Jeffs, Ann (1817-1905)

Transcription of Obituary in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by F. Jeffs

My dear mother passed from earth on February 17th, 1905, at the ripe age of eighty-seven years. The tender memories associated with her name compel me to attempt a brief tribute of gratitude and love.

During her later years, owing to inconvenience of residence and the infirmities of age, my mother was not much in contact with Primitive Methodism.

Her active association with our Church was for a period of twenty-five years, dating from 1865 to 1890.

In the latter year my father died, the home was in consequence broken up, and my mother removed to reside near her eldest daughter in a district where no Primitive Methodist Society was within reach. We came to know Primitive Methodism through passing from a residence at the extreme of a small straggling village to another which was near to where services were conducted by our Denomination. The Society met in a house. There was no chapel. The fine old parish church provided more accommodation than the meagre population required, and there was never a money power sufficient to allow of any chapel-building enterprise.

On an early Sunday after our settlement in the new home it was announced that the Primitive Methodist minister, who was leaving the station (Buckingham) would preach his farewell sermon out of doors, not far away from our house. My mother felt a strong desire to go to the service, and ventured shyly to the outside of the company that had gathered together. The influence of that service was like that of spring upon vegetation. Her nature was as prepared and responsive soil, the ordeal of mental anxiety which followed immediately was severe and prolonged, but issued in a deep and thorough conversion, and the production of a religious character worthy of ampler treatment than can be given here. Primitive Methodism was a type of religion for which she seemed to have a natural affinity, and she became a devotee with conviction and passion. Her distinctive characteristics came to be those of a fine spiritual insight, profound religious feeling and a remarkable strength of mind for religious purposes. Besides, there was a well-marked aptitude for concentrating on religious themes, for frank and fearless testimony concerning the great experimental truths, and for prayer. In my boyhood days she appeared to be the chief religious force in the village, whose zeal and sincerity everybody respected, and whose influence rivalled the clergyman’s when the afflicted or bereaved needed religious consolation.

Her regular use of the Bible at meal times, so that the soul should be fed as well as the body, her capacity for spontaneous and importunate prayer, her gift for conversation on spiritual subjects, her enthusiasm and strenuous industry, can never be forgotten. How wonderfully familiar she was with God, how pathetic, eloquent, irresistible, were her pleadings at the throne of grace for her children, and for the Spirit of God in both home and church.

For a number of years she filled the offices of Society Steward, Class Leader, and Missionary Collector, and when there was a shortage of preachers on the station she accepted also the position of a local preacher while health permitted.

For a considerable time the local society (Hillesden) was accommodated in our home.

The religious talks of those times which we had together when I accompanied her to her preaching appointments are still amongst my recollections, as well as my earliest pulpit exercises which took the form of giving out the hymns, and reading the lessons for her. What a delight it was to her to be able to contribute one son to the ministerial ranks, and to impress upon him that she had given him from birth to God with the hope that he might become of special use in His great service!

Space forbids enlargement. God be thanked for such mothers; they are social saviours of a noble order, and should be “had in everlasting remembrance.”

My dear mother died in the hearty trust of her Divine Saviour in whose service she realised such abandon and joy while health and circumstances made it possible.

Family

Ann was born abt1817 at Kings Sutton, Northamptonshire.

She married William Jeffs (1813-1890), an agricultural labourer, in late 1840 in the Brackley Registration District, Northamptonshire. Census returns identify ten children.

  • Elizabeth Ann (1842-1931) – married John Hatford Meads, a farmer, in 1864
  • Rebecca (abt1846-1872) – married Thomas Walton, a garden labourer, in 1863
  • William (abt1847-1927) – a railway platelayer
  • Edward John (abt1849-1935) – an agricultural labourer; later a general carrier
  • Benjamin Alfred (1850-1937) – a confectionary traveller (1911)
  • John Tibbetts (b1853) – an iron works labourer (1881)
  • George (1856-1909) – a railway carriage cleaner (1891)
  • Frederick (1858-1931) – a PM Minister
  • Annie (1861-1941) – married Thomas Edward Sansome, a labourer, in 1880
  • Edwin (1863-1940) – an assurance superintendent (1911)

Ann died at Bicester, Oxfordshire.

References

Primitive Methodist Magazine1906/158

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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