.
1788 English convicts found British colony in Sydney, Australia.
1789 French mob storms the Bastille and begins a revolution.
1797 Prominent evangelicals found the Church Missionary Society.
1807 Britain abolishes the slave trade in her colonies.
1834 Parliament passes the Abolition of Slavery Act.
By the Editors
[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #81 in 2004]
The original Christian bumper sticker.Collin Hansen
Forging Britain’s Gospel Era
Newton joined those who laid the groundwork for British evangelicalism—from within the Established Church.Mark Smith
People Worth Knowing
No Little Women here.Chris Armstrong
The Captain & the Castaway
The tempest-tossed friendship of John Newton and William Cowper.Jennifer M. Trafton