William Haslam – 1818-1905
William Haslam has the unique testimony of being converted in the midst of one of his own sermons! Haslam, born in 1817, began his ministry after graduating from Durham University in 1841, in the diocese of Exeter. After a brief curacy he became vicar at Baldhu church where the congregation was predominantly revivalist Methodist. The retelling of their conversion experiences drove him to seek counsel from a nearby vicar by the name of Robert Aitken, who persuaded him of the absolute necessity of conversion.
It was on his return to his home church that he preached a sermon on the subject of conversion during which he obtained an assurance of salvation himself! The immediate results were so evident that a Methodist local preacher in the congregation shouted out, ‘The Parson is converted!’ This was in 1851.
Then, for about three years a great revival work broke out in his church. There was a profound sense of the presence of God in the meetings and the more intense it became the more manifest results we experienced. There were conversions of sinners and the restoration of backsliders every week and, often, every day. Sometimes, several people would cry out during the sermons, so much so that the preacher could no longer be heard. Loud praying and praise were common and many had supernatural dreams and visions.
Thereafter Haslam adopted the Methodist revivalistic approach and saw local revivals in several of his Cornish parishes over the next few years.