John Newton (creator of Amazing Grace)

At our Wednesday Holy Communion Service this morning we remembered John Newton, creator of Amazing Grace, who was ordained here in St Mary’s on this day (17th June) 1764 by the Bishop of Lincoln .

John Newton was born in 1725, and spent his early career in the shipping industry, heavily involved in the slave trade. His conversion to Christianity was gradual, and it wasn’t until he was able to leave the slave trade that he felt he had truly embraced the Christian faith, around the time that he began to think about his vocation to ordained ministry. Newton first experienced this sense of vocation in 1758, and penned a personal and moving set of reflections during the summer of that year, in preparation for this new phase of his life. He was eventually ordained as deacon and then as priest here in Buckden on 17th June 1764.

Newton is well known for the way that in later life he repented of his own involvement with slavery and became active and vocal in the abolition movement. He wrote a number of inspiring hymns, of which ‘Amazing Grace’ is the most famous and well loved.

For more information about John Newton please visit

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