Bennion, James (abt1833-1906)

Transcription of Obituary in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by Albert A. Birchenough

At eventide, on January 20th, 1906, Mr. James Bennion, father of the Rev. William Bennion, passed to the higher service of heaven. By his translation Shrewsbury Circuit has been deprived of one of its oldest members and most devoted local preachers. He was born some seventy-two years ago at the Salopian village of Tillstock.

His conversion took place about the year 1860, during a gospel mission that was held in the Ditherington Chapel, Shrewsbury, the lady missioner being the godly Miss Bennett of Chester.

Immediately following his conversion he joined the Castle Court Church, Shrewsbury.

Mr. Bennion was devotedly attached to the class meeting. In those days he would frequently make personal sacrifices in order that he might be present at the weekly meetings. He was fully persuaded that the old-fashioned class meeting with its spiritual atmosphere was one of the best means of grace for the development of Christian character, and for the building up of a sturdy religious manhood.

Throughout his wedded life, his wife was, in the truest sense, a helpmeet and comanion. For many years they were privileged to live together in the sacred bonds of Christian fellowship. With feelings of pardonable fatherly pride, he would frequently speak of the great honour the Lord had conferred upon him by calling his only son to the work of the Christian ministry.

The late Mr. Bennion was a lover of good books. The Bible was his daily companion and the guide of his life. He especially delighted in the reading of rich devotional works such as those of Smith of Cheltenham. Nearly to the end of his pilgrimage he kept one of these precious volumes along with the Word of God near to his pillow in order that he might refresh his hungry and thirsty spirit.

Mr. Bennion was a regular and constant worshipper at the house of prayer. After a hard week’s toil and business care he loved the quiet of the Sabbath and the spiritual privileges of the sanctuary services.

For over forty long years Mr. James Bennion was a devoted local preacher in the Shrewsbury Circuit. Faithfully and conscientiously in all weathers he honoured his appointments. His earnest, homely, experimental addresses were greatly appreciated by the village and town congregations. As an illustration of his fidelity to service, he in the year 1868, during a period of flood, rather than miss a country appointment deliberately waded through the deep waters. Having to remain for several hours in his damp clothes, he received a chill, which brought on a severe attack of sciatica, and laid the strong man prostrate for several weeks. The illness resulted in a halting step and partial lameness.

Mr. Bennion was the senior surviving trustee of the old Shrewsbury Castle Court Church, and one of the few connecting links between the past and the present generation of worshippers.

On a Saturday evening in August, 1905, he was suddenly taken with a stroke in Shrewsbury Market, and he was conveyed to the Salop Infirmary. Upon his partial recovery he was removed to his relatives in the country. After a brief sojourn he was brought home. It was a means of grace to spend a few minutes in his bedroom, and to converse with him on divine things.

He bore his physical sufferings with exemplary patience and with much Christian fortitude, until after several months of painful suffering the end came with terrible suddenness and unexpectedness.

On January 25th, after a short devotional service at his late residence at Copthorne, at his own special request, his mortal remains were laid to rest near his parents and relatives in the quietude of Leaton graveyard.

On the following Sunday evening an impressive In Memoriam service was held at Castle Court Church, conducted by the Rev. Albert A. Birchenough.

Family

James was born abt1833 to parents Randle, a farmer of 9 acres (1851), and Mary.

Census returns identify the following occupations for James.

  • 1851 agricultural labourer
  • 1861 cow keeper
  • 1871 fruit & potato merchant
  • 1881 gardener
  • 1891 fruit & potato merchant
  • 1901 fruit & potato merchant

He married Jane Peate (1834-1915) on 30 April 1857 at St Mary’s, Shrewsbury. Census returns identify one child.

  • William (1859-1933) – a PM Minister

References

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1907/73

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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