Rowland Hill, an English clergyman, born at Hawkestone, near Shrewsbury, Aug. 12, 1744, died April 11, 1833. He was educated at Eton and Cambridge. He early showed a predilection for the Methodists, and while at Cambridge used to preach in the prisons and private houses. The influence of his family, however, prevented him from joining them, and he took orders in the church of England. Whitefield's reputation was then at its height, and during his absence from his chapel Hill frequently filled his place. When Whitefield died, the Methodists looked to Hill as his successor, but he declined their offers. For 12 years he preached in Wiltshire, Somersetshire, and Gloucestershire. In 1782 he laid the first stone of Surrey chapel, Blackfriars road, London, and for 50 years he was the chief preacher there in the winter, spending the summers in provincial excursions, travelling over most of England and Wales, and visiting Scotland and Ireland. He always preached without notes, and his sermons were in a colloquial, familiar strain, abounding in anecdotes, and sometimes even in jokes and puns.
His most celebrated work is his "Village Dialogues," first published in 1801; the 34th edition, with additions and corrections, was published in 1824 (new ed., 1854). His memoirs were written by the Rev. Edward Sydney (London, 1844), and by the Rev. W. Jones (1845).
Rowland Hill, viscount, a British general, nephew of the preceding, born in Prees, Shropshire, Aug. 11, 1772, died at Hardwicke Grange, near Shrewsbury, Dec. 10, 1842. He entered the army at the age of 18, served at the siege of Toulon as aide-de-camp to three successive generals, in Egypt in command of the 90th regiment, and in the expedition to the Weser, and in 1808 arrived in Spain with the rank of major general. He participated in the memorable advance and retreat of Sir John Moore, and rendered important services in covering the embarkation of the British army at Corunna (1809). In the subsequent campaigns in the peninsula he distinguished himself particularly at Talavera, Arroyo de Molinos, and Almaraz. His services were rewarded by the thanks of parliament, and his elevation to the peerage in 1814 as Baron Hill of Almaraz and of Hawkestone. He closed a brilliant military career at Waterloo, where he commanded a division of the allied army. In 1828 he was appointed commander-in-chief of the British army, a post he occupied till 1842, when, upon resigning office, he was created a viscount. He possessed almost every quality of a great commander, and was called the "right arm of Wellington," who bore frequent testimony to his strategic skill and high military capacity.
His personal qualities rendered him perhaps the most popular soldier of his time in the British service.