A note on Thomas Coles and the Oxfordshire Association

On page 348 of Useful Learning, Anthony R Cross has a footnote on Thomas Coles, saying he came from Beddome's ( Bourton-on-the-Water) and entered the Bristol College in 1795, following his baptism at Shortwood and acceptance into membership in August that year. In October 1797 he went to Marischal College, Aberdeen, as a Dr Ward Scholar, where he completed his MA in April 1800. He became assistant to Abraham Booth at Prescott Street, London, and then was ordained at Bourton on 17 November 1801 as Beddome's successor (he says to see Ryland and James Hinton, The Duties and Supports of a Gospel Minister; and The Duties incumbent on a Christian Church.) In 1802 he was a prime mover in the establishment of 'An Association of Baptist Congregational Churches for Oxfordshire and the Counties adjacent," serving as its secretary from its founding to his death in 1840.

(Cross cites B S Hall, 'Memoir of the Late Rev. Thomas Coles;" Brooks, Pictures of the Past, 42, 69-70, 72-80, 82-101, 103-107, 108 and 111; Swaine, Faithful Men, 190-92; Tongue, Dr. John Warts Trust, 16-17 and 35; Ivimey, Histoty, IV, 469; and Whelan, Baptist Autographs, 369, as authorities).

In 1813, Coles preached to the Bristol Education Society, Advice to Students and Ministers, which indicates, among other things, the importance to him of the place of studying the scriptures for students and ministers.

So although Bourton was in the Midland Association all through Beddome's time, no doubt because the geographical focus of that grouping had changed, after his death they joined this new Oxfordshire focussed group, something perhaps anticipated by the double lecture in Beddome's own lifetime.

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