22/02/2007

ODNB Entry

The entry for Beddome in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography is by W B Lowther and was revised by Karen E Smith. It is as follows:

Beddome, Benjamin (1717–1795), Particular Baptist minister and hymn writer, the son of John Beddome (d 1757), Baptist minister, and Rachel Brandon, was born at Henley in Arden, Warwickshire, on 23 January 1717. He was baptized in 1739 at the Baptist church at Prescott Street, Goodman's Fields, London, by Samuel Wilson. He studied under Bernard Foskett at Bristol Academy, where he established a close friendship with Caleb Evans and John Ash, and later at the Independent academy at Mile End in Middlesex. In 1740 he became pastor at the Baptist church in Bourton on the Water, Gloucestershire, where he remained for 55 years. He was ordained in 1743, when Joseph Stennett preached the sermon and Bernard Foskett gave the charge. On 11 December 1749 he married Elizabeth Boswell (1732–1784), daughter of Richard Boswell, Baptist deacon of Bourton, at Gloucester; they had three sons, John, Benjamin, and Foskett, all of whom predeceased him.
Beddome is best-known as a writer of hymns, of which he composed more than 800, published as Hymns Adopted to Public Worship or Family Devotion in 1818. His hymns were intended to be sung after his sermons, as they illustrated the truths on which he had been preaching. He was a noted preacher, whose labours were ‘unremitted and evangelical’, and, ‘though his voice was low, his delivery was forcible and demanded attention’ (Rippon, 320–21). He was a leader in the Midland Baptist Association and wrote an association letter in 1765. He also wrote an Exposition on the Baptist Catechism (1752; repr. 1776). Three posthumous volumes of his sermons were also printed. In 1770 he was awarded an MA degree by Providence College in Rhode Island in recognition of his literary gifts.
Beddome died at Bourton, the scene of his lifelong labours, on (Wednesday) 23 September 1795, aged seventy-eight years, and was buried in the Baptist meeting-house graveyard there. According to the Cambridge Intelligencer (12 September 1795), which noticed his death, he was a BD.*

The Cambridge Intelligencer was a weekly newspaper, appearing from 1793-1803, and edited by Benjamin Flower. It has been called "the most vigorous and outspoken liberal periodical of its day" and was more like a national paper than a provincial one. Olinthus Gregory who married Beddome's daughter Anne in 1809 was editor for six months in 1798.

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