Bridgeman, William (1831-1915)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by S.A.B.

A rarely beautiful life came to a close on February 10th by the passing of Mr. William Bridgeman, the oldest local preacher in the Swindon II. Circuit. He had attained the ripe age of eighty-three years, for sixty-five of which he had been a member and local preacher. A saint of God, he was revered by the churches, and honoured by all. Born in 1831 at Tockenham, he has spent his life within the borders of the old Brinkworth Circuit. Brought to God in 1849, he began to preach the same year. 

For forty years he was a class leader at Shaw, and for many years the Sunday School superintendent. He took the lead in the erection of the Shaw Chapel, and was active as trustee, treasurer, and collector for several others in the circuit. His later years have been spent in the Swindon circuits. 

The zeal of the evangelist ever glowed in him, and for many years he walked miles weekly in the work of visitation, tract distribution and prayer in the homes of the people. As a local preacher his bright, loving spirit, scriptural knowledge and clear experience made him everywhere acceptable. At his retirement from the Swindon Coal Wharf the men presented him with a finely bound copy of the Bible. 

His end was like his life, full of resignation, confidence, and Christian serenity. The funeral service was conducted by Rev. S.A. Barron in the Butterworth Street chapel, of which Mr. Bridgeman was an official. Memorial services were conducted there, and also at Shaw, by his friend of many years, Mr. Charles G. Sturmey. Thus passed to his reward one whose memory will be ever fragrant in the annals of our churches in North Wilts.


William was born in 1831 at Tockenham, Wiltshire, to parents Charles Bridgeman, who worked the land (1841), and Ruth Coleman.

Census returns identify the following occupations for William.

  • 1861 agricultural labourer
  • 1871 agricultural labourer
  • 1881 labourer in G.W.r. coal wharf
  • 1891 manager of coal wharf
  • 1901 coal porter (foreman)
  • 1911 retired coal wharf foreman

He married Elizabeth Sturmey (1824-1876) on 12 October 1852 at Lydiard Millicent, Wiltshire. Census returns identify five children.

  • Mary Jane (b1857) – a housekeeper 91891)
  • Charles (1859-1933) – carter on farm (1911)
  • Elizabeth Ann (b1861) – married John Clarke, a labourer (1881) and superintendent to Prudential Assurance (1891), in 1881
  • John (b1863)
  • George (1868-1922) – a railway clerk (1911)

He married Honoria Freebury (1836-1891), a dressmaker (1861), on 12 January 1878 at Hereford, Herefordshire.

He married Emma Matthews (abt187-1926) in early 1892 in the Cricklade Registration District, Wiltshire.

William died on 10 February 1915 at Swindon, Wiltshire.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1915/920

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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