Fieldhouse, Charles (1835-1900)

Transcription of Obituary In the Christian Messenger

CHARLES FIELDHOUSE was the son of Charles and Elizabeth Fieldhouse, and was born at Barnard Castle on May 19th, 1836. When a boy he attended the Church of England Sunday school, but lived to be four-and-twenty years of age before he became the subject of experimental religion. Then he was brought under deep conviction for sin, and sought and obtained mercy one Sunday night in our old chapel at Barnard Castle. He at once threw in his lot with our people in his native town, and became a member of Brother Thomas Dalkin’s class. The first Sunday after his conversion he found his way to the Sunday school, and cheerfully offered his services as a teacher, which were gladly accepted, and here he found a congenial and useful sphere of sacred toil, which he never left until the Master called him to a higher and nobler place at His right hand above. For a period of eight-and-thirty years he maintained an unbroken connection with this important Institution, first as teacher, then as secretary and assistant-superintendent, and afterwards as superintendent and treasurer. The last-named offices he held up to the time of his death, and the varied and important duties connected with the same he ever discharged with much cheerful fidelity, patience, and diligence.

For the space of nine-and-twenty years he lived a distance of two miles from the sanctuary and school, yet he was rarely ever absent from either when health would permit. He came regularly through all kinds of weather; through the balmy air and sultry heat of summer as well as the chilling cold and stormy blasts of winter, and often when many much stronger than he would have felt it their imperative duty to have remained at home. His heart was in his work, and he ever felt deeply concerned for the spiritual welfare of the young immortals placed under his care. He was a great favourite with both teachers and scholars, who all respected him greatly and miss him much.

In addition to his valuable work in the Sunday school, he rendered important service to his church and generation, as class-leader and trustee for our Barnard Castle new church and school property. At one time in his life also, he did a little public speaking, and was always active and at home in evangelistic work, both indoors and in the open-air. His piety was of a deep, cheerful and practical type. He greatly prized the word of God, and the social and public means of grace. He was always anxious for the welfare of Zion, and would often pray fervently for the salvation of souls, and rejoice greatly when his prayers and those of his fellow Christians this respect were answered. As far as his means would permit he gave cheerfully, and liberally supported the funds of the church. His life, though containing much that was of a bright and cheering character, was not altogether free from hardship and trial; six years ago he was called to part with his eldest son, a fine promising young man, who suddenly passed away to his home in heaven. This was a great blow to him, and left its mark upon him to the end of his days. During the last few years of his life too, he suffered a good deal from rheumatism in the legs, which made it difficult for him to walk and do his work; still, he bore all this with much commendable patience and cheerfulness, and never seemed to make any great trouble about anything he met with, either in connection with his secular or religious sphere of toil.

For some months before his death he had been gradually declining in physical vitality and strength, yet he continued to do his work on the railway, attend to his duties in the Sabbath school up to the last Sunday in October last. He was at the morning service in the sanctuary also on that day. Then with much regret he was compelled to hand over the duties of his work for the benefit of the children and others, and spend his Sundays at home. Soon after he had to give up his work on the line, he being a plate-layer for the Great Eastern Railway Company. For five weeks he was confined absolutely to his room, and notwithstanding all that medical skill, good nourishment and skilful sympathetic, nursing could do, he continued to grow thinner and more weakly in body. No one, however, thought him so near the end as he actually was.

The writer went to see him, as he had often done, during his illness, on Monday afternoon, Feb. 12th, and was told both by himself and wife he was a little better. The doctor, they said, had just been, and after careful examination had given it as his opinion that a little improvement in his health had taken place since he had seen him before. For most of a week too, he said he enjoyed better nights. He chatted with his usual cheerfulness for a short while, then retired for a minute or two into an adjoining room, returned to his seat in his chair, began to breathe heavily, gradually turn pale, his brow becoming cold and thickly headed with great drops of sweat, and in about six or seven minutes the struggle was over and his spirit had fled to the realms of the blest. His mortal remains were committed to the silent tomb in the cemetery of his native town, on the following Friday, in the presence of a large number of deeply sorrowing relatives and friends. Peace to his memory. May God raise up many more such good and fruitful men to carry on His work and graciously sustain his sorrow stricken widow and children, giving them grace to tread in the steps of their departed loved one that they may meet him again at the right hand of God.


Family and other information

Charles was baptised on 10 June 1835 at the Parochial Chapelry, Barnard Castle, Co. Durham. His father, Charles senior, was a carpet weaver.

Charles began his working life as a carpet weaver, but by the time of the 1861 census he was working as a railway labourer.

He married Elizabeth Robinson (abt1842-1915) in the summer of 1860 at Barnard Castle, Co. Durham. Census returns identify four children.

  • Elizabeth Ann (1865-1923) – a general domestic servant (1891)
  • William (1867-1938) – a pump engineer (1915)
  • Maggie (1871-1968) – a dressmaker (1891); married John George Henry Smedley, a railway checker, in 1896
  • Thomas (1875-1894)

Charles died on 12 February 1900 at Barnard Castle, Co. Durham.


Christian Messenger 1901/351

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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