John Gawthrop

Sunday’s Obituary – John Gawthrop (1853-1924)

I first wrote about John Gawthrop last October.  He is my 1st cousin 2x removed.

John became a Wesleyan Minister and since last October I discovered that the Methodist archives are held at the John Ryland’s University Library in Manchester.  I did some research about the material held at the library.  Unfortunately there are no records of John’s sermons or any other personal papers.

However I was able to access his entry in the Methodist Who’s Who.  I was also able to get a list of all the places he served as a minister from something called the Hill’s Arrangements.  Finally I was able to obtain a copy of his obituary from the 1924 Methodist Conference minutes.

The library have strict rules about using the material from the archives.  Whilst I was permitted to photograph the documents I am not allowed to publish or share them.  I can however transcribe the documents.

According to the Hill’s Arrangements published in 1922 show that John began his ministry in 1886 and finished in 1922.  Here is the list of all the places he worked.

Year Place Length of time
1886 Halifax 3 years
1889 Bedford 3 years
1892 Coventry 3 years
1895 Louth 3 years
1898 Leeds Mission 1 year
1899 Kirkby Stephen 4 years
1903 Huntingdonshire Misc. 4 years
1907 Louth 3 years
1910 Gainsborough 3 years
1913 Gloucester 6 years
1919 Bristol 3 years
1922 Huntingdonshire Misc.

The John Ryland’s library have a 1914 copy of the Methodist Who’s Who and I was able to photograph the entry for John Gawthrop.  I also found the 1912 Who’s Who at www.archive.org which I was able to download as a PDF document.

John died on 19 May 1924 and his obituary is recorded in the minutes of the Methodist Conference held later that year.

Obituary

John Gawthrop: born at Cowling in Yorkshire in 1853.  His conversion filled him with an intense love for every kind of Christian evangelism.  He became a local preacher, and for six years served as a Lay Evangelist.  He was accepted as a Candidate, and after a term at Headingley College entered the Ministry in 1886.  He served six years as District Evangelist, and throughout his life spent himself utterly in the work of saving souls.  His name is held dear by very many in all parts of the country whom he led to Christ.  In 1922 he was obliged to retire through ill-health to Great Paxton, near St. Neots.  He was unable to preach, but loved God’s house greatly.  His light burned and shone even in his affliction.  The last months were spent in much pain till on May 19, 1924, he passed home in the seventy-second year of his age and the thirty-eighth of his ministry.

I am glad that I have been able to find out a bit more about John and to share it with you.

Amanuensis Monday – Preacher John Gawthrop

Religion in the village of Cowling, West Yorkshire is likely to be the subject of a future post.   However it provides me with something to write about for Amanuensis Monday this week.   My Dawson ancestry is firmly rooted in Cowling.   My 2xgreat grandfather, John Dawson married Ellen Gawthrop on 8th April 1844 in the Parish Church of Kildwick.

So I am connected to John Gawthrop by marriage. He is my 1st cousin 3x removed.

John was born c1853 and he married Elizabeth Thornton in 1890.   As far as I have been able to determine they had at least two children – Elsie and John.

On the 1871 census John was living with his parents and working as a weaver.   In 1881 he was still with his parents but his occupation had changed to a local mission preacher.   By 1891 John was away doing mission work and he and Elizabeth are shown as visitors at an address in Gravenhurst, Bedfordshire.   His occupation is shown as Wesleyan Minister. In 1901 John, Elizabeth and their two children were living in Kirkby Stephen, Cumberland.

I guess it’s a sign of how much they moved about the country that Elsie was born c1892 in Northampton and John was born c1896 in Foleshill, Warwickshire.

OK, that just about sets the scene!

John became active as a preacher during the period known as Revivalism. These revivial services were well attended and John was a regular and popular preacher at the Ickornshaw Chapel.   This article refers to John as:-

a typical product of the revivalist era and whose unorthodox methods and powerful personality made him one of the most successful mission workers of his day.   He gained a high place in the Wesleyan ministry, conducting several large missions in various cities and serving as pastor of important churches throughout the country”.

This article from the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald of November 2000 includes a look back to 100 years ago and tells the story of John speaking in Kirkby Stephen and complaining that “there were no young men in the Wesleyan societies.   At Dent Head, Blencarn and Milburn, where he had just held missions, there was not a single young man and scarcely a young woman to be seen.   It was a shame that the devil should have the cream of the young people”.

I get the impression that John was a bit of firebrand and I would love to be able to get copies of some of his sermons if they still exist.   Writing this post has motivated me to see if the Methodist Church have any records remaining of John Gawthrop and his work.   So I may be talking about him again if I am successful.