Ord, Robert (1819-1899)
Transcription of Obituary In the Primitive Methodist Magazine by G Baldwin
On March 31, 1899, in obedience to the higher call, the spirit of Mr. Robert Ord, of Hexham, passed beyond from the land of shadows to that of cloudless day. An event which bereaved this circuit: for his solitude for its prosperity, adherence to its interests, co-operation in its enterprises, guidance in its councils, and length of service, had no peer.
Mr. Ord was born at Dotland, in Hexhamshire, about three miles from Hexham, on February 18, 1819, and from the moment of his conversion, which took place about thirty years after this, to that of his death, held an unbroken connection with the Hexham Circuit. Not much is known about his early life, but it does not seem that he was reared in piety, or felt the impulses which led to conversion in his home life. He had already formed a home of his own before this crisis was reached.
A friend of forty years’ standing says: “I have often heard him attribute his first good to the preaching at the Primitive Methodist Chapel, to that of a Congregational minister named Knox, but chiefly to the efforts of Mrs. Ord. He was living at this time at Haydon Bridge, and at once identified himself with our people there. This was the beginning of a life of unceasing service and usefulness, which spent successively at Haydon Bridge, Belsay, and Hardaugh, covered nearly half a century.”
Mr. Ord’s temperament specially fitted him for varied and useful service. He was a real optimist, combining in himself that rare trinity of qualities given by the Apostle Paul as the essentials of abiding Christian work, Faith, hope, charity. He was not out of conceit with life.
Nature was full of music, which thrilled his healthy soul. Man had grand possibilities of being and doing. The old Gospel, as it had come to him, was still the power of God unto salvation. Conversion had put a new song into his mouth, even praise unto our God. He saw not death written upon all things, but life. He possessed much of the mysticism of St. Paul. God came into his life at his conversion and never left him, becoming more real to him as the eventide drew nigh. His was not morality touched with emotion, but emotion that inspired morality and purged it of its earthliness and dross. It was life hid with Christ in God. But his was a healthy enthusiasm, and was never substituted for duty. He was prepared to bear his cross, being a liberal giver, a most conscientious worker, and never shrinking from the front of the battle. In his letter to the last Quarterly Meeting just before his death, though unable to walk, he preferred to wait and see if he improved sufficiently to take his appointment. His life was one woven throughout without a seam.
The present writer before going to the circuit to travel, met an ex-Congregational minister to whom he was talking about his removal there, and he said: “I know the circuit well, and there is one dear old man there named, Robert 0rd.” “The memory of the just is blessed.” “The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance.”
Preaching was the work to which he gave himself most freely. Commencing soon after his conversion, he continued until the Quarterly Meeting before mentioned, to which he sent a note saying, “With great reluctance I send my request to be no more planned. I have been on the plan forty-five years, during which time I have preached 1,580 times, and travelled many miles, and I have had some very happy times with the brethren.” His beginning was very humble. He tells us that being sent with one named Dunn, his companion asked him questions about certain passages of Scripture, which he answered by giving him much that he needed himself. When they arrived, Dunn spoke first, retailing what Ord had given him, and then sat down, leaving the field to our friend. The result, as we may imagine, did not tend to foster pride. He got over his confusion, however, and faced fearlessly many congregations after that, becoming one of the most acceptable and honoured local preachers on the plan. He loved to preach the Gospel to perishing sinners. When he went to live at Belsay there was no Free Church in the village, and he at once set himself to establish a mission, not without a good deal of opposition, but he persisted in his work, preaching himself Sunday after Sunday, with the result that for twenty years a minister has resided in the place, and to-day there is a successful Church.
The last summer that he lived he was planned by request both at Ingoe and Belsay, a distance of sixteen and twenty-two miles respectively from his home, and faithfully fulfilled his engagement. Opportunities were not neglected, rather made, for he felt the night drawing on apace, and was anxious to use what of the day still remained, and when he heard life’s curfew, though reluctantly, yet cheerfully, he rendered back his charge to God. He did not, however, confine himself to one branch of service. Almost immediately after uniting with us at Haydon Bridge, he established a Sunday School. He took deep interest in the young, and many honoured workers acknowledge with gratitude the help which he rendered them in youth. He was successful in this world’s good, and with it assisted must of the trust estates on the circuit. He loved to have a talk with the ministers about Connexional matters, and was always filled with gladness at news of success in any part of his beloved Church. Nor did he get narrow with increasing age, but to the end lived in touch with all the interests of our Church.
His brethren knew his worth, and called him to fill many offices. He represented the circuit on different occasions at District Meeting, and for many years before his death was senior circuit steward. He died as he had lived, full of confidence in, and love for his Saviour. His path was as the shining light, shining more and more unto the perfect day. He was not thought to be worse than was his wont the night before he died, and no one thought of the end being so near, but he saw the light from afar, and putting out to sea, met his Pilot face to face.
Our hearts are drawn out with sympathy towards his aged partner, who mourns his loss, and our prayers go up on her behalf to the great Father of all.
“Life’s labour done as sinks the clay,
Freed from its load the spirit flies,
While heaven and earth combine to say,
How blest the righteous when he dies.”
Robert was baptised on 31 October 1819 at Whitley by Hexham, Northumberland, His parents were Robson Ord, an agricultural labourer, and Elizabeth Charlton.
Census returns identify the following occupations for Robert.
- 1851 farm husbandman
- 1861 agricultural labourer
- 1871 farm steward
- 1881 farm bailiff
- 1891 farmer
Robert married Jane Martin (abt 1827-1901) on 1 December 1849 at Ninebanks, Northumberland. Census returns identify one child.
- Robson (1850-1857)
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1901/712
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers