When Mr Beddome became pastor of the Church at Bourton he took up his residence at Lower Slaughter, in the house of Mr Head (this cannot be the nonconformist Joshua Head as he died in 1719 but this may well be a relation), where he continued till September, 1749; but then, as he intended marrying, he removed to Bourton. A dwelling had been provided by his people some years before. "In 1741, the Church resolved to build a dwelling house for the use of their minister, there being no convenient one either to be let or sold in Bourton for that purpose." Every item in the cost is carefully recorded, down to "odd things, bread, cheese, beer, etc." The sum total was something more than £350. This sum, with the exception of about £40 from a few of Mr Beddome's personal friends, was raised by the church and congregation. Mr Beddome has recorded every subscription (taking great care to preserve the identity of each donor), from "Mr John Reynolds sen, £45 0 0" to "Molly Hanks, the Mantua maker 2s 6d" and "Nanny Strange, Joseph's daughter, 2s."
While Beddome was thus preparing to be married and settled at Bourton, his father was seeking, with great perseverance, to lure him to Bristol. Such was the estimate formed of the value of his labours, that he was warmly solicited to become co-pastor of the Pithay church, Bristol. On this subject his father addressed many letters to him, one of which will show how earnestly he pleaded with his son.
“October 28,1748, My Dear Benjamin,
I wish from my heart, the Lord would incline you to come to this city. Here you would have a comfortable income, and a better people than you take them to be. They very much desire you. and are willing to make extraordinary efforts for your comfortable support. But my principal reasons, why I so much desire your removal are these: (1) It would save a large number of people from sinking (2) My children would be all together (3) It would be a great comfort to your poor mother to sit under your ministry (4) You would have less labour, an honest, good-hearted man to be your partner, much good conversation for your improvement, and an abundant harvest of souls, as well as anywhere else.”
But none of these things moved him. Seven years before this he had recorded his wish
My dwelling-place let Bourton be,
There let me live, and live to thee
And he was "in one mind" and none could turn him.
In the "wish" named above, he had also said first
Let the companion of my youth
Be one of innocence and truth;
Let modest charms adorn her face,
And give her thy superior grace.
By heavenly art first make her thine,
Then make her willing to be mine.
These conditions appear to have been met in some measure, by Miss Elizabeth Boswell, to whom he was "joined in matrimony," December 21, 1749.
She was the daughter of Mr Richard Boswell, of Bourton, who was a deacon of the Church, and a most valuable man. Had this engagement anything to do with his determination to abide at Bourton? Did Miss Boswell strongly object to quitting the "Golden Valley" for the smoky city? When Mr Beddome gave her that letter from his father, to read, and, with tears in his eyes, pointed out the reason No 3, involving the comfort of his "poor mother," did she smiling sweetly, say "For this cause shall a man leave his father and his mother?" We cannot tell. It is not in evidence; but we cannot help thinking that the Church at Bourton was fortunate in having " specially retained " on their side Miss Boswell, instructed by her father. It was not a light thing, in a secluded village, to have secured for so many years the services of Benjamin Beddome.
And here we must not omit the fact, that prior to this event the chapel became too strait for the congregation, and being "very much decayed in several places, they resolved to pull down a great part of it, and enlarge and repair it." This was done at a cost of £118 15s 6d in the year 1748, costing more than the original chapel in 1701. It is pleasing also to perceive that this church, favoured in the possession of an "able minister," was producing others who were destined to be the pastors of other churches. In 1750, the Rev John Ryland, after repeated trials of his gifts, was dismissed to the Baptist church at Warwick, to become its pastor; and the Rev Richard Haines, to the Church at Bradford, Wiltshire, for the same office there. In addition to these, Mr John Reynolds, jun, "having been under the care of Mr Foskett of Bristol," for the increase of his learning, "almost two years, was permitted by the Church to exercise his gift occasionally, till they saw fit to give him a more full and solemn call."