Bradshaw, Joseph (1824-1899)

Transcription of Obituary In the Christian Messenger

MR. JOSEPH BRADSHAW, the oldest local preacher in the Bolton Second Circuit, received a call to the higher service and blessedness of Heaven on Monday morning, September 4th, 1899. He has rendered splendid service to the Bolton circuits as local preacher, class-leader, and Sunday school superintendent. In the year 1846, he was brought on the Plan of the Bolton Circuit as a local preacher, and no preacher was more sought after or successful. Many are now the crown of his rejoicing. His messages were always delivered with wonderful tenderness and sympathy and with the unction of the Spirit. When a young man, he spent all his spare money in books, and I have not known any library richer in sermon literature than the one he possessed. He was a man of wonderful gifts, both of head and of heart. In evangelistic work he was always at home. What Lyman Beecher said when he was dying was ever embodied in the creed and life of Joseph Bradshaw: ‘Theology is great, controversy is great, but the greatest of all things is saving souls.’ He was pre-eminently a man of prayer: ‘What we need is more prayer was a sentence he often made use of. For brighter manifestations of grace and richer foretastes of heaven he daily prayed. It was the answer to this prayer that made him meek and lowly in heart, for the one grace that shone out the brightest in his life, was that of humility. He had the child-heart right to the end. His life might be summed up in the line which Wordsworth wrote of Charles Lamb.
‘Oh, he was good if ever good man was.’

His funeral took place on Thursday, September 8th. A service was held in our Moor Lane Chapel, conducted by the Rev. S.L. George, assisted by the Rev. M. Holmes, Mr. J. Warwick, of the Bolton First Circuit, and Mr. J. Readett, of the Leigh Circuit. The large gathering in the sanctuary, and the numerous floral wreaths, testified to the esteem in which he was held. Representatives from all the Churches in the Bolton First and Second Circuits, and from the neighbouring Circuits were present. Another service was held at the Tonge cemetery, in which the Rev. S.L. George, Mr. J. Kay, and Mr. J. Taylor took part, and an impressive address was given by the Rev. John Whittle, who had known Mr. Bradshaw from his boyhood days. A funeral sermon was preached in the Daubhill Chapel on Sunday evening, October 8th, to a crowded congregation by the Rev. J. Whittle. Our departed brother has left to his children a legacy of noble deeds and a natural saintly life. May they emulate his spirit and follow his example.


Family and other information

Joseph was born abt1824 at Skelmersdale, Lancashire.

Census returns identify the following occupations for Joseph.

  • 1851 cotton spinner
  • 1861 cotton spinner
  • 1871 overlooker (mill)
  • 1881 insurance agent
  • 1891 insurance agent

Joseph married Mary Smith (abt 1825-1896) in the spring of 1844 at Bolton, Lancashire. Census returns identify five children.

  • Ann (b1846) – married George Miller, an insurance agent (1881), in 1866
  • Ellen (1849-1871) – a domestic servant (1871)
  • Elizabeth (b1851) – married John Winward, a goods guard, in 1877
  • John (b1854) – a railway signalman (1891)

Mary Jane (1857-1861)


Christian Messenger 1900/223

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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