We know from Brooks that although 1767 had been a good year, there were no baptisms in Bourton in 1768 (although we know from elsewhere that William and Henry Collett were baptised in Upper Slaughter). Other things went on, however, including a mild earthquake on Wednesday December 21! The British Geological Survey describes it as “little-known”. It was felt fairly strongly in the Gloucester-Droitwich area and in Oxfordshire and as far east as Reading. The western limit was Stoke Edith, near Hereford; the north-south extent is obscure. In Gloucester many people ran from their houses, but in some parts of the city it was less noticeable.

January 1, 1768, was a Friday. Preparation day meetings should have taken place but there was snow so that did not happen. In fact, on the Sunday, a communion Sunday, it was so cold that the evening meeting was cancelled. The snow continued into the second Sunday of the year when, although both services in Bourton took place, the scheduled afternoon meeting at Stow was cancelled (twice a month an afternon meeting was held at Stow).

As the weather improved various church members put on new year's entertainments at their homes (Richard Boswell, Beddome's father-in-law; Mr (Henry) Collett, Dr Paxford, Mr (Samuel) Palmer*). Which ones Beddome attended we do not know nor do we know how he celebrated turning 51 on January 23.

We do know, however, that Mrs Beddome had given birth to Joseph on December 9, 1767. Snooke, Boswell and Palmer paid her a visit on February 3, 1768. She had been unable to be at the first tea party for two months at Snooke's, where Beddome, Collett and Polly Palmer had come together the day before.

February was a better month weather-wise and on Sunday 14, Mrs B was able to borrow the Snooke sedan chair and go out for the first time in weeks. She remained at home when tea was served at the Snookes again the next day, though Beddome went. The same thing happened the next Monday too and on the last Monday of the month of that leap year they all gathered at the home of Mrs B's father, Richard Boswell.

On Sunday, February 19, Farmer Penny died. Beddome preached from Isaiah 40:8 at the funeral the following Wednesday. From February 27-March 1, a Thomas Skinner (d 1782) was around. He had tea with Beddome on Saturday, 27 and breakfast with him on Tuesday, March 1. Beddome and Skinner were also at Snooke's for tea on Sunday, when Skinner preached (2 John 5:4, John 10:27). This is not the Devonshire Skinner (1752-1795) who eventually ministered in Clipstone, Towcester (1783-93) and Newcastle and who first studied in Bristol but the minister of Alcester, 1766-1782. He was not actually ordained until September 7 of this year, 1768.

The rest of March was unremarkable, then Snooke was in London, Monday, March 28 – Wednesday, May 17.** (This was the day, apparently when Richard Haynes, over at Bradford on Avon suddenly died. Summing up his ministry many years later William Hawkins wrote that "He was ordained on the 25th April, 1750. He appears to have been sound in the faith and consistent in discipline. His ministry was greatly honoured for eighteen years, when he suddenly died, having been called from earth to heaven while at his dinner on the 17th May, 1768.") Snooke was back in time for the preparation day and the funeral of “Dame Collett” on the Sunday. Beddome preached from 2 Chronicles 24:15, 16.

The next day Beddome himself set out for the Association meetings in Bromsgrove. The distance is around 40 miles and he probably stopped overnight somewhere – perhaps in Alcester but not with Skinner who preached again at Bourton, Sunday May 29 (Rom 8:28, Luke 11:13). That day a Mr Cresser died, probably Jeremiah, a deacon and the father of a later deacon, Thomas Cresser (d February 25, 1808). Skinner set off back to Alcester early the next morning and Beddome was back by the evening. On June 2 Cresser was buried, Beddome preaching on Job 42:17. Four days later (June 6) there was a wedding. Ann Collett (1741-1811), twin of John, married James Beale of Stow. (They eventually had seven children altogether).

At the Association Beddome would have heard Benjamin Whitmore (pastor of Hook Norton 1754-1786) and John Poynting (1719-1791) of Worcester preach. He shared their sermons at the subsequent Friday meetings (Ephesians 2:5 and Psalm 102:16 respectively). The minister of Chipping Campden, the predecessor to Elisha Smith, was present on the latter occasion.

July was difficult for Beddome. Although he preached on the first Sunday and part of the second by the second service on July 10 he was very poorly with rheumatism and could not preach. Unusually he had not been able to write his own hymn on Matthew 25:31 that week either. By the following week he was well again for a communion Sunday. On Thursday July 21 he and Mrs B had tea at her father's with Snooke and others. That day Beddome Senior's successor at the Pithay church, John Tommas (1724-1800) arrived at the Beddomes (Snooke stabled his horse) and the next day the Beddomes were with Snooke for tea when Tommas preached on Psalm 73:25, leaving for Bristol early the next day. Beddome preached on the communion Sunday (July 24) but was again ill the next day when Snooke and others came for tea.

On Friday August 3 most of the Beddomes were at the Snookes with the Palmer family enjoying fresh fruit and on Monday August 22 and Thursday September 22 the Snookes visited Mrs B. At this time the Beddome children were 18, 12, 10, 5, 3 and nearly 8 months. Ten year old Foskett was not there on this occasion.

From Monday, September 26-Monday, October 13, Beddome went up to London. We do not know any details but, presumably, he preached on October 2 and 9, somewhere. In Bourton, either John Butterworth (1727-1808) from Coventry or, more likely, his brother Lawrence Butterworth (1741-1828) from Evesham and former member John Reynolds (1731-1792), then in London, stood in. Nathaniel Rawlins (1734-1809), another former member, came up from Trowbridge for the meeting on Friday, October 7. Reynolds and Rawlins both arrived in Bourton on Tuesday October 4.

On Sunday October 17, Beddome shared his pulpit with John Martin (1741-1820), who had fairly recently gone to Sheepshead in Leicestershire.

The rest of the month and into November was more routine with more Monday teas at the Snookes. On Wednesday, November 16, John Poynting preached (Hosea 12:3,4a). Snooke says that on Sunday 27 he acted as clerk as Mr (Jasper) Bailey (d 4 July 1782) was ill. Clerk was apparently the term used for the precentor. December 25 fell on a Sunday in this year. Beddome preached in the morning on Mark 3:27 (No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house) and in the second service carried on with his series in Acts 16.

*The names Paxford and Palmer are illustrious as (according to Ivimey) Dr Paxford was the son of Thomas Paxford of nearby Clapton, of whom Calamy wrote "Though he was not bred a scholar, yet he had good natural parts, and preached and prayed well, and sometimes officiated for Mr (Anthony?) Palmer at Bourton-upon-the-water. After his ejectment, he became an Anabaptist and fell under some censures as to his morals; which I the rather take notice of, because of an intimation of Dr Walker's, as if some of the ejected were therefore passed by, because they were such as partiality itself could not speak well of." Mr Palmer, after mentioning the above adds, "Crosby has nothing more than this quotation from Calamy, except abuse of the Author for relating this last circumstance, which he does not attempt to disprove". Ivimey defends Paxford who was obviously held in high esteem in Bourton. Presumably the Palmers were connected to Anthony Palmer. Henry Collett was also of good nonconformist stock no doubt.
** In April Samuel Burford, Pastor of Prescot Street, died. He was succeeded that same summer by Abraham Booth who had published his Reign of grace the April before.

No comments: