In 1774 we know that there was much unrest in the American colonies as it was the year before the American Revolution. Snooke notes the sudden dissolving of parliament at the end of September.
In Bourton the year began cold and on the first Sunday (January 2) Beddome decided not to venture out to Stow. Snow seems to have come on Friday, January 7. It melted a week later and caused “the greatest flood ever remembered at Bourton”. Snooke observed swans in and out of the Windrush. More snow came again on Tuesday January 18. Beddome was at Snooke's for tea for the first time in eight weeks on Monday, 17th, coming more often after that. New year entertainments took place at various places including one at the new residence of Beddome's father-in-law Richard Boswell on Monday, January 24, the day after Beddome himself turned 56.
On Friday, February 18, Snooke and Beddome went riding on Bourton Hill. On February 23, Thomas Purdy (d 1820) from Chipping Norton was over. This seems to have been a surprise visit as Beddome intended to look at Psalm 143:10 but held it over to the following Sunday evening. It snowed all day on Friday, February 25. Snooke notes on Wednesday February 23 that the wife of (John) Haydon of Tewkesbury (1714-1782) had died (they had only married in November 1771; Jane Hague was Haydon's second wife.).
On Saturday March 5 Snooke noted from the London Chronicle that John Ash (1724-1779) of Pershore had been given a doctorate by Aberdeen University. (Beddome was granted an MA from Brown University in 1770). The weather was still bad at times and the midweek meeting was cancelled, March 10. On Thursday, March 31 Thomas Collett (1746-1774) from Hook Norton “died suddenly in the field as he was at work”. Under 40, he had been married only four years. The next day former Bourton member Nathaniel Rawlins (1734-1809) came over from Broughton, where he was then ministering, and stayed at Snooke's. On the Sunday Beddome preached from Amos 6:3a in light of Collett's death and Rawlins preached (Song of Solomon 3:3) in the afternoon.
By 1774 the Friday Preparation meeting had been superseded by a midweek meeting, which ran January to March and in November, December. Beddome's last sermon in March was on Psalm 143:12a (he had preached verse 11 some time before). Perhaps the changed day of meeting coincided with the introduction of the double lectures, involving Bourton and five other nearby churches, which began the previous year and ran April-September, the location being Bourton in August. This is referred to in Snooke's diary. In July, Beddome appears to have gone the 20 miles or so to Bengeworth for the annual Association, held there for the second time only. The moderator seems to have been James Turner (1724-1780) of Birmingham. The preachers were James Butterworth (d 1794; at Bromsgrove from 1755), John Poynting (1719-1791) of Worcester and John Ash.
On Tuesday April 5 John Hinks/Hanks married Sarah Collett, sister to Anthony. (Sarah must have died after a short while as in 1779 Hanks married the widow of Thomas Collett, Mary). The next day Snooke set off for his annual London visit. In the evening he was in Miles' Lane (near Cannon Street, the church there was Independent, having its origins in 1662 and being of a good Calvinist sort. By this time it was pastored by William Ford, Jun 1736-1783, descended from the Puritans Thomas and Nathanael Vincent. He had trained for the ministry under Dr David Jennings (1691-1762) and came to the church in 1757. In 1781 he retired to Windsor and after a long illness died there). There he heard Beddome preach from 1 Timothy 1:13. The following Sunday, Snooke heard Beddome at the church of a Mr [Samuel?] Watkins on Hebrews 11:28. Rippon preached in the afternoon. (Snooke wanted to hear Caleb Evans at Miles' Lane later but could not get in). On the Lord's Day, April 24, Snooke heard Abraham Booth (1734-1806), a Mr Stewart and Beddome on Isaiah 9:6. (On Lord's Day, May 1 Snooke heard Rippon, Wallin (?) and (Martin?) Madan [1726-1790]).
On Wednesday, May 4 Snooke returned home and on the Sunday was listening to Beddome back in Bourton. Snooke remarks that Beddome was so lame at this time that he had to sit to preach. The problem was gout. It was so bad that the following Saturday, Snooke took his chaise to Cirencester and collected Mr Field and his wife from Bristol. They stayed with the Snookes, Field preaching for the next three Sundays in Bourton. By the third of these (May 29) Beddome was well enough to travel to Burford and on to Bampton (ie Cote) where no doubt he preached. On Tuesday, May 17 the Independent minister from Warwick, Mr Bowley, preached in Bourton (5.15 pm) on Isaiah 41:10.
On Whit Monday, 23 May, Snooke paid a shilling to the 'Whitsun Fools' from 'Wick' probably a reference to a set of morris dancers
Beddome returned home June 2 and preached June 5 at Bourton and Stow (where he had not been for two months). On June 12 he preached again and celebrated the Lord's Supper for the first time since March 20. On June 26 he did a pulpit swap with Thomas Davis (c1730-1784) of Fairford, about 15 or 20 miles across country. Davis made the trip there and back in one day but Beddome felt it wiser to travel overnight. (Elsewhere we are told that Richard Collett son of William and Anne was baptised that day).
On the last day of June, Beddome was at Snooke's for tea once again. John Reynolds (1730-1792) arrived the following week. On the Tuesday, Beddome left for Bengeworth where he was to meet with Reynolds. Reynolds preached in Cheltenham the following Sunday and on the 20th took a meeting in Bourton, preaching on Psalm 71:16. That same day, around 8 am, Mrs B gave birth to another son. Snooke says it was her tenth child. This led to Beddome taking the text on the Sunday Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request from his lips (Psalm 21:2). On Saturday 30th, Lawrence Butterworth (1740-1828) of Evesham was in Bourton at Snooke's en route to Cirencester, (he also returned on Monday, August 1) from whence a Mr Dawson (probably a reference to William Dore, brother of James who was in Cirencester 1775-1791) came to preach for Beddome. Meanwhile Beddome was off again to what must be Cote, Oxfordshire. A Farmer Hawks or is that Hanks was broken into during the evening service in Bourton.
On August 10 it was the Bourton double lecture mentioned above at which James Biggs (c 1770-1830) of Wantage and Daniel Turner (1710-1798) of Abingdon preached. Stanwell of Cirencester preached in Bourton and Stow on the 14th, Beddome going to Cirencester. He was back the next day, a rather wet one, to have tea with the Snookes. Mrs Beddome was not out. The Snookes made her a lying in visit on the 22nd and she came to church in the sedan the following Sunday. On September 5 she was well enough to accompany her husband and daughter Betsy to the Snookes for tea.
On Wednesday, September 14 Snooke made a day trip to Evesham to hear Beddome preach there on Acts 11:23. On September 18 Snooke stood in as clerk [or precentor] (for Mr [William] Palmer). (We know from elsewhere that on September 21 Anglican John Jordan esq, born 1713, was buried in Bourton church yard but Snooke makes no mention of it). On September 26, Beddome went to Fairford where a Mr Strand was to preach. They planned to go on together to Abingdon, where the double lecture was due to be.
Not much happened in October, although a Mr Freeman from Bath preached on the evening of October 23. On October 26 Beddome recommenced the midweek meeting, looking at 2 Peter 1:1. The day before was the birth of John Collett's "Betsy" in Upper Slaughter. On Sunday, November 6 numbers were “thin – as it rained all day”. On Monday November 28 Snooke went to Beddome's for tea, the first time in eight weeks (since October 4), although Beddome had been to him a few times. On Friday December 2 a John Dunne died. He was given a funeral sermon from Romans 5:2 in the evening. On Thursday December 8, Beddome was at Snooke's for tea once again, his wife and daughter having been there for a meal. There was lots of snow. After more snow again the next day, it began to thaw and by Sunday there was a little bit of a flood but it was not a problem. On Wednesday December 14 Snooke was at the lecture in Bengeworth when Lawrence Butterworth of Evesham (1741-1828), son of Henry and brother of John and James, preached (Psalm 22:30a). Christmas Day again fell on a Sunday. Beddome preached on Romans 5:2 and 1 Kings 21:3 as on the previous Sunday. A collection on the 25th of 10s 6d was to be used to defray the cost of candles, etc.
Through the year Beddome had preached Sunday by Sunday on diverse texts. He was also receiving his quarterly payment of £2 2s 0d from Snooke.
NB According to BHO there was an enclosure act in 1774 that affected Bourton. This act affected 873 acres of openfield arable, downland and common meadow. Out of this area three allotments were made of c. 200 acres (to the lord of the manor, the rector and Mary Collett, the first two receiving most of their shares to replace tithe), three of c. 50 acres and 19 smaller lots. The long-term result may have been to reduce the number and increase the size of farms further. By 1831 there were 11 farmers, of whom only one did not employ labour. The act also changed the type of farming in that more of the higher land was put under the plough, and was used to produce a large quantity of barley and oats by 1801. There was presumably a corresponding decline in sheep-farming. In the same year the rector's share in the tithes of Bourton and Clapton were mostly exchanged for land amounting to 209 acres. Some 12 acres were also set aside for the poor.