Page images
PDF
EPUB

PREACHING FOR A CROWN.

My recollections of my old neighbour Mr. Wm. Fletcher date from a very early period in my history. I don't remember the time when I did not know him. He was by trade a joiner and carpenter, and on Lord's-day was frequently engaged as a local preacher amongst the Wesleyan Methodists. When employed in his calling he was a man of few words, seldom interfered with others' business, and was looked upon as a man of undoubted piety. I well remember strange tales being told of him, and I also remember hearing strange language used by him when he occupied the pulpit. As a preacher and prayer-leader he was very energetic and physically demonstrative; his matter was remarkable for originality, his style was racy and humorous, and he was usually if not invariably "well accepted as a local preacher.

[ocr errors]

Mr. Fletcher's manner of arranging his sermons differed from that usually adopted. His system was to take up the principal points of the text as they were presented to his mind. Only on one occasion did he attempt to preach from a text divided into a certain number of heads, and this was by the request and according to the arrangement of a friend. The attempt was a failure! To use his own words, "I got on the first head and rode it all the way through the sermon."

[ocr errors]

Amongst many Dissenting denominations a small amount of money, called horse-hire money, was formerly, and indeed is now, paid to local preachers for travelling expenses. Fifty years ago the amount usually paid was from one shilling to two-and-sixpence. The subject of this reminiscence had on one occasion travelled some eight or nine miles and preached twice at a village a few miles south-west of Nottingham. After the services were over the stewards asked Mr. Fletcher how much they were indebted to him for expenses? "A crown" was the answer. The stewards were surprised at the demand, and replied "That is more than we usually give." "Well," replied Mr. Fletcher, "I mean to have nothing less, but I don't want it now." The stewards intimated that if they had to pay that amount they might as well pay it then as at any other time. Mr. Fletcher then said, "I don't want the crown' now, shall not while I live, but I mean to have one by-and-by."

[ocr errors]

My old neighbour, when not "planned out," worshipped at a small chapel to which I was taken when very young. The large elevated singing pews were certainly disproportionate to the size of the chapel; the occupants of the singing pews and the style of singing then practised were sources of great annoyance to Mr. Fletcher. Part-singing and fuguing in public worship he abhorred; some of the occupants of the singing pews had scarcely a moral character, and perhaps some of the instrumentalists had as little devotion about them as the clarionets and basoons that figured so prominently. Mr. Fletcher complained to and expostulated with his brother officials repeatedly on singing-pew matters, but was generally overruled. On one Sabbath, however, his patience and forbearance gave way. A man of more than doubtful morals was making his way towards the singing pew carrying a crooked musical instrument called a serpent"; this was too much for Mr. Fletcher to endure. Stepping to the end of the singing pew and preventing further progress, he said, "Stop, stop, my man, one devil at once is plenty."

[ocr errors]

Statements and remarks made by some persons are tolerated, and indeed well received, which if made by others would be considered highly reprehensible. I cannot account for the fact, but so it is. Of the former class was my old neighbour, who I doubt not has long ago received his crown."

J. W.

Connexional Department.

OPENING OF A NEW CHAPEL AT BREASTON,
DERBY CIRCUIT.

SERVICES in connection with the dedication of the new chapel were held as under, when the following ministers preached :-Sunday, October 31, 1875, afternoon, Rev. J. Poxon; evening, Rev. J. Stacey, D.D. Sunday, November 7th, afternoon, Rev. J. Medicraft; evening, Rev. J. Hudston. On Monday, November 8th, a tea-meeting was held. The chair was taken by George H. Ford, Esq. The report was read by Mr. Poxon, and

[graphic][subsumed][ocr errors]

addresses were delivered by the Revs. J. Hudston, J. Medicraft, and J. Orme, and Mr. T. Dally.

It was in the year of grace 1803 that the old chapel was built. The building was very small in its dimensions, and without any pretensions to architectural beauty. It was, however, a favourite place with many of the early ministers of the Connexion. Though it has had a chequered history, it has answered the purpose of its erection well. Within its walls many a victory has been obtained over the powers of darkness, many a trophy added to the cross of Christ, and many a gem placed in the Redeemer's crown. The Society worshipping within its walls has furnished some precious

contributions to the rich obituary of Methodism. That is a beautiful instance of Christian biography, the memoir of Hannah Hunt, written by the Rev. John Hilton, and there are many more to be found in the chronicles of our Church. The old place, however, has seen its day. More than seventy years old, it began to show signs of weakness and decay. It will be preserved to the Connexion, and be used as a Sunday school and for week-night preaching.

About ten years since a desire sprang up in the congregation for a better edifice. Some of the friends thought the time was come to arise and build. They thought they heard the sound in the tops of the mulberry trees, and that it was a sign from heaven that they must bestir themselves. But they found they were in error; they mistook their own fervent wishes for the true sign. Still good seed was sown, and the first failure nerved them to higher aims and greater activity. Delay was overruled for good in many ways. By putting off the time to a more convenient season, the best site in the village has been obtained, the model deed has been adopted in settling the chapel, and much larger subscriptions have been given.

In February, 1874, the congregation and trustees resolved that a building fund should be originated, that land should be bought, and that a chapel should be erected. Collectors were appointed, and in a few days the sum of £400 was promised. An extensive plot of land in a fine situation was purchased at a high price, and it has been invested in twenty trustees according to the provisions of the model deed. A. H. Goodall, Esq., architect, of Nottingham, son of the late Rev. G. Goodall, was instructed to prepare designs, which were approved, and the work was left to Mr. W. Bailey, of Sandiacre.

On the 7th of June last nine memorial-stones were laid in the presence of hundreds of spectators. The occasion was indeed a red-letter day in this quiet old village. A brief account of the proceedings appeared in the Magazine for August, 1875. Under the direction of Mr. Goodall the building has progressed rapidly, and has been completed without accident either to life or limb; and it is universally admitted to be one of the prettiest chapels in the district.

The opening services have been attended by very large congregations. The writer felt deeply moved when requested by the trustees to preach the first sermon in this beautiful house of God in his native place.

Dr. Stacey's sermon will long be remembered, and to burdened spirits will yield comfort for many days to come.

Mr. Medicraft's discourse was an eloquent proclamation of the grand old doctrine which is the foundation of all our religious hopes, and it pointed out to all inquirers the only way to God and heaven; and Mr. Hudston's fervent and tender invitation to come to God and to the church, and to heaven, was a beautiful finish to the dedicatory services, and I think his persuasive appeals to their intellects and hearts could not fail to induce some to accept of the invitation.

It is a pleasant thing to be able to say that all the subscriptions recorded below have been paid; that not a single collection at the opening failed, but far exceeded our expectations; and that all the sittings which are available are already let. And now we most fervently and anxiously pray that God's blessing may be given to the undertaking, for without His blessing nothing is good and nothing will prosper.

The following are the subscriptions:

£120, Mr. H. Plackett; £100, Rev. J. Poxon; £50, Mr. W. Plackett; £25 each, Mr. J. Plackett, Mrs. Felton, Mr. W. Straw; £20, Mr. H. Plackett, junr.; £10, Mr. J. Thompson; £5 5s., Mr. H. Hudston; £5 each, Dr. Andrew, Mr. T. Astle, Mr. W. Whiteley, Mr. L. Macdonald, Mr. A. H. Goodall, A Friend per Rev. J. Poxon, J. Hind and Sons, Mr. S. Plackett, Mr. J. Stevenson, Mr. J. Stevenson, Mr. M. Plackett, junr., Mr. J. Woodward, Mr. R. Gamble; £3 each, Mr. S. Walker, Mr. H. Stevenson, Mr. S. Stevenson, junr; £2 23., Mr. Fulton; £2 each, Mr. A. Wallis, T. W.

41

Evans, M.P., Miss Freason, Mrs. G. Abbott, Mr. S. Burton, Mr. J. Plackett, Mr. W. Plackett; £1 15s., Mr. W. Walker; £1 1s. each, Mr. W. Brown, Mr. L. Plackett, Avrill and Smith, Thorp and Co.; £1 each, Mr. Dalby, Mr. Bradbury, Mr. M. Plackett, senr., Mr. J. Plackett, Mr. T. Smeeton, Mr. Bains, Mr. B. Johnson, Mr. H. Kent, Mrs. A. Taylor, Mr. C. Hutchinson, Mr. A. Plackett, Mr. F. Dunn, Mr. G. Davies, Mr. R. Bancroft, Mr. T. Straw, Mr. E. Straw, Miss E. Straw, Mr. H. Flint, Mr. J. Fearfield, Mr. F. Piggin, Mr. J. Booth, Mr. Harrison, Mr. Sisson, Mr. W. Fletcher, A Friend, Mr. S. Thompson, Mr. Hallam, Mr. Palmer, Mr. R. S. Piggin, Mr. T. Parker, Mr. H. Harriman, Mr. White; 15s., Mr. J. Orme; 10s. 6d., Mr. F. Swift; 10s. each, Rev. John Hudston, Mr. T. Dally, Mr. W. Stevenson, junr., Mr. Bailey, Mr. Ford, Mr. Mansfield, J. P. W., C. H. B. and Co., Mr. J. Brown, W. and J. King, Mr. J. Lancashire, Mrs. Eden, Miss Eden, Mr. G. Eden, Mr. J. Eden, Mr. H. Eden, Mr. J. Cloak, Mr. U. Gamble, Miss A. Plackett, Mr. J. Hazledine, senr., Miss A. Wallis, Mr. W. Allin, Mr. S. Leech, Roe and Son, Miss E. Flint, Mr. W. Kent, Mr. W. Harriman, Mr. Mellor, Mr. H. Wallis, a Friend, and Mr. Barton; sums under 10s. each, £9 10s.

At the ceremony of laying the memorial-stones the following gifts were placed upon them :

£20, Rev. John Poxon; £5 each, Mr. H. Plackett, Mr. J. Plackett, Mrs. Felton, Mr. H. Plackett, junr., Mr. W. Plackett, Mr. W. Straw; £3, Miss Freason; £1 1s., Mr. J. Woodward; £1 each, Mrs. Poxon, Alice Jane Poxon, Mary Emma Poxon, Mr. G. Hind, Mr. Baggaley, Mr. Lewis Plackett, Mr. F. Plackett, Mr. J. Hazledine; 10s. 6d., J. W. Plackett; 10s., Mrs. Lydia Plackett, Mrs. H. Plackett, junr., Mrs. Groves, Miss M. Plackett, Miss H. Dolman

All the scholars in our Sunday school, with few exceptions, gave something on this happy occasion. When the envelopes they put upon the stones were opened, their contributions amounted to £7 1s. 73d. The collections and tea-meeting produced £37 8s. 10d., including £5 from George Goodall, Esq., the chairman. Three tea-meetings added £34 5s. Old. to the building fund.

The collections at the opening of the chapel, with the proceeds of the tea-meeting and a few small donations, amounted to about £100.

The entire outlay of the undertaking, including the land, boundary walls, &c., will be about £1250 or £1300; and the total amount already received is £795 10s. 7d.

The following description of the chapel has been supplied by the architect:

The chapel has been erected in the Gothic style, the effect being much increased by its being set back nearly 40 feet from the street. Adjoining the street is a dwarf wall with iron railing and gates of very ornamental description.

Three lancet windows form the chief feature of the front, to right and left of which are projecting porches, with external and internal Gothicheaded doorways. Over the windows on a band of stone is the inscription, The front and in the gable a circular ventilator with quatrefoil tracery. windows, doorways, and ventilator have moulded brick arches over same, with moulded stone labels and carved bosses. The gables of porches and main gable of front are surmounted with chamfered stone coping, moulded corbels, and apex stones, and at main apex is an iron finial of ornamental character. Moulded red bricks and Staffordshire blue bricks have been freely used in giving effect to front and sides of building. The sides are divided by buttresses into four bays, each having coupled lancet windows. At the rear of chapel are situated a commodious vestry, heating apparatus chamber, &c.

The interior of chapel is well lighted by the windows before described, together with three lancet windows in back gable over pulpit; below them is a moulded string-course with ornamental bosses at ends. The pulpit

42

HANLEY.

is of platform description, with ample room for four or five occupants. The pulpit-desk is supported by pierced and chamfered traceried woodwork, filled in at back with crimson cloth, and at sides there are iron standards of elaborate design, and similar standards to the mahogany communion-rail, all of which are appropriately painted and gilded. At one side of pulpit is the door to vestry, which is covered with green baize, relieved by brass-headed nails fixed to pattern. The wall at back of pulpit is broken up by a 43-inch recess with splayed Gothic arch over.

The seats are open benches, divided by two aisles into three blocks, those at sides being placed angle-wise, in order to give better view of pulpit. The whole of interior woodwork has been stained and varnished. The roof is partly open, and is carried by three pairs of principals with braces, &c., all wrought and chamfered, and resting on moulded stone corbels projecting from side walls. From the principals are suspended six pendants, which, with two brackets at each end, light the chapel very effectually.

Ample ventilation is obtained by means of circular openings with moulded rims in ceiling, filled in with perforated zinc, and having small doors over same which may be opened and closed at pleasure by cords and pulleys. There are also ten casements to the windows which may be opened when desired in a similar manner. adopted by the trustees, and answers its purpose admirably. Haden's heating apparatus has been

It affords

The internal dimensions of the chapel are 49 feet long by 31 feet wide, 14 feet 6 inches high to wall-plate, and 23 feet high in centre. comfortable accommodation for 250 persons.

[We cannot insert the above without recording the pleasure we had in visiting on so interesting an occasion the scenes of our early life. Old familiar faces were certainly wanting, but we had an illustration of the cheering sentiment, that if God buries His workmen He still carries on His work. The chapel is indeed an ornament to the village, and reflects credit on the architect and builder; while the liberal contributions towards its erection awaken both our gratitude and surprise. We cordially congratulate the Rev. J. Poxon on his having the opportunity, ability, and disposition to do for the good of his native village what he has done in securing the erection of such an edifice for the worship of God and the fellowship of His people.-EDITOR.]

LIQUIDATION OF DEBT ON BETHESDA CHAPEL, HANLEY. FROM intimation given in the Annual Report of the Chapel Committee our friends throughout the Connexion will have been apprised that vigorous efforts have been made during the last few years to reduce the heavy debt burdening our fine premises at Hanley. We have delayed reporting progress until the efforts were happily completed, but several esteemed friends think that it would be a great encouragement to publish how we are getting on in this noble movement.

There was a mortgage on the trust estate of £3000, and £200 due on note of hand, making a total of £3200, which it was proposed to extinguish. My esteemed predecessor, the Rev. W. Wilshaw, did much to promote the effort. Several tentative propositions were made by excellent brethren, but the response not being sufficiently encouraging the thing fell through, until Mr. James Dudson came forward, and very generously proffered that if the trustees would raise £1000 he would give £100 towards it, and in fact, £100 for every thousand up to the entire extinction of the debt above described. This was just the kind of offer that was needed to elicit enthusiasm, and I scarcely need say that our friends at Hanley have liberally responded. When I was appointed to this Circuit I found that,

« PreviousContinue »