John Rippon

29 April 1751–17 December 1836


John Rippon, portrait by Robert Dunkarton, 1775, National Galleries Scotland.

We have to announce the death of the Rev. Dr. Rippon, which took place on Saturday, Dec. 17th, in the 86th year of his age. This venerable minister was pastor of the Baptist church formerly worshipping in Carter Lane, Tooley Street, Southwark, from which place they were removed in consequence of the building of the new London Bridge, and subsequently assembled in New Park Street.

In his pastoral office he laboured with great success for a number of years, perhaps without any precedent. He accepted this charge on the 1st of August, 1774, which office he filled for upwards of 63 years. It is worthy of remark that Dr. Rippon succeeded the venerable and learned Dr. John Gill, who was pastor of the same church for the period of 54 years, by which it appears that the pastoral office of this church was filled by these two eminent servants of God for the period of 117 years.

The internment took place in Bunhill Fields burying ground on the following Saturday, about three o’clock, Rev. Dr. Cox addressed the assembled mourners from the pulpit of the late pastor; the Rev. C. Room spoke over his grave; and on the Sabbath morning, the Rev. Dr. Collyer preached the funeral sermon at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark, from Heb. ix. 27,28.

Baptist Magazine (January 1837)

Dr. John Rippon was a native of Tiverton, in Devonshire, England, and was born, April 29, 1751. At an early age, he became a devout Christian, and connected himself with the Baptist Church of his native place. He determined to enter the ministry of the Gospel; and obtained a suitable prepa­ration for the work at the Baptist Academy in Bristol, under the instructions of the Rev. Hugh Evans, and his son, the Rev. Caleb Evans. At the close of his preparatory course (1772), he was invited to supply the pulpit of the Particular Baptist Church, Carter Lane, Tooley Street, Lon­don, made vacant by the decease, October 14, 1771, of their eminent and venerable pastor, the Rev. Dr. John Gill. Having preached about a year on trial, he was ordained the pastor of the church, November 11, 1773. Devoting himself to the work of his pastorate, he seldom came be­fore the public through the press. His first publication of importance was A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors, Including a Great Number of Originals, Intended as an Appendix to Dr. Watts’ Psalms and Hymns (Lon­don: 1787). In 1800, he published a “tenth, and en­larged edition,” containing sixty hymns, in addition to the 588 of the original edition. The 27th edition (1827) was also very considerably enlarged, 200,000 copies having, at that time, been put into circulation in Great Britain. The second American edition was issued in 1813, followed sub­sequently by a large number of editions.

Dr. Rippon was a great admirer of Dr. Watts’ Psalms and Hymns, and took unwearied pains to secure—by a care­ful collation of all the editions of them to the close of the eighteenth century, and especially of “the Doctor’s own Editions”—an accurate edition, free from blunders and er­rors. As the result, he published, in 1801, An Arrange­ment of the Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs of the Rev. Isaac Watts, D.D., disposed according to subjects, and numbering 718 Psalms and Hymns. It is prob­ably the most accurate edition of Dr. Watts’ book ever published. The Preface to the Arrangement is a valu­able document. This was followed in 1810 by An Index of all the Lines in Watts’ Hymns and Psalms, a collected edition, probably, of Dr. Guy’s Complete Index to Dr. Watts’ Hymns (1773), and Complete Index to Dr. Watts’ Psalms (1774). He edited, in 1816, a new edition, in 9 vols. quarto, of Dr. John Gill’s Exposition of the Old and New Testa­ments, with a Memoir prefixed, which was published also separately, in 1838. He published at various times during his long ministry, a considerable number of Sermons, Dis­courses, Addresses, etc. He also edited the Baptist An­nual Register from 1790 to 1802. A volume of Divine Aspirations, also came from his pen.

Dr. Rippon finished his long and useful life, December 17, 1836, in the eighty-sixth year of his age, and the sixty­-fourth of his ministry. His remains were deposited in Bunhill Fields Cemetery. The two pastorates of Drs. Gill and Rippon covered a period of one hundred and seven­teen years.

by Edwin Hatfield
The Poets of the Church (1884)

Collections of Hymns:

A Selection of Hymns from the Best Authors (London)

1st ed. (1787): PDF
2nd ed. (ca. 1790): PDF
3rd ed. (ca. 1791): PDF
4th ed. (ca. 1792): PDF
5th ed.: PDF
New ed.: PDF |
10th ed. (1800): PDF | Addenda: PDF
15th ed.: PDF
16th ed.: PDF
27th ed. (ca. 1827): PDF
30th ed. (ca. 1832): PDF
Comprehensive Ed. (1844): PDF (1847)

A Selection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes, ed. Thomas Walker (London)

1st ed. (1792): PDF

An Arrangement of the Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs of the Rev. Isaac Watts, D.D. (1801): PDF

Baptist Annual Register (1790-1802)

Life and Works:

The Services at the Funeral of the Rev. John Rippon: Death, Judgment, and Salvation (pamphlet, 1836).

“Recent Deaths: Mrs. Sarah Rippon,” Baptist Magazine, vol. 23 (April 1831), p. 154.

“Recent Deaths: Dr. Rippon,” Baptist Magazine, vol. 29 (January 1837), p. 35.

Edwin Hatfield, “John Rippon,” The Poets of the Church (NY, 1884), pp. 508-510: HathiTrust

W. R. Stevenson, “John Rippon,” John Julian, ed. A Dictionary of Hymnology (London: 1892), pp. 963-964.

R.D. Roberts, John Rippon's Selection of Hymns and its Contribution to Baptist Hymnody, Master of Church Music thesis (Ft. Worth, TX: Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1972).

Ken R. Manley, Redeeming Love Proclaim: John Rippon and the Baptists (Wayneboro, GA: Paternoster, 2004): Amazon

Ken R. Manley, “John Rippon and Baptist Hymnody,” Dissenting Praise: Religious Dissent and the Hymn in England and Wales, Isabel Rivers and David L. Wykes eds. (Oxford: University Press, 2011), pp. 95-123: Amazon

See Also:

David Music and Paul Richardson, I Will Sing the Wondrous Story: A History of Baptist Hymnody in North America (Macon, GA: Mercer, 2008): Amazon

Find it on Amazon:


Related Links:

John Rippon,

Ken R. Manley & Nicholas Temperley, “John Rippon,” Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology:

Ken R. Manley, “John Rippon,” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: