Honor, Hannah (nee Plumbley) (1832-1871)

Obituary in Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1873, pp114-115

Mrs Hannah Honor, the daughter of Abraham and Sarah Plumbley, was born at Godshill, Isle of Wight, September 23rd 1832; and died at Bridlington, Yorkshire, October 4th 1871. Her parents usually attended the services of the Established Church, and were deservedly of ‘good report’. Under their careful training, Miss Plumbley grew up in the diligent cultivation of those domestic virtues which adorned her after life. Her conversion to God was effected through the agency of the Bible Christians, and on February 21st 1852, she was received into that community as a member on trial. In 1853 she removed to Ryde, and there being then no Bible Christian society in that town, she united in Church-fellowship with the Primitive Methodists. Here, by her meekness of spirit, her liberality in supporting the cause of God, her zealous co-operation in the enterprise of the Church, her cusses in pleading with penitents, her acceptability as a visitor of the sick, and the general consistency of her conduct, she soon gained the esteem of both ministers and members. The high appreciation of her work led to her being appointed to the leadership of a class of young persons. Nor was the Church disappointed in her, for she manifested the most prayerful solicitude for the welfare of her charge, and, in return, they bestowed upon her their confidence and love.

On the 5th of October 1858, Miss Plumbley was united in marriage to him who, with seven children, now deplores the irreparable loss he has sustained by her decease. As a minister’s wife, Mrs Honor had a share in the privations and hardships of the itinerancy. Her constitution, never very robust, and enfeebled by three attacks of rheumatic fever and other causes, was injured in no slight degree by frequent removals, long journeys, damp houses, and an occasional lack of such furniture as a due regard to health rendered imperatively necessary. Still she was devotedly attached to Primitive Methodism, and was willing not only to labour but to suffer for the promotion of its interests. Although her zeal was never very demonstrative, yet until failing health and family responsibilities demanded a relaxation of her efforts, the subject of this sketch was indefatigable in serving the Church of her choice, and often in class and prayer meetings rendered most valuable help. Nor did she by a lack of discretion mar the good effects of her labours. Although often placed in circumstances where an unguarded word from her – the wife of a minister – might have caused considerable trouble and anxiety, she never proved herself unworthy of the trust reposed in her. She ‘kept a watch over the door of her lips’. By the neatness and respectability with which she attired herself and her children, by her punctuality in attending the house of God, by the amiability of her disposition, and by the steady glow of her fervent piety, she did very much to smooth her husband’s path through life, and to help him in the work of the ministry. Testimonies to the excellence of her character, which more than justify these eulogiums, have been borne by the Revs J Mules, J Dawson, J R Parkinson, R Cheeseman, J Stephenson, T Lane and others.

It was, however, principally as a wife and mother that Mrs Honor developed those moral excellences which, although they enhanced her worth, now serve to intensify the grief of those to whom she sustained these endearing relationships. She was not without infirmity, yet she set before her family an example the salutary influence of which must continue for many years to come. When, as was frequently the case, her husband was absent from home, she regularly conducted family worship, and on other occasions prayed with her children, whom she earnestly desired to ‘bring up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord’.  But, although her natural love for her children was rendered more ardent by her intelligent piety, she was not wanting in parental authority. She was too wise, as well as too pious, to hold the reins of maternal government with a slack hand, or to neglect to exercise over her sons and daughters an affectionate restraint. She ‘commanded her household and her children after her, that they should keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgement’. Mrs Honor was thoroughly domesticated. She relieved her husband of all care respecting the management of their household. ‘His heart did safely trust in her’. By her industry and economy she rendered herself deserving of the most implicit confidence, and secured fort her husband and children an amount of domestic comfort that would otherwise have been unattainable.  In the estimation of her husband, ‘her price was far above rubies’. During the 13 years of their married life their mutual love had steadily increased, and was never greater than when she was taken from him. She was indeed ‘a help meet for him’. As an adviser, he found her invaluable. It was his custom to consult her in reference to all his business affairs, and when they were of different opinions, as was sometimes the case, he almost invariably deferred to her, and seldom, if ever, had any occasion to regret doing so.

Her last illness may be said to have commenced in the autumn of 1869, when she had her third attack of rheumatic fever. From the prostration which followed she never fully rallied. Yet, until the beginning of last June, she was able to  attend more or less to the affairs of her household. From that date, however, she was laid aside, until her encounter with the last enemy brought her sufferings to a close.  During that interval her pains were often very acute, and caused her to be ‘full of tossings to and fro’. She was also occasionally the subject of very powerful temptation. But she knew in whom she had believed, and was, through grace, enabled to triumph. By words and signs she gave unmistakable evidence of her interest in Christ and meetness for heaven. A few hours before she died she bid farewell to her children, commended them to God, and charged them to meet her in heaven. Sometime after, seeing her husband standing by her side, she beckoned him to her, and with a voice scarcely distinct or audible, prayed that the blessing of God might rest upon him. After this she spoke but little, and soon passed away to be ‘for ever with the Lord’.

‘ – She is gone! Her soul this world
Hath left. Her pains and sufferings, great while here,
Are o’er. And death has rid her of life’s ills.
She now is where the weary ever rest,
Where sorrow is unknown, and nought can mar
Her happiness.’

Chas Garton Honor

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