12/07/2010

POTP 09

Chapter 4 begins with some statistics. In 1743, when Beddome arrived in Bourton there were 100 members. In 1751 there were 180 (as reported to the Association, meeting at Tewksbury). Brooks goes on

"The measure of prosperity vouchsafed to the church during the 14 years following was very variable, as indicated by the letters to the Association. Three years elapsed during which not a single soul was added to the church, viz, 1752, 1753, and 1754. During this period 15 were lost by death, and three by dismission, reducing their number to 162. Very trying to pastor and people was this period, but "The Lord can clear the darkest skies," and with 1755 came the time of refreshing, 22 persons were added by baptism. Among these were Mrs Beddome, Mrs Patience Kimber, of Burford, Mr Kyte, of the Upper Mill, Mrs Mary Kyte, and Elizabeth Wood, of the Folly Farm."
 
So by 1759 membership was 160, less by two than in 1753.
 
"The period of depression which had now set in, continued until 1764, when 28 were added by baptism. Many had been lost by death, and the church now contained 183 members, just three more than in the year 1751, being a clear increase of three members in 13 years.
During all this time, the congregations had been large and increasing. Seed-time and harvest are observable in the church as well as in the world. We must not condemn a man because he is not always reaping, "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
In the year 1763 the church enlarged the burying ground, by the purchase of a piece of land for the sum of £5, and to increase the available space within the chapel, they "turned the gallery stairs without doors." Mr John Collet gave the stones for walling in the new ground, and others gave the drawing. The cost of the whole, in money, was about £38. Of this sum, William Snook, Esq, contributed £10 and Mr Beddome £5.
We have seen our fathers building a new chapel in 1701, erecting a house for their minister in 1741, "enlarging and repairing" the chapel in 1748, and strengthening the same in 1750. We must now notice a work which exceeds in magnitude either of the preceding. The following extract from the church-book, will set it clearly before us—
"Oct 10, 1764. We entered upon a subscription for enlarging and rebuilding our meeting house, in which Mr Snook was the principal actor, and of which he was the most generous promoter. The old meeting-house, though altered and enlarged, was neither convenient nor sufficiently capacious, yet most were contented. However, through the indefatigable application of Mr Snook, the new building was erected."

The dimensions of the new chapel were 45 by 35 feet. Materials from the old chapel were used as far as possible. Exclusive of these, the cost of the new building was £473 14s. 10d. Towards this £69 was received as "Benefactions from abroad." These were almost exclusively from London. Dr Stennett procured and sent 20 guineas; George Baskerville, Esq, contributed 10 guineas, and sent 10 more from a friend. Of the £404 raised by the church and congregation, Snook gave £128 7s., ie £100 plus the pulpit, sounding-board, etc, which cost £28 7s. Beddome contributed £30. The rest was raised by smaller subscriptions, ranging from £20 to 5s.

"It must not be overlooked, however, that much work was given, as well as money. And but for this the cost of the building would have appeared to be much greater. "Mr Snook employed his team and servants almost continually. Mr Boswell sent his team 24 days; Dr Paxford 24 days; Mr Truby five days; Thomas Cresser one day; John Strange six days; Mr Eadburn two days; Mr Hurbert six days; Robert Taylor two days; Mr Bosbery one day; William Wood two days; John Hurbert, labourer, gave a week's work, and John Phillips gave the same with self and horse."

No comments: