'THIS AMIABLE FAMILY by Rev. David Leese
This is a new study, which was presented at the Wesley Historical Society, East Midlands, meeting on Saturday 3rd April 2004.
We provide the main text (rtf) of this study here after the presentation, by kind permission of the author.
Copyright remains the property of Rev. David Leese. This text to be used for private study purposes only, and any quotations should be fully acknowledged.
HUGH BOURNE AND THE DEAKINS OF RUSHTON
In the parish records of Rushton Spencer and Horton are the family records of the Deakin and Harvey families. Two families who intermarried, and who lived from the end of the eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth centuries at Ashmore House and Pecks House at Rushton James (the only two Rushton homes named in the Bourne journal) . This was part of what has been described as an ecclesiastical no mans land on the common fringes of the Burslem and Leek Wesleyan circuits. (Werner page 64)
The personal experiences of life and faith are brought alive and offer an insight into the origins of Primitive Methodism by the fact that their lives are interwoven with that of the founder of Primitive Methodism, Hugh Bourne. This is recorded in his detailed journal, with frequent visits to the family, and their growth in faith - an example of the Primitive Methodist practice of cottage meetings, and regular family visitation. Additionally in his 1856 biography of Hugh Bourne, John Walford (Bournes nephew ) comments on the welcome Bourne received from the Deakins.
|Importance of Rushton and the family
Rushton was a significant location, not only on a Brown Edge, Lask Edge Rushton preaching tour near to Bournes own home at Bemersley, but also apparently often on his route back from Ramsor, and the Derbyshire villages. Ashmore House itself was graced with the most influential of the earliest Primitive Methodist preachers, no other than Hugh Bourne, James Bourne, and James Crawfoot ( e.g. 9th May 1811 of James Crawfoot He preached at Ashmore House-we had a wonderful time.) Further in the difficult early years of the Connexion, though Cloud was not free from internal disagreement, referred to as jangling in the society in 1813, it was a recurring source of encouragement. On 20.8.1813 Bourne called at Cloud and was comforted among the people, 29.4.1814 much edified among the people, 1.7.1814 a precious time. And 22.7.1813 at Ashmore House I was much refreshed, at this house. Numerically there were only a few in society, so that when Hugh Bourne renewed the tickets on 14 March 1820, there were only twelve in society at Cloud.
This account of the Deakin and Harvey families arises from their role in the origin of Primitive Methodism. Not only does the Deakin family regularly feature in High Bournes journal, but their surprisingly high profile appears to be at least in part because their conversion, and their subsequent commitment to the infant Primitive Methodist Connexion was due directly to the personal labours of James and Hugh Bourne. Therefore in the first volumes of the Primitive Methodist magazine this one family has two of the earliest memoirs, those of the mother Mrs Rebecca Deakin and her second youngest daughter, Mary. Throughout the disparate and energetic life of the young Primitive Methodist Connexion the fact of a published memoir reflects not only a worthy life and edifying death, ( of these there must have been many) but especially the presence of a preacher or leader able to write and secure the publication of such a memoir. The two Bournes were eminently able to publish memoirs of people they had known, in a magazine printed at Bemersley.
|Reasons for the involvement of the family.
Why did the connection with Ashmore house and the Deakins develop? No authoritative reason has yet been identified but it is probably a combination of the following:
|The Deakin Family
Our knowledge of this family is incomplete. We know that Joseph Deakin had married Rebecca Reynolds, the daughter of Joseph and Mary Reynolds of Seighford, and that Rebecca had been born in 1752. Her memoir states that after she had been in service she and Joseph lived in several situations, and then settled on a farm called Lane End, in Rushton. After some years they removed to Ashmore House in the same parish. Joseph died November 5th 1831, whilst at New House, Rushton, also the place of Rebeccas death.
They had twelve children, of whom within the records of Primitive Methodism it is the two youngest who are the most important. However the story of the family is the story of their journeyings in Cheshire till 1778/79 then in Staffordshire. The children were as follows:
Of this family we learn that Rebecca, together with her two youngest daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, and also two of her sons and their wives formed a Primitive Methodist Class at Cloud. Given that in1820 there were only twelve members (according to Bournes journal) it would appear that even given the fact of Marys early death, the Deakin family alone formed half of the Cloud membership. Additionally Mary and Elizabeth took pastoral care for the members, and Elizabeth quickly became a local preacher.
|Ashmore House, a preaching place
Hugh Bournes memoir of Mary Deakin records that at about the time when the two sisters were converted, their parents opened their door for the preaching of the gospel: and, among others, the labours in the ministry of my brother James Bourne, were much owned of the Lord in their house.
Bournes journal records that on Thursday 25th April 1811 having missioned Brown Edge, both James and Hugh Bourne preached at the Ashmore House, and we had four set at liberty. Rebeccas obituary links in with this fact, for she was, it records one of the four set at liberty. It states, In the spring of the year 1811 James Bourne preached repeatedly at the Ashmore House. Rebecca was greatly affected under his ministry, and on account of her deafness requested him to give her something in writing to direct her in the way of salvation. Hugh Bourne wrote a statement of the doctrines of the gospel, and towards the end of April he accompanied James Bourne to the Ashmore House. Rebecca was then fully brought into the way of the Lord, and subsequently a class was raised up with Rebecca, Mary and Elizabeth, to be joined by two of her sons, and their wives.
On Monday July 22 1811 Bourne noted James Bourne and James Crawfoot went to The Cloud and Ashmore House, and had a wonderful time, and again on Sunday July 28, I was at the Cloud with James Marsh. We had a wonderful time at prayer meeting, -- in the afternoon I preached at Ashmore House- the people were nearly all in tears. We stopped at the Ashmore House all night.
Walford adds the following footnote The family of Mr Deakin lived at Ashmore House. There the two Bournes always met with a kind reception, and they were made useful to some of the young people: and we are happy to say that Primitive Methodism still lives in the descendants of this amiable family, particularly in Mrs Harvey, the wife of Mr George Harvey , of Broomhall, who is a staunch friend and supporter of the good cause.
The individual members of the family are not normally mentioned in Bournes journal, rather it was typically described as a visit to the Dakins at Ashmore House. In June 1811 Bourne recorded Sunday June 2nd, I was at Cloud; we had a precious time; in the afternoon I preached at the Ashmore house, and the Lord granted me the desire of my heart; it was a glorious time, and one was brought into liberty. The exception to this is the entry for Thursday May 20th 1813, where the journal entries are in full harmony with the later records of the family, Mary ill for over a year till her death, and the spiritual progress of both the sisters:
I had a conversation with William Allcock and then set out for Ashmore House. They are going on well at Ashmore House, especially Betty and Mary Dakin. Poor Mary is under heavily bodily affliction but strong in grace. They told me of a young man named Bayley who died lately at the Pecks house. He died very triumphantly and last Sunday my brother James preached his funeral sermon. There has also been a very triumphant death of a boy who lived with Dakins last year and left at Christmas.
The two youngest members of the family were Mary, and Elizabeth, (presumably the Betty to whom Hugh Bourne refers in his journal). It is Mary who is often referred to through her illness, so that on 13.6.1813 she was much afflicted, 22.7.1813 Poor Mary Dakin is a little recovering. O Lord bless her. And 3.10.1813 MD is recovering. Mary however died in August 1814, and the Primitive Methodist magazine 1822 records for four years she was a most eminent pattern of piety; she adorned the doctrine of God her Saviour in all things; she died in much peace. When Hugh Bourne initiated the Primitive Methodist magazine in 1819, even though Mary had died five years before, there is her memoir, Volume 1, 1819, page 121. This is one of the first P.M. obituary accounts, a pattern for others to follow!
A pattern because as Hugh Bourne described it, whilst God has raised up witnesses to the praise to the glory of his grace, through persevering zeal, laborious piety, unfeigned faith, and pious example among such witnesses Mary Dakin sustained an eminent rank.
Marys memoir records that at start of 1811 a prayer meeting was held at Cloud, and how she, and, nearly at the same time Elizabeth were both set at liberty.
Bourne wrote From that time they two exemplified the 133Psalm. Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!- -the two sisters possessed the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace, upon which the Lord giveth the blessing even life for evermore.
It is stated in the 1819 memoir that part of the care of the society at Cloud seemed to devolve upon the care of these two sisters, and Mary was truly as a mother among them she appeared constantly in birth for the welfare of the society.
She is said to have had one text peculiarly written on her heart, namely In every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God and, whether in the affairs of the world or religion this Bourne says, she did.
Mary entered service when her parents retired from farming, but she suffered a weakness and lameness which confined her over a year. She died in August 1814, and for her memoir, Elizabeth wrote a short afterthought concluding with the thought, Like Jeremiah she often prayed; Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.
The effect on the family psyche appears to have been very significant, for there are three Mary Deakins' featuring in the baptismal records of Rushton parish church. They are:
January 1815: Mary daughter of William and Elizabeth, of Pecks House.
10.September 1815:Mary daughter of Thomas and Phoebe of Ashmore House.
15 September 1816: Mary daughter of Charles and Mary of Nether lea.
Was the reason for this popularity of this name due to Marys influence upon the family? One of these Marys who was the niece of Elizabeth, also became her sister in law, as a Mary Deakin married John Harvey of The Rails farm, (the brother of George Harvey, and Elizabeths future husband). Unfortunately on Mary Harveys death on 2 June 1858 the certificate gives her age only as 45 years, pointing to a date of birth in 1813. Given that Charles and Mary had daughters Elizabeth in 1812, Rebecca in 1814, and then a Mary in 1816 it would not appear that their Mary married John Harvey. It would appear probable that the future Mrs Mary Harvey was the daughter of William and Elizabeth.
The other members of the family married in their youth, but Elizabeth remained at the family home, preaching and looking after her father. At Josephs death in 1831, living at the New House, Rushton James, his will decreed an all equal with one another policy for the eight children surviving into maturity, except only in regard to my daughter Elizabeth to whom I give a further and independent legacy or sum of £20 over and above such her share, in consideration of her having continued to live with me and wait on me in my old age.
We know that Joseph and Rebecca Deakin had a family of twelve, six sons and six daughters, and whilst baptismal records are incomplete, eight survived into maturity, with the first being baptised at Astbury Cheshire, and eight being baptised at Rushton Spencer. The youngest two were Mary, baptised 4.7.1791, and Elizabeth 3.11.1793. It was Elizabeth who as the youngest daughter of the large family may have been the one set at liberty in 1811, for Bourne records her having preached at the Cloud Camp meeting, writing on May 10th 1814 At night I spoke at Ashmore House near the Cloud. Elizabeth D(e)akin preached at the Cloud last Tuesday for the first time, she did well. C.F. On July 25th 1809 James and Hugh Bourne had heard Elizabeth Evans (Dinah Morris of George Eliots Adam Bede) preach at Wooton, and were impressed that she got well into the power and she appears to be as fully devoted to God as any woman I ever met with. O Lord help her and establish her.1811 Bourne had prayed for women preachers-And I suppose the Lord will raise up some women. Later in 1818, on May 18th he refers to Elizabeth Deakin having preached well at a Norton meeting.
In the memoir of Mary Deakin, Hugh Bourne refers to the fact that during the time of Marys affliction (summer 1813 to summer 1814) Elizabeth was called upon to speak in public, and soon after took regular appointments. Mary was very desirous to hear her sister preach, therefore to accommodate her, a meeting was appointed at their fathers house. Elizabeth thought it a trial; but Mary was satisfied, and approved of her sisters course.
In his History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, H B Kendall refers to the journal of James Bonsor (Methodist minister, converted Kinoulton 1817, in active ministry only from 1819 to 1825) where it is recorded for November 5th 1820,
At nine renewed the tickets at Congleton to twenty-four members. At eleven I preached in the open air. At two, Elizabeth Dakin preached and opened the room they have taken. It was a good time. It was full, and the room above was nearly full. The Lord poured His Spirit down. Sinners were awakened, and cried for mercy. (Page 541).
Kendal continues to identify the Elizabeth Dakin as of Ashmore House near the Cloud. He describes her: She was one of the early protégées of Hugh Bourne. He continues to observe that her initials could be picked out from the anonymous sisterhood at the bottom of the 1819 plan, that in 1835 her name is the first on the plan of the Macclesfield and Congleton Union Circuit, and that she continued for many years a successful local preacher.
Her development as a preacher is demonstrated by her engagements on the Tunstall Primitive Methodist Circuit plans. On the plan for May July 1819 she appears to be the exhorter ED no 83, part of the anonymous sisterhood as described by Kendall above. On that plan she was planned at The Cloud only on June 27th, at 10 and 2.30. By July to October 1825 she appears as a preacher, no 14, E Dakin, with appointments at Dunwood on 14 August at 2, Biddulph Moor 28 August at 2, Cloud 9 October at 2, and Dunwood 16 October at 2. Later in January to April 1836, after the death of her father, she is listed as E Deakin, Lask Edge, ( c.f. some earlier plans list her as E Deakin the Cloud) with two appointments at Brown Edge on 24 January at 3, and Norton on 20 March at 2. Her father Joseph had died in November 1831, and following his death and the sale of his house as directed in his will, Elizabeth would have had to move, hence the change of her address to Lask Edge, possibly to The Rails farm, which was her address at her marriage.
Kendall notes that before the building of Cloud chapel in 1815 the preaching took place at Woodhouse Green, (picture Volume 1, page 126) a quarter of a mile off, in the big parlour of a farmhouse wherein the Baptists had been used to worship until the society became so reduced that the room was offered to our evangelists.
|Elizabeth marries George Harvey.
Elizabeth would have been a young lady of 21 ( c.f. Sarah Kirkland an Itinerant PM preacher who was on the plan at 19) when she responded to the call to preach and commenced preaching in the open air, at a camp meeting. The Primitive Magazine Obituary of her husband in March 1861 describes her as a successful local preacher in our Connexion, and who had been so, almost from its commencement. The same obituary gives details of how she married George Harvey, who was at that time a member of the Wesleyan Methodist society at Gratton. George Harvey was a farmer living at Blackwood Hill, and the Harvey family had been greatly influenced by Georges father William opening his house for preaching, such services were in the words of Georges connexional biography not only --a blessing to George, but to almost, if not the whole family-leading to their ultimate conversion. The services were led by the Anglican vicar of Horton who, was also a member of the Wesleyan Methodist society, and a namesake, being the Rev George Harvey. J B Dyson in his history of Wesleyan Methodism in the Leek circuit records how Rev G Harvey having been associated with the Wesleyans at Warrington joined the society at Harracles Mill, on his move to Horton. In his history of the Congleton circuit Dyson notes of Rev G Harvey on his removal to Horton near Leek, he entered into still closer union with the society by becoming a member. He gratefully enjoyed the peculiar means of grace which Methodism supplies, and heartily co-operated in its advancement. Rev George Harvey contributed a letter to the connexional biography of George Harvey his dear old friend and namesake.
This obituary was written by Thomas Bateman, a local preacher of Wrenbury Cheshire, and as a twice President of the Primitive Methodist Conference in 1857 and 1867 therefore a national figure in the connexion. He had also been a fellow preacher on the Tunstall plan, so that in 1836 whilst Elizabeth was preacher no 11, Thomas Bateman was no 71, one of the two Burland Preachers.
The obituary related George Harveys membership of the Wesleyan society at Gratton: During his membership with that church, he met with Miss E Dakinand while listening to the word of life proclaimed by her, the inward resolve was made that, she being willing, they would unite their future destinies, and fight the battle of life together. After the usual preliminaries, the union was effected on the 3rd day of October, 1837. The records state that the marriage took place at Horton on 3 October 1837. Her niece Mary had already married John Harvey of Horton, and farmed at The Rails farm, Horton Hay. John and Mary were at this address by at least 1835 when on the 26 June they buried their four month old son John, and the address was recorded in the burial register. In 1837 Elizabeth at 43, married John Harveys elder brother George who was 34. Both were unmarried, both were farmers (of Blackwood Hill and The Rails, Horton Hay), and both were recorded as of full age.
It therefore appears that at least at some time following the death of her father, Elizabeth moved to live with her niece Mary Harvey, possibly to help with her young nephews, William born 1833, and George 1836.
It is suggested by John Munsey Turner that Wesleyan Methodism was a religion for the poor, but that Primitive Methodism was a religion of the poor. The background of tenant farming of the two families is somewhat different from this picture, with both Elizabeth and George displaying their literacy on documents, and in the obituary written by Gorge below. The 1851 census records George Harvey as a farmer of 220 acres employing four labourers and two boys, though this would reflect the fact that he had no children. The details are as follows:
1851 Census: Oak Farm Broomhall
We know that in 1835 with the purchase of land for a new Wesleyan chapel at Endon, George Harvey of Blackwood Hill was involved in the support of the transaction. Here two years later he marries a Primitive Methodist neighbour, and a relative by marriage. The 1861 PM Connexional Biography stated Mr Harvey was far too manly to require Miss D to renounce her church membership, and leave the people of her early choice. It was therefore decided that as Providence had to fix their lot and the bounds of their habitation, their future residence being alike unknown to both, they would join that people, whether Wesleyan or Primitive, whose place of worship was nearest their own dwelling.
|Move to Cheshire
They then left Horton, first for Dove House farm near Wybunbury, Cheshire (located a mile south of Hough), there joining with the Wesleyans, and then in 1845 to the 214/220 acre Oak Farm, Broomhall, ( the first farm on the left off the Nantwich to Whitchurch Road) with the Primitives. Both farms were major concerns in the locality, for example the Oak farm had a nine bay barn. In moving to the Burland circuit they were neighbours of John Walford, Bournes biographer, who resided at Hatherton, in the same circuit. Kendall notes on their removal to Oak farm, Broomhall, in 1845, they were numbered among the influential of the Burland circuit.
This is shown by the visit Bourne paid to Oak Farm: Wednesday 28 April 1847: Mr Harvey: Oak Farm Broomhall. At night I preached from Acts xv1. 8 40 with good liberty. Mr Harveys house was filled. Secondly the PM magazine for March 1858 named Mr G Harvey of the Burland circuit and thanked him for the work he had done. Thirdly George Harvey himself wrote an obituary for the PM Magazine published in the October 1860 edition. It was for Ellen Weaver of Broomhall who had died 12.3. 1860, ( possibly the wife of my Waggoner John Weaver who was left £50 in his will, and the John Weaver who registered George Harveys death on the basis of the qualification of being present at the death). The obituary tells that Ellen with her husband had joined the PM class at Sound Heath, (she is probably the Mrs Weaver referred to in the 1858 account of Missionary box collections in the Burland circuit, when she had collected £2 10s 3d):
She was mostly confined to her room for the last four months, and on the Wednesday before she died she sent for us. Thinking her end was near, I and my wife went and found her very ill - - about six hours before she departed, my wife, her husband, and her mother being present, she lifted up her hands, and clapped them together in token of victory, and went to be for ever with the Lord.
George Harveys obituary states that on his removal to Broomhall in 1845 he joined the class of William Smith of Sound-heath, whose death was reported the P.M. magazine 1854. Typically the memoir does not give the social background, but emphasises Williams commitment to the class. So the context of this Primitive Methodist class was one where the leader was punctual in his attendance and pointed in his exhortations; and if he did not personally visit the absentees as he should, if any one strayed, his whole soul seemed to follow the wanderer. He always bore his members on his heart before the Lord and their respect fro him was great.
A picture is therefore painted of a very close Primitive Methodist community working , worshipping, living and dying together, often irrespective of social status.
George Harvey was put on the plan as a local preacher later in life, being one of the circuit leaders. Accordingly the obituary noted that he had fallen ill after presiding at a tea meeting at Sandbach , and as a preacher through failing heath he could take but few appointments.
|Mr and Mrs George Harvey
The picture of the Harvey home is one where Unity prevailed in the family, and a holy influence rested on their habitation. As a Christian he was a man of deep piety, of constant earnest prayer; there are but few more devoted. He was also an abstainer from intoxicating drinks and gave proof to his neighbours that all agricultural work could be performed more satisfactorily without than with these stimulantsHe was a man of prayer. At home he had stated and frequent seasons for private supplications at the throne of grace, both I and others have often found his house to be a gate of heaven.
The obituary account for Ellen Weaver is almost unique in the primitive Methodist magazine. Many refer to the husband or wife of the writer, but the 1860 memoir emphasises George and Elizabeths joint working, and the sharing of the pastoral burden, the matter of fact I and my wife went. So John Walfords description of This Amiable family appears to have been correct, and so too with his description of Elizabeth as A staunch friend and supporter of the cause.
Unfortunately for Elizabeth herself , there was no privilege of a Connexional Biography in the annual magazine.
Further information from archives still needs to be collected. Any further information or comments would be welcome.
|Rev. David Leese: 8.4.04 ©
E-mail care of Rewlach web site
Maps (to be drawn, for general guidance and explanation)
General Maps and Diagrams folder
|Full Introduction||Books Archive||Site Plan||Latest Pages||Links||Copyright||Home|
20 July 2004