Ellingworth Family History

My father, William Clowes Ellingworth (1898-1960), as his middle name suggests, was a Primitive Methodist, and after Union a Methodist local preacher. He met my mother, a United Methodist, through the Barnsley branch of Christian Endeavour. His brother (1899-1969) was named Hugh Bourne. At home, they were always called respectively “Clowes” and “Bourne”.

My grandfather Frank (1873-1938), the youngest of seven children, was described as “the religious one” among them. He is said to have died shortly after returning from the Hull Methodist Conference to his home at Countesthorpe near Leicester, where he and my grandmother held missionary garden parties, and gave accommodation to a retired deaconess.

He was among other things a printer. He signed an undertaking to be responsible for my father during his seven-year apprenticeship as a lithographer. Neither my father nor my uncle Bourne wished to be taken into the family business. Perhaps my uncle’s decision had something to do with his typesetting of a hymn sheet as including the lines:

Man shall love man, with heart as pure
And fervent as the one-eyed throng

Further back it is difficult to go with certainty. The Ellingworth family, traced back long before Primitive or any other kind of Methodism to a marriage in 1575, appears in later generations to include both Primitive Methodists and Baptists. Twelve generations of them were born in Oakham, Rutland, but none is buried in the parish churchyard, suggesting that they were not notable Anglicans.

Among more distant ancestors, one John (1800-1886) emigrated voluntarily to Australia in 1839 with his wife Mary, founding a productive branch of the family including  a son William (1830-1917), a controversial Baptist elder, and by marriage William Wesley Dennis (1913-1985), his son Richard Wesley (b. 1948) and grandson Wayne Wesley (b. 1978). The choice of Christian names suggests loyalty to the Wesleyan Methodist tradition. The first Primitive Methodist church in the area was opened in 1861. The three branches of Australian Methodism united in 1902, anticipating British Methodist union by a generation.[2]

                                                                                                Paul Ellingworth (b1931)

[1] John Addington Symonds (1840-93), “These things shall be”, MHB 910, v. 5; read “young-eyed”.

[2] Andrew Lemon, Box Hill. Box Hill City Council 1978, pp. 29, 117.

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