Childs, George (1812-1905)
Transcription of Obituary in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by G.P.M. (George Percy Maynard)
One of the few remaining links between early Primitive Methodism and the twentieth century has been snapped by the death of Bro. Geo. Childs, of Swallowfield. The Reading Circuit has lost in him its oldest local preacher and oldest member.
Born at Swallowfield in Berks, in 1813, he died in the same parish on the 11th of May, 1905, at the ripe age of ninety-two years. When the Rev. John Ride in the course of his famous Berkshire mission came to the village of Swallowfield young Childs was one of the first converts. He was the son of a sawyer in very humble circumstances, being poor in pelf but rich in faith. He showed such a glowing ardour that he was almost immediately sent out to tell the glad news, and very soon became a fully accredited local preacher. For two generations he preached in all the villages around his home, and his melodious voice and happy songs and rugged eloquence and unquenchable zeal made him acceptable everywhere. He was also for many years the Swallowfield class-leader, showing a peculiar aptitude for this difficult position, and being especially apt and successful in winning and retaining young converts.
He was eminently a man of prayer. Many of his greatest triumphs were really won on his knees before the wonderful camp meeting or revival services that filled and crowned the Sabbath began. His service in the Sunday School has long been a record for the neighbourhood, and this was recognised a year or two ago, when he received “the longest service medal” offered by one of the religious weeklies. The occasion of the public presentation of the medal was the last time he was at the chapel.
For many months he suffered acutely, but always with exemplary patience. In the intervals of pain be delighted to sing again the old-fashioned and now little-known songs of the early time, and to talk of the work of God in the past, and the prospects of the society and the circuit now. The L.P.A. Fund rendered him sorely needed and greatly appreciated help, and lightened considerably the burden of his latest years. And now he has received the great reward.
George was baptised on 11 October 1812 at All Saints, Swallowfield, Berkshire. His parents were Robert and Ann.
Census returns identify the following occupations for George.
- 1861 labourer & local Methodist preacher
- 1871 agricultural labourer
- 1881 local Methodist preacher
- 1891 agricultural labourer
- 1901 no occupation
George married Jemima Jennings (1819-1906) on 23 November 1844 at Shinfield, Berkshire. Census returns identify one child.
- James (1847-1922) – a gardener
Primitive Methodist Magazine1906/495
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers