29/04/2011

1775a

In 1775 we know that in America the American Revolution began. Meanwhile, on this side of the water in the sleepy Cotswolds, we learn from Snooke's diary of some of the things that happened in his life and that of his minister, Benjamin Beddome.

January 1, 1774, was a Sunday and Beddome preached (Mat 22:21; Ex 10:22b, 23). (In the parish church Mr Simmonds was preaching Mic 8:8). The next day Beddome went with his daughter, though not his wife, to join his father-in-law, the Colletts and the Beales at Mr Snooke's for tea. The next Sunday there was communion. Beddome took the Matthew text again morning and evening. Beddome was also at Snooke's on his birthday (January 23) when he turned 57. The children were given mince pies. His father-in-law's entertainment was the next day. In the Wednesday midweek meetings Beddome was taking various texts from Genesis throughout January and into February. Sundays in these first two months he was in Matthew, Job, 1 Timothy and Proverbs.

January seems not to have been bad weatherwise but storms came in February. On February 10, a Mr Matthews died, aged 55. Snooke attended the parish church, as he did from time to time, for the the funeral service on January 15. That evening Beddome spoke on 2 Samuel 23:15 (as desired “by some unknown person"). He took tea with Snooke twice that month but was unable to come on the final Monday as he was unwell. He was able to complete his Sunday sermon midweek, however, then preached the following Sunday, on 1 John 1:9. The afternoon service began at 2.30 pm (which sounds earlier than usual). Snooke also says that Beddome “forgot the second singing”, which probably either means a second hymn or that he forgot to sing at all in the afternoon.

On March 14 and 21 Snooke visited Beddome for tea. At the midweek meeting on March 22 Thomas Hiller of Tewkesbury (d 1790) spoke on Job 17:15a. Beddome was well for most of March but then fell ill towards the end of it and was unable to attend the funeral of Mary Butler, widow of Joseph, or take the midweek meeting that night.

He continued to be unwell for a little while and the Sunday services on the first two Sundays in April were taken by a Mr Dawson, who may be Henry Dawson, later of Portsmouth. By April 16 Beddome was well again and preached from Genesis and John. The next weekend, Hugh Evans (1712-1781) from Bristol was with Beddome and preached on a rainy Sunday morning. This may well have been because Evans was speaking at the special double lecture over in Fairford the previous Thursday. Beddome was with Snooke taking tea at Mr Coles' on Thursday April 27. The final day of the month was a Sunday, when there was communion and sermons on John 6:36 and Hosea 7:11.

On Monday May 15 John Sutcliff (1752-1814) preached on Ex 14:15. Described as “assistant to Mr Turner of Birmingham” (ie James Turner 1724-1780 of Cannon Street) at this point he ahd just spent six months as an assistant in Shrewsbury following the completion of his studies at Bristol. The following August he would be ordained to the pastorate in Olney, where he remained the rest of his life, a great supporter of William Carey (1761-1834), among other things. Sutcliff, Beddome and Snooke headed for Bengeworth the next day. They left at 6.30 am stopping at a Mrs Wood's for breakfast and for something further at Mrs Pearce's. Nearer their destination they parted – Snooke for business in Bengeworth, the preachers going to Pershore where they probably preached. The next day Beddome preached in Bengeworth. They appear to have returned that day, Beddome joining Snooke for tea the next day as did his wife and Samuel (19) and Betsy (10). On a rainy Friday, May 19, Snooke describes a young people's trip to Mrs Wood's, Betsy behind Samuel on the “old grey” and his Polly (21) behind Mr John Palmer on their black mare. On May 21 Beddome preached on John 3:14, 15 morning and evening (as on the previous Sabbath morning). Snooke comments on May 21, “Several Strangers at Meeting”.

As we come into June there are more teas for Beddome at the Snookes and the Beales and on June 6 fine rain with thunder “acceptable as the ground was almost parched up”. Nathaniel Rawlins (1734-1809) arrived in Bourton on Saturday afternoon, June 10. He was to have preached the next day but instead took the prayers as he knew that a Mr Smith was down from London with his family and expressly wished to hear Beddome, which he did (on Psalm 139:23, 24). Rawlins, Smith and the Beddomes all had tea at the Snookes. The Beddomes and Snooke also had tea at Boswell's on the Monday (June 12).

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