Heslop, Foster (1836-1913)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by Wm. Shipley

The church at Saltburn-by-the-Sea has suffered a real bereavement in the passing of Mr. Foster Heslop, at the ripe age of seventy-six. He was born in Allendale, but moved early in life to Crook, where he married Mary Surtees, a devoted helpmeet. Shortly afterwards he was converted and joined the Primitive Methodist Church. Subsequently he removed to Saltburn, where his life has chiefly been spent. 

Possessed of a rich voice, he consecrated it to his Master’s service, and as choirmaster for many years, and in the missioning of the streets and at camp meetings he exercised it unsparingly. As Sunday School superintendent, church treasurer, trustee and class leader he rendered distinguished service and stood bravely by the Church in test-times. His wise counsel, his equable temperament, his cheery optimism and his unswerving rectitude ever gave him a foremost position in the gratitude and affection of the church. His attendance at the sanctuary was most exemplary. The preacher had no more helpful hearer. 

Severe trials overtook him, but his faith sustained him in the drinking of his bitterest cups. Such recognition of service as the Church is able to give came his way, and he was sent a delegate to both District Meeting and Conference. He was also vice-president of the Saltburn Liberal Association. 

Rev. W.A. French says, “He was a strong, self-reliant man who was content to do a lot of good work without being seen of men.” 

His end came suddenly, but it found him with his lamp trimmed. Rev. G.J. Lane officiated at the funeral. For his widow and daughter much sympathy is felt. He will be sorely missed, alike in home and church.


Foster was born in 1836 at Allendale, Northumberland, to parents Robert Archer Heslop, a coal miner (1851), and Mary Pears. He was baptised on 18 December 1836 at Allendale.

Census returns identify the following occupations for Foster.

  • 1851 coal miner
  • 1861 engineman
  • 1871 engine driver
  • 1881 engine fitter
  • 1891 stationary engineman
  • 1901 stationary engine driver
  • 1911 engine driver

He married Mary Surtees (abt1840-1934) on 14 February 1858 at St Catherine, Crook, Co. Durham. Census returns identify five of seven children.

  • John Robert (1859-1880)
  • Henry (aka Harry) (1861-1935) – an engine driver (1881); emigrated to USA circa 1881
  • Mary Jane (1869-1920) – a dressmaker (1901); married Edgar Eber Mail, a police constable (1911), in 1905
  • Elizabeth Sarah (1872-1903) – married Jonathan Edwin Rawlings, a commercial traveller (1901), in 1900
  • Edith Annie (1879-1887)

Foster died on 17 April 1913 at Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Yorkshire.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1913/913

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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