Friday, February 09, 2018

Frederick William Pitt: short bio

Nearly four years ago I posted F. W. Pitt’s hymn The Rock. I found that there was not much biographical information available on Pitt. Recently I resorted to to see what I could find there. Unfortunately, English records come at an extra charge – and the genealogical information freely available was somewhat confused and contradictory. Below is what I feel is accurate.

Frederick William Pitt was a British pastor. He was born in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England in 1859 to Thomas Pitt and Mary Tutcher. He married Alice Mary Heels/Hills/Willis, and after her death married Florence James. He passed away in 1943 in London.

Frederick William Pitt was a prolific writer, of both doctrine/theology/polemics and poetry. About a dozen titles show up on (under Frederick William and F. W.), and the University of Manchester Library online has 11 different titles. Combined, this produces a list of 17 distinct titles (some of which went through several editions). They are:
  • Coming Events Cast their Shadows in the Air
  • Date Fixing Fallacies
  • Faith Healing Tragedies
  • Morning Meditations: Selections compiled from the Word of God and Thirty-one Poems composed by F.W. Pitt
  • New Light on the Tongues Baptism
  • New Light on the Virgin Birth of our Lord Jesus Christ
  • Second Coming Truth Simplified: a Manual for Beginners
  • The Found Ten Tribes: a Proof that British Israelism is Impossible
  • The Human Touch; Poems
  • The Lure of Spiritualism
  • The Prophecies of Daniel Simplified
  • The Romance of Women Hymn Writers
  • The Son Question
  • They Took up Stones to Stone Him
  • Twelve Original Poems, with Appropriate Scripture Texts
  • Windows on the World: a Record of the Life of A. H. Burton, with Selections from His Writings
  • Wonder-working Prayer
The title page of the 1938 biography of Alfred Henry Burton identifies Pitt as the “Hon. Sec.” (Honorary Secretary) of the West London Bible Institute. In the “Foreword” of The Romance of Women Hymn Writers, William L. Pettingill says that Pitt was “one of the chief leaders in the Advent Testimony and Preparation Movement[i] in England, and was for many years editor of its official organ, ‘The Advent Witness’.”[ii]

From old newspapers I was able to find that Pitt pastored the following Congregational churches: Forest Hill at London, Goring Church near Reading;[iii] Teignmouth;[iv] and Horbury Church at Bayswater.[v]

I found online two articles available from the Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute, Vols. 60 - 79 (1928 - 1947).
“Christ and the Scriptures. The Old Testament: the Implications” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute 62 (1930): 38-62
“The Times of the Gentiles” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute 68 (1936): 11-43

[i] Established in 1917 by Frederick Brotherton Meyer (1847-1929) and others (perhaps including Pitt), it is today known as the Prophetic Witness Movement International.
[ii] Now called the Prophetic Witness.
[iii] The Manchester Guardian, Friday, April 4, 1902, p. 9
[iv] The (London) Times, Thursday, August 29, 1907, p. 9
[v] The (London) Times, Thursday, April 20, 1911, p. 5


ACorduan said...

I am most appreciative of your efforts. I am also trying to find any information on F. W. Pitt. He is apparently the author of the hymn “Lord, in Thy Form and Comeliness” which is part of the “New Believers Hymn Book” as published by John Ritchie. I am involved in preparing short bios on the authors. I would like permission to use your findings as part of that, please let me know if there are any constraints. Thank you.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Yes, feel free to use any of it that you find helpful. God bless.