Bibby, Elizabeth (nee Taylor) (1818-1899)
Transcription of Obituary In the Primitive Methodist Magazine by George Armitage
ELIZABETH BIBBY was born at Sunnyside, near Burnley, on the 15th April, 1818, and removed to Church a few years afterwards. Her father died in her childhood, leaving six children, of whom our sister was next to the oldest, and owing to the affliction of the eldest brother the maintenance of the family largely devolved upon her from a very early age. From her childhood she had been connected with the Church of England, and had received much kindness at its hands, particularly in the provision of clothing to enable the children to attend the services. When about sixteen years of age she came into contact with the services of the Primitive Methodists, and was so attracted by their bright, cheery character, and so impressed by the evident sincerity of those taking part, that she remarked to her mother that, “Whether she missed the clothing or not, she would attend the ‘Ranters’ services,” which were then held in an upper room. She soon found for herself the “Pearl of great price.”
She was from the beginning a hearty and genuine Christian, – one who sought in her daily life to embody the teachings of her Master. At eighteen years of age she was employed at Enfield, which involved a two miles’ walk to and from her home. At that early age it was her custom to visit the sick in the neighbourhood of the Mill, and talk and pray with them. Leaving this place for a short time, and then returning, the “overlooker” gave her the privilege of having the same looms again, saying that, “The looms had never gone so well during her absence, as the work had not been steeped in prayer!” It was her joy to attend all the means of grace according to opportunity. Whatever the distance, and however inconvenient it might be, such trifles did not prevent her being present.
In the Christian Messenger for January 1899, appears the following incident respecting her from the pen of Miss Perritt: “Her class-leader, a very poor man, had at one time no boots to wear, so he asked the young sister to preach for him. She complied with the request, walked seven miles to the chapel at Helmshore, commenced the service with the good old hymn, “Am I a soldier of the Cross,” etc., and gave her own experience in lieu of the ordinary sermon. At the close an old class-leader shook her heartily by the hand, saying, ‘God bless you, lass, you’ve done me good! Here take this threepenny piece!’ Said Mrs Bibby afterwards, ‘I was glad of the coin, but I wanted nothing for preaching, I did it for love to the Lord Jesus.’ She walked the return journey of seven miles, rose at half-past five o’clock the following morning as usual, and walked two miles to her work.”
She first met her husband at a camp meeting, where she had engaged in prayer. After a few years of married life, they removed to Bolton, where the family connected themselves with the Higher Bridge Street Society. This was during the ministry of the late Rev. Thomas Hindley. She has remained in unbroken fellowship ever since, and has been an inspiration and a help to not only the members of her own family, but to the entire Church. It was one of her delights to relate incidents of bygone days, and of the Primitive Methodist ministers whom she had known, to tell of the days of poverty and distress when God’s presence and blessing had been around the people to preserve and help them. Her influence in the home and in her Church has ever been for good. Many can testify to her kindly deeds, and her cheerful life. She was characterised by perennial Christian cheerfulness. It was a privilege at any time to be in her happy and sparkling company. Her “Eh, bless you!” as you entered her door was as a fragrance with you all the day. None exceeded her in loyalty to her Church and in relish and delight for the services. To say that you were a Christian and a Primitive Methodist, was a short cut to her heart. On one occasion, when making the remark that she had loved God’s house ever since she was converted, the writer playfully said to her, “Then you are converted, are you Mrs. Bibby?” “I should think I am,” she said, and with a look that will not soon be forgotten. Has she lived in some ages she would have been put by the Church into the calendar of the saints. She was truly one of the present-day saints for whom the Church gives God thanks. She truly died the “death of the righteous,” surrounded by her loving family, and with the familiar words —
“Canaan, bright Canaan,
I’m bound for the land of Canaan,”
upon her lips. The translation took place on Feb. 8, in her eighty-first year; the Revs. Geo. Armitage and John Whittle conducted the interment, and a memorial service was conducted by the Rev. Geo. Armitage in Higher Bridge Street Church on Sunday evening, May 7th, 1899.
Elizabeth married Christopher Bibby (1819-1893) in the summer of 1857 in the Blackburn Registration District, Lancashire. She was his second wife, and ‘inherited’ a ready made family of seven children.
Census returns identify the following occupations for Christopher.
- 1861 cotton spinner
- 1871 farmland dealer
- 1881 retired carter
- 1891 property agent
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1901/472
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers