Letter from Wilkins to Fox 1785

LITTLE RISINGTON, Dec. 29, 1785.
DEAR SIR-It is not my indifference or indolence that prevents my making a better report to you of the Sunday School scheme in this neighbourhood; there are few resident clergy, and few others to be found in the different parishes around us, I may say scarcely any who will patronize, encourage, countenance, or enforce the plan, there are few parishes that can furnish a person competent to the task of teaching, such is the state of the lowest class, and without compulsion they would have very few scholars who could and would teach. What can a single individual do in such a complication of obstacles " Sigh and pray he may and does, but that faith which shall remove mountains, who can find?
Your printed letter, &c., which I have circulated: among the most respectable clergy, &c., around this – neighbourhood, affords me a fresh and good opportunity to make an attempt at an humble imitation of your society. I shall try to bring them, if possible to make Stow the centre of a society which shall hold forth encouragement to all the neighbouring villages -: to promote religious knowledge, and a reformation of manners among them. No other scheme seems feasible to me for various ... reasons. Such a society, if respectable, would have influence, ability, and weight; parish officers, without = . whom nothing can be done for the purpose around us, would be influenced to exert themselves, the clergy and the gentry would feel themselves engaged to countenance in this case, and without some such plan there is languor, listlessness, &c., to say the least of it, which will defeat and murder the intention. 
Should the plan take place, you will probably hear of it, and till the issue of my attempts to accomplish it be known, I do not think it worth while to trouble your society with any application for assistance in any particular village, though I could well dispense it in this place where I live, under my own inspection if afforded. The circulation of your plans, &c., through the kingdom, is, I think, an excellent effect of your institution, in itself considered, and that especially as it holds forth to the whole world, a specimen of liberality of mind of the present race of church men and dissenters, and may be a means of disseminating and perpetuating this desirable and amiable spirit far and wide, to allow each other to think and judge for ourselves and to agree to act together, so far as practicable for the glory of God, and the good of mankind, is the spirit and glory of true Christianity, and I envy the happiness of that man who has realized a wish or a thought to promote it.
I must confess I have no clear ideas after all, of what your society will be willing to do for any particular place, or how they mean to do it, or whether assistance is to be asked upon a formed plan, or direction and assistance sought for together, if there be any such rule limiting the number of books to be given, &c., if they mean entirely or only partially to support a school in any given place, leaving the terms to the parties applying, &c., but I will not tease you with more of my impertinences, as I doubt not the mail coaches will be charged with them as plentifully as they are with hares and partridges at this season of the year.
With warmest respect, I remain, 
Dear sir, yours, 

William Fox original letter to Raikes

London, June 15, 1785.

SIR-The liberality and goodness of heart manifested in your benevolent plan of Sunday Schools, I trust, render unnecessary any apology though from a stranger, when it is considered that his only view in writing is that he may be enabled to copy after so worthy an example.
You must know, sir, long before your excellent letter appeared in the papers, I had a compassion, and entertained sentiments for the indigent and ignorant poor extremely similar to your own. This led me to set up a school in one of our villages, (Clapton, near Bourton-on-the-water,) but as it is a daily one, and therefore attended with far greater expense, and perhaps with less utility than yours, it will very much oblige me, and probably greatly promote the design I have in view, if you will please to favor me with a further account of your plan, if any alteration, and what particular advantages have resulted from it since the publication of your letter. I have been apprehensive, and shall be extremely glad to find myself mistaken, that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to teach children to read by their attendance on schools only one day in seven. This is very material for me to know; and if they can, it will also be as desirable to ascertain the average time it takes for such instruction, together with the age at which they are taken, the mode pursued by the teachers, and the expense attending the same. The reason I am thus particular is because a society is forming in town, to which I belong, for carrying a plan of this sort into general use. The design, I dare say, will appear to you laudable, but at the same time difficult. Its success depends on the concurrence and aid of well-disposed Christians throughout the kingdom. Great events, however, having frequently taken their rise from small, and, to human appearance, trifling beginnings. We wish to make a trial; and as the committee for drawing up a plan meet on the 23rd instant, I beg the favor of your reply prior to that time, that we may have the benefit of an experienced work, in order to assist in our deliberation. 
I remain, Sir, 
Yours, &c., 
~ W. Fox.

More on William Fox Part 3

The wholesale trade in which Mr Fox had engaged made it necessary for him to take frequent journeys through the several counties or shires of England, which afforded him frequent opportunities of witnessing the deplorable ignorance of the poorer classes. He often found hamlets and even villages where the poor were entirely without the Bible—and what made this destitution still worse, he discovered that when they were presented with a copy, not one in twenty could read it. This deplorable state of things gave him food for much serious reflection, and caused him to spend much time in devising means to remedy the evil. The friends with whom he consulted gave him little encouragement, because they thought nothing short of legislation by Parliament could effect anything worth the trouble—there being no system of free schools in England. So Mr. Fox felt, and accordingly applied both personally and by letter to many of its leading members in both houses—but was compelled soon to relinquish all hope of getting assistance for such an object from the government.
It was about this time (1783 or ’4) that Mr Fox purchased the manor of Clapton in his native village; thus accomplishing what he had resolved to do at 10 years of age, while fighting the birds from his brother's corn. This gave him an opportunity to commence his benevolent efforts in favor of education in his native place. His first step towards this object was to clothe comfortably all the poor people in the village—men, women and children. He next set up a week-day school for the free instruction of all who were willing to attend it. In this school the reading was confined to the Bible, and as there was no chapel in the village the children and all those who partook of his bounty, were directed to attend service on the Sabbath at the parish—(Episcopal)—church. Mr Fox had long been desirous, and had made known his wishes several years before to some of his friends, “that every poor person in the kingdom might be able to read the Bible,” and in the most pressing manner recommended the establishment of a Society equal to the carrying out of such an object. The magnitude of the undertaking seemed too great, and there was no one willing to take the lead—consequently Mr Fox himself undertook the work, and at the Baptist Monthly Meeting held at the King's Head tavern in the Poultry, in May, 1785, introduced the subject, and submitted to their consideration the question whether there might not be some plan adopted by which all the children of the poor might receive a scriptural education by being taught to read the Bible. *
The Chairman on this occasion was Henry Kane, Esq, of Walworth; he was a deacon in the Baptist church at Mazepond, of which the Rev James Dove was pastor. Mr Fox introduced his subject by the following address— ....
Thus we have in the above address of Mr Fox, the commencement of that discussion which led to the formation of the first Sunday School Society, although the idea of Sunday Schools had not at that time entered his mind. Every one must be astonished at the thought of doing by voluntary contributions that which not more than half of our States have been able to do by land appropriations and taxation. We have reason, however, to believe that Mr Fox's plan was not deemed chimerical by those present from the fact, that measures were immediately taken to raise a committee –and it was agreed that a meeting should be called to take the matter into serious consideration. A subscription was commenced at once for carrying it into effect. The Chairman of that meeting, Mr Henry Kane, said to Mr Fox, “I presume, sir, you intend to con. fine the plan to our own denomination, for then we shall go on in harmony.” Mr Fox replied—“Sir, the work is great, and I shall not be satisfied until every person in the world be able to read the Bible—and therefore we must call on all the world to help us.” The proposed public meeting was fixed for August 16th, at the same place, the King's Head Tavern in the Poultry. ...

More on William Fox Part 2

... He and his employer differed widely in their ideas of doing business—the latter did not hesitate to do business on the Sabbath with any of his customers who were willing to desecrate the day ; he was also in the habit of asking more for an article than he intended to take, rather than let his customer go. When his employer proposed that he should take his business out of his hands, Mr. Fox told him explicitly that if he accepted his offer he should pursue quite a different course, as he was resolved neither to transact business on the Sabbath, nor ask one price for his goods and sell at another. The reply Was“Mr. Fox, if you do not serve on Sunday, you will very soon lose all the business.” But his acts gave the strongest evidence that ungodly men respect professing Christians when their deportment and business transactions are consistent with their profession, and that they prefer entrusting important affairs to their keeping rather than to one of their own number—for he still manifests his confidence in Mr. Fox by giving up the whole of his business above named, without demanding any other security than his business qualifications, industrious habits and correct moral deportment afforded. For the encouragement of all young men, it is proper to say that so far from the prediction of his employer being fulfilled, Mr Fox was so signally blessed in all his business transactions, that in a very few years he was enabled to pay off the whole amount of his indebtedness, and found himself in very comfortable circumstances, with an income more than sufficient to meet all demands against him, and a reputation as a business man unsullied.
His house and table were always ready for the reception of friends, and especially for the young theological students who were prosecuting their studies at the University.
The Rev. Dr Hawies, who afterwards became famous for his efforts to promote religious and missionary enterprises, is said to have been a frequent visiter at his house about this time. About a year before Mr Fox entered into business, he and one of his sisters were baptized at Bourton-on-the-water, uniting with the church there—thus following the footsteps of their parents.
Mr Fox attributes his conversion (under Providence) to the reading of the only religious book in the house of his employer, except the Bible. We are not informed what book that was. Mr Fox being a dissenter from some of the doctrines of the Established Church of England, could not consistently, as he thought, unite in communion with the members of that church, neither did he approve of their mode of conducting public worship; but his religion was of that catholic spirit that would prefer to remove barriers to denominational intercourse, rather than build them up. He therefore attended the ministry of his friend, Dr Hawies.
After his settlement in business, the next important event of his history was to select a companion for life. His views on that subject, although they might not admit of universal application, would, if generally adopted, prevent many unhappy marriages. He used to say that there were three things in regard to marriage, he was resolved NOT to do—first, I will not marry a lady who is not decidedly pious; second, I must be satisfied that I can respectably maintain her; and third, I must have her father's consent. To these resolutions he is said to have rigidly adhered—and about the year 1761 he was married to Miss Mary Tabor, eldest daughter of Jonathan Tabor, Esq., a merchant of Colchester, in the county of Essex—a gentleman very highly esteemed for his correct Christian deportment in all his dealings.
In this conection Mr and Mrs Fox, during a period of more than sixty years, were unusually blessed in all the relations of life. Not having the privilege of attending a church of his own order at Oxford, about the year 1764 he purchased a large business in Leadenhall Street, London, and removed to that city. Soon after his removal to London he united with the Baptist Church in Prescott Street, Goodman's Fields, then under the care of the Rev Samuel Burford, and in a short time under that of the Rev Abraham Booth.
He now enjoyed not only the advantages of Mr Booth's edifying ministry, but his intimate acquaintance, together with that of a number of others who were eminent for their social and religious characteristics. These advantages afforded him much enjoyment, and were more highly prized in consequence of his having been to some extent deprived of them for a considerable time.
One of these gentlemen was Joseph Gutteridge, Esq., of Denmark Hill, Camberwell. A short time after Mr Fox commenced business in London he met with many discouragements. The retail trade in which he was engaged did not meet his expectations—in addition to this, he had been there but a short time when he was attacked with a violent fever, which it was thought would terminate fatally. On this occasion his father-in-law, Mr. Tabor, visited him, and according to his establshed custom on all trying occasions, founded upon the teachings of the Scriptures, particularly of the fifth chapter of the general epistle of James, fourteenth and fifteenth verses, he requested some of the praying friends of Mr. Fox to assemble for the purpose of uniting in fervent supplication, if it was the Divine will and would be for the glory of God, that their afflicted brother might be restored to health. It is said that while they were thus engaged, Mr Tabor received such assurances that their prayers would be answered, that he said with great confidence at the close of the exercises, “Mr. Fox will live.” As an evidence that his assurances were genuine, it need only be mentioned that Mr Fox began immediately to recover, so that in a short time he was enabled to return to his business, which improved from that time forward—so that he not long afterwards removed to Cheapside and engaged in the wholesale trade, which also prospered in his hands, until he became quite wealthy, and was enabled to engage in various benevolent enterprises.
In reference to this period of his life, and especially in regard to the happiness he enjoyed in church fellowship, one of his children who survived him says
"He was useful and respected at this time in no common degree; he in later years looked back upon that period of his life with regret, and called those his halcyon days.”

More on WIlliam Fox Part 1

This is from The Rise and Progress of Sunday Schools: A Biography of Robert Raikes and William Fox by John Carroll Power

William Fox, the subject of this Memoir, was born February 14, 1736, at the village of Clapton, a few miles northeast of the city of Gloucester, in Gloucestershire, England. I have been unable to procure anything like a satisfactory account of the genealogy of the ancestors of Mr. Fox in the male line. His immediate ancestors were agriculturists—his father farmed the ancient family estate near the village of Clapton.
Both his parents were active Christians—they were members of the Baptist church at another village near Clapton, called Bourton-on-the-water; the church was then under the pastoral care of the Rev. Benjamin Beddome, A. M.
The family consisted of father, mother, and eight children—William being the youngest. How many were sons and how many were daughters I know not— there were two sons besides William, if no more; their names were Samuel and Edward.
The father died in 1739, when William was in his third year. Left with so large a family of young children, it is said Mrs. Fox felt the burden upon her to be very heavy, accustomed as she had always been to the counsels and assistance of the kindest of husbands. But she did not shrink from the task. Being a woman of superior intellect, she nobly met the responsibility—and as evidence of her success the life of this son need only to be cited.
He however relates other evidences of the esteem in which she was held by the people of the village. If advice or assistance was needed in cases of affliction, their usual expression was “go to Mrs. Fox.” 
When William was seven years of age, his eldest brother, who was a farmer in the town, found him employment by sending him into the fields to keep the birds from the corn. When a man becomes eminent for any particular trait of character, it is not difficult to find that his childhood abounded in incidents pointing in that direction, although the same events would have been passed unnoticed had he remained in obscurity. An incident is related in the life of William Fox to show that perseverance was a prominent element in his character. When he was about ten years old, still watching the birds in the fields of his brother, he sat down under a tree and wept bitterly. “All my brothers,” said he to himself, “are well provided for— but there is no prospect whatever of a comfortable provision for me.” At length he came to the following conclusion, or rather formed a resolution most extraordinary for a boy in his circumstances at such an age —and which would ordinarily be looked upon as a childish whim. Said he—“I will get into some profitable business, and will pursue it with industry and care until I have acquired sufficient property to purchase this farm of my brother's—nor will I be content until I possess as my own the whole of this village and the lordship which belongs to it.”
The most remarkable thing about the whole affair is, that he succeeded in about forty years after in carrying out his designs, although he doubtless many times lost sight of his object—but in the end he that had been the destitute orphan became lord of the manor of Clapton, and this without any aid from his ancestors, the law in England giving to the eldest son the estate of his father.
His employment in the fields prevented him from getting an education, although he earnestly desired to obtain one, and greatly lamented that so many barriers interposed between him and his desired object. The leisure which he occasionally had, he endeavored to turn to the best account at the village school— and when the other boys were engaged at play in the intervals of school hours, he was found diligently employed at his studies. The following incident will serve to show the good opinion which his teacher had of his promising abilities and general good conduct. One of his teachers had a brother at Abingdon in Berkshire, who wanted an apprentice, and he selected William Fox as the most suitable for the situation—and although he was but. ten years of age, this teacher recommended him to his brother. Anxious to get out into the world, not forgetting his dreams of becoming lord of the manor of Clapton, and having obtained the consent of his affectionate mother, William went to Abingdon and entered with ardor upon the duties of his new situation. The work he was called upon to perform was soon. found too laborious for him, so that at the end of six months he was compelled to relinquish his situation and return home, where he again resumed his employment on the farm, and continued to do so until his seventeenth year.
With the little education he had obtained, he, as many others have done at that time of life, made several attempts at poetry, and although he was not destined to become eminent as a poet, these efforts were not without their good effects—for one of his elder brothers happened to see a copy of some of his verses, and from the merit which they developed, he insisted that William should be placed if possible in a situation more suitable to his tastes and inclinations for improving his mind. 
Failing in his efforts to place him in a school, this brother found means in the year 1752 to introduce him to Mr R, a mercer and draper at Oxford, (one account says York was the place, but that is a mistake) and this circumstance proved to be that event, or turning point which led, under the direction of the Supreme Being, to the accomplishment of his wishes.
Having begun to learn a trade later in life than was common in England, it would require more than ordinary exertions to become proficient in his business at the usual age. It has not been possible to obtain much information concerning his manner of life during his apprenticeship. What can be procured, however, establishes the fact that his conduct was unexceptionable, and might safely be adapted as a model for other young men in similar situations. To confirm this, it need only be stated that his employer soon placed him at the head of his business, and two years before the expiration of his apprenticeship, gave up to him his house and shop, with the stock of goods, amounting in value to between three and four thousand pounds— fifteen and twenty thousand dollars.
This act of his employer was the more remarkable from the fact, that he was a man whose parsimonious habits were proverbial—and besides, he had two nephews in his employment, both of whom were older and had been longer in business than the subject of this memoir. ....


John Heskins

In an article on The Morgans of Birmingham found here, F W Butt-Thompson says that John Heskins had a long connection with the Baptist Church at NaiIsworth. His son, John, married Sophia, the daughter of Benjamin Francis, pastor at Nailsworth for 42 years, and a hymn-writer whose work was then well known. Sophia was born 1784. The marriage was childless and Mary died in her early twenties. Francis' other daughter, Catherine Holbrow, married a minister, Thomas Flint, and lived to the age of 67.
He also says that an apprentice of John Heskins was one of the sons of Benjamin Beddome, of Bourton-on-the-Water.
Heskins, like his father before him, a clothier, was a deacon in Nailsworth. Heskins Senior served in that capacity for 50 years. The father at one time ran Nailsworth Mills.
John Heskins Senior was born c 1731 and died 1813. He married married Hannah Horwood in 1755 and she died in 1772. No children are recorded from this marriage.
He married Mary Bliss in 1775 and had four children - John junior, and three girls, Mary, Sarah and Hannah.
Hannah  married Abraham Flint and died of complications during her first preganancy.
Sarah married Edward Barnard and had numerous children but the male line died with John in 1838 when he had reached the age of 59.


Sermon Outlines Rest of the NT

The Impotent Man Acts 3:1-11
The Persecutor Acts 9:4
God's Testimony to the Word of His Grace Acts 14:1-18
The Conversion of Lydia Acts 16:13
Saving Faith Acts 16:30-31
Stir About the Way Acts 19:23
Delay in Religion Acts 24:25
The Called of Jesus Christ Romans 1:6
The Witness of Conscience Romans 2:15
Salvation of Faith, that it Might be by Grace Romans 4:16
The Love of God Commended Romans 5:7-8
The Inward Conflict Romans 7:21-25
The Spirit of Bondage and Adoption Romans 8:15
The Christian Conqueror Romans 8:35-39
The Remnant Saved Romans 9:25-33
Unprofitable Public Worship 1 Corinthians 11:17-22
Christian Strength 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
Reconciliation to God 2 Corinthians 5:20
Godly Jealousy 2 Corinthians 11:1-6
Christian Perfection 2 Corinthians 13:9
Christ Manifested to the Soul Galatians 1:15-16
The Unity of True Believers Galatians 3:28
Bearing One Another's Burdens Galatians 6:2
The Danger of Self-Deception Galatians 6:7-8
The Christian Armour Ephesians 6:11
Rejoice Evermore 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Quench not the Spirit 1 Thessalonians 5:19
Despise not Prophesyings 1 Thessalonians 5:20
Hold Fast that Which is Good 1 Thessalonians 5:21
Prove All Things 1 Thessalonians 5:21
Avoiding the Appearance of Evil 1 Thessalonians 5:22
The Right Use of the Law 1 Timothy 1:8-10
On Hearing the Word 2 Timothy 2:7
Self.Love 2 Timothy 3:2-5
Foolish Questions Reproved Titus 3:9
Heirs of Promise Hebrews 6:17-20
Divine Forgiveness Hebrews 8:10-12
Attendance on Public Worship Hebrews 10:25
The Danger of Apostasy Hebrews 10:26-27
Follow Peace Hebrews 12:14
Holiness Hebrews 12:14
The Jewish and the Christian Altar Hebrews 13:10
Guilty of All James 2:10-13
The Connection Between Faith and Works James 2:14-26
Discontent and Envy James 5:9
Holiness 1 Peter 1:13-16
Peace with God 2 Peter 3:13-14
What is it to be a Doer of Righteousness 1 John 2:28-29
Spiritual Declensions Revelation 2:1-7
The Heavenly Stranger Received Revelation 3:20
Views of Death Revelation 6:7-8
The Godly - Their Work and Their Praises Revelation 19:1-8