Hitchcock, Henry (1841-1902)
Transcription of Obituary in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by George Fowler
Amongst the losses, by death, in the ranks of the local preachers in the Brinkworth Circuit, none has, for some years, affected the interests of the station more vitally than the death of Mr. Henry Hitchcock.
He passed away on December 18th, 1902, aged 61. He came of a family that for many years manifested great hospitality to our ministers, and were amongst the most substantial supporters of Primitive Methodism in its early days.
His honoured father, who is still living, and his sainted mother, ever welcomed to their home (Crew’s Farm) the servants of God.
It was during the ministry of Rev. J.H. Green that our departed brother gave his heart to God.
He soon became a very acceptable local preacher, and proved a tower of strength in the Brinkworth Society.
He was for many years superintendent of Brinkworth Sunday School. He also became a trustee for Brinkworth, Callow Hill, and Braydon Chapels, and the two ministers’ houses in the circuit.
He was secretary of Brinkworth and Callow Hill trusts; also treasurer of the new Manse at Brinkworth, and a member of the District Committee.
It will thus be seen that many interests connected with the circuit will be affected by the removal of our esteemed brother.
His teaching from the pulpit was eminently practical and sound. He had a strong aversion to that form of Biblical criticism which has a tendency to destroy faith in the Word of God. His Protestantism was equally pronounced. He was strongly opposed to the Ritualistic practices so prevalent in many places.
At the formation of Brinkworth School Board he was elected at the head of the poll, and for 15 years ably filled the position of chairman.
He attended the Circuit Quarterly Meeting held on December 4th, and appeared to be in his usual health. He was specially cheerful when at the tea-table, and spoke to the resolution thanking the Wootton Bassett friends for the ample provision they had made for the comforts of the brethren assembled.
Still it had been noticed for some time that his pulpit ministrations and his Christian graces showed a ripening as for the end, although we knew not that the end was so near.
The last illness of our brother was of a short but painful character.
On Dec. 7th he was in his accustomed place in the House of God. On Dec. 14th he was confined to his bed, and on the following Thursday, at 10.15 p.m., his spirit was with God. Truly a great man “has fallen” in our “Israel.”
On Tuesday, the 23rd, a very large concourse of relatives, friends, and neighbours assembled at 2 p.m. at the family residence, to be present at the funeral. Two ministers, Revs. E. Parsons and Geo. Fowler, a number of local preachers, and a large number of scholars and teachers belonging to Brinkworth and Callow Hill Sabbath Schools, were in the funeral procession, the children walking in front of the hearse, mourning-coaches, and other conveyances. Altogether the procession presented a spectacle such as had scarcely ever been witnessed in Brinkworth.
Henry was born in early 1841 at Purton, Wiltshire, to parents Jacob, a farmer, and Alice.
Census returns identify the following occupations for Henry.
- 1851 scholar
- 1861 farmer’s son
- 1871 miller employing 3 labourers
- 1881 miller employing 3 men & 1 boy
- 1891 miller & corn merchant
- 1901 miller & farmer
Henry married Eleanor Bayliffe (1840-1874) on 18 May 1865 at Seagry, Wiltshire. Census returns identify four children.
- Alfred Henry (b1867) – a miller & corn dealer (1911); miller (1939)
- Alice Fanny (1869-1941) – married George Searle Bayliffe, a farmer, in 1900
- Eleanor Osborne (1871-1900) – a mother help (1891)
- Ernest Tom (abt1874-1928) – a grocer’s shopkeeper (1901)
Henry married Eleanor Osborne (abt1842-1923) in the summer of 1875 in the Chipping Sodbury Registration District, Gloucestershire. Census records identify three children.
- Keren Bayliffe (1877-1918)
- Grace Merewether (1879-1962) – a boarding house keeper (1939)
- Amy Annie (1885-1916)
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1904/241
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers