William Shepherd was born in Liverpool on 11 October 1768 and died in nearby Gateacre on 21 July 1847. Educated in dissenting circles, he went on to Daventry Academy (1785–8) and New College, Hackney (1788–90); he was thus at Hackney, a hotbed of radicalism, at the outbreak of the French Revolution. He learnt philosophy at the hands of Thomas Belsham. In 1790 he became tutor to the family of a wealthy Liverpool dissenter, the Revd John Yates, who introduced him to William Roscoe, James Currie and the dissenting intelligentsia. In 1791 Shepherd was ordained as minister of Gateacre Chapel, where he remained for fifty-six years. With his wife, Frances Nicholson, he ran a successful boys' school in the manse, and just before his death he helped lay the plans for the Woolton Mechanics' Institution.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.