Disney, John (1746 -1816)
The Reverend John Disney D.D., of the Hyde, in Essex, was the third son of John Disney, of Swinderby in Lincolnshire, and Frances, youngest daughter of George Cartwright, of Ossington in Nottinghamshire. Admitted to the Middle Temple 11 November 1762, he was intended for the bar, but his health broke down. He went to Peterhouse, Cambridge in 1764, was ordained after graduating in 1768, and took his LL.B. in 1770. Chaplain to Bishop Law of Carlisle, he was presented to the vicarage of Swinderby in Lincolnshire, which he held with the rectory of Panton in the same county. A convinced Unitarian, he joined the movement to petition Parliament to allow clergymen to refuse to subscribe to the thirty nine articles. When this was rejected, his friend Theophilus Lindsey resigned his benefices, but Disney did not immediately follow suit. He married, 17 November 1774, Jane, eldest daughter of the Reverend Francis Blacklock, Rector of Richmond in Yorkshire, and Archdeacon of Cleveland. In 1775 the University of Edinburgh made him a D.D., and in 1778 he became a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. In November 1782 he threw up all his benefices and offered his services as a colleague to Lindsey, and came to London with his family. In the following year he became Secretary to the Unitarian Society for Promoting the Knowledge of the Scriptures, and in 1793 he succeeded Lindsey as Minister of the Unitarian Chapel in Essex Street. In 1804 Thomas Brand Hollis died and left him his estates. In 1805 he resigned from the ministry and went to live on them. His library was sold by Sotheby's 22 April 1817, together with those of Thomas Hollis and Thomas Brand Hollis.