Benjamin Gawthrop is my 1st cousin 3x removed. Our common ancestors are my 3x great grandparents Martin Gawthrop and Ann Kighley. Benjamin is the son of Benjamin Gawthrop and Elizabeth Eastwood. He is also the cousin of John Gawthrop who I have written about here and here.
Benjamin was born on 10 August 1869 at Trawden in Lancashire. I have found him on the census returns for 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901.
In 1891 Benjamin is living at 3 Heath Street, Burnley, Lancashire and is described as a ‘theological student’. By 1901 he is a ‘Baptist Minister” and living at 91 Cardigan Terrace, Heaton, Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Benjamin married Jane Hargreaves in Burnley sometime in Q2 1895. They had four children
• Helen May – b. 1896
• Benjamin Clifford – b. 1899
• Annie – b. 1900 (and died as a baby)
• Robert Martin – b. 1908
On 16 April 1908 Benjamin, Jane and their three children left England. They sailed from London on the SS Orontes bound for Sydney, Australia.
Sadly Jane died after only six years in Australia.
Benjamin later married Constance Lillian Butler on 7 November 1916 in Randwick, New South Wales, Australia. At some point around 1918 Benjamin and Constance returned to England but I have not been able to establish exactly when this was. They had one son – John Richard – born 1920 in Sabden (near Burnley), Lancashire.
All three of them went back to Australia on 23 June 1927 sailing from London on the SS Barrabool to Sydney. Here’s the extract from the ship’s passenger list.
It was in Australia that Benjamin had much influence and made a big impact in the communities he served.
The Baptist Theological College of New South Wales was established in 1916 and Benjamin was a founding member of the faculty when the college opened. Here’s a link to The Baptist Recorder from July 2006 commemorating the 90th anniversary of the college’s opening. There is a brief biography about Benjamin which reads as follows:-
Gawthrop was a scholarly fellow and became the College’s first lecturer in Church History.
He came from Heaton Road church at Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, where he had been the minister from 1894. When he arrived there the membership was 60 and when he left 14 years later the number had risen to 388. It had been his first and only English church to that time. Born at Colne, Lancashire, and educated at Rawdon College.
He came to Australia to take the pulpit of the Petersham Church where he began in June 1908 and remained until April 1918 when he returned to England. He was a strong church man and wrote and preached regularly on the importance of the church, which he firmly believed was the direct creation of Christ. He considered that being a Christian meant being a member of the church. Strongly evangelical, he shared Waldock’s conviction that being called to be a preacher of the Gospel was the highest honour Christ could bestow on any man.
Both Benjamin and John Gawthrop seem to have done great work in their respective faiths. I am proud to have them as ancestors.