Headworth, John (1815-1899)

Transcription of Obituary In the Christian Messenger

MR. JOHN HEADWORTH.—Our church at Wilsford has suffered a great loss through the death of Bro. J. Headworth, who for nearly 40 years was intimately associated with all its life and activities. He was born at Azeby, a small village a few miles away, in April, 1815, but when two years old his parents removed to Wilsford, and he lived there nearly the whole of his life. He was converted when a young man, but for a time fell from grace. He re-dedicated himself to God in 1859 under an old oak tree, near to some stone quarries where he worked. His piety being unquestionable, and being possessed of guts as well as graces, he was soon made a local preacher and class leader, and also a trustee for a chapel which was built about this time, and he held these positions till death. He very soon with others, commenced a Sunday school, and was a teacher for many years. As a local preacher he was earnest and untiring in his efforts, and was never known to have neglected an appointment if he could possibly go. Camp-meetings and lovefeasts were services of special interest to him, and he always contributed largely to their success. Latterly, when he had, on account of his age, to give up going any distance to preach, he used to say ‘I am not tired of the work, but the work tires me.’ He was a great lover of old hymns, and one of his special favourites was ‘The little cloud increaseth still which first arose upon Mow hill.‘ His love for the Bible was supreme and his faith in it was of the simplest but strongest kind. He was a genuine Primitive Methodist of the old type. His creed might have been summed up in a verse he loved to sing:- ‘I have no other argument, I want no other plea. It is enough that Jesus died, and that He died for me.’ It pleased our Heavenly Father that this faithful old servant of His should not suffer much or long. He followed his usual employment till the end of 1898, since then he had been gradually failing, but able to get about. I saw him only two days before his death, and he seemed in his usual health, and ‘strong in the Lord.’ He died suddenly from apoplexy, on May 12th, 1899. He lost his speech from the commencement of the attack, but whilst consciousness remained, he waved his hand in response to sympathetic Words, and, with his wife and children around him, he passed peacefully away to his eternal reward. The greatest sympathy was manifested with the bereaved friends. Resolutions of condolence were received from the quarterly meetings of the Sleaford and Grantham Circuits, and an ‘In Memoriam’ service was conducted by an old friend of the deceased, and the family – Mr. W. Brown of Kelby – and the chapel was crowded. Our departed brother was to have laid a memorial stone in the new chapel on the 1st of June, but he was called away ere then to take his place in the ‘house not made with hands,’ and his sorrowing widow laid the stone in ‘his memory,’ and thus, in many other ways, ‘he being dead, yet speaketh.’


Family and other information

John was baptised on 12 April 1815 at Haydor, Lincolnshire. His parents were Thomas, an agricultural labourer, and Mary.

Census returns identify the following occupations for John.

  • 1841 agricultural labourer
  • 1851 labourer
  • 1861 agricultural labourer
  • 1871 journeyman and local preacher
  • 1881 agricultural labourer
  • 1891 agricultural labourer

John married Frances Jane Headworth (abt1821-1903) in late 1844 in the Grantham Registration District, Lincolnshire. Census returns identify eight children.

  • Charles (1845-1927) – a plate layer (1891); a road labourer (1911)
  • John (1846-1910) – a quarryman (1881); a road labourer (1901)
  • Henry (1847-1854)
  • Thomas (abt1850-1933) – a colliery engine driver (1891)
  • Mary Ann (1851-1924) – married Holmes Duffin, a plumber’s storekeeper (1911), in 1876
  • Frances Jane (1854-1934) – married Henry Large, a railway signalman(1911), in 1877
  • George (abt1856-1933) – a steam boiler colliery fireman (1911)
  • Louisa (1859-1951) – married John Codd, a railway carpenter (1901), in 1899


Christian Messenger 1900/249

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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