Shenton, Elizabeth Ann (nee Reddish) (1843-1902)
Transcription of Obituary in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by Joseph Ferguson
Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Shenton, the much-loved wife of the Rev. J. Shenton, was born August 12th, 1843, at Macclesfield. Her father, David Reddish, was a man of will, and a generous lover of the people. Her mother was a noble-minded woman. By an example of sincerity, industry, and domestic providence, she materially helped to develop those qualities and life habits that made her daughter, in eminent degree, the true wife and model mother. In her early life, schools for the toilers were few and poor, and yet her mental culture, with such a father, was not neglected. Her quality of brain was not ordinary – her life-currents ran in the higher levels. She was not demonstrative, she quietly saw beyond the immediate and present. Being mentally sensitive and active she readily saw thought incarnated in words. Her danger was not in thinking more highly of herself than she ought to think, but rather under-estimating her privileges and powers. Her conversion to God was real and not assumed, and transpired before her twentieth birthday in her own church at Leek, Staffordshire. Her father in Christ was the Rev. Joseph Timmins, now of Heaven, a man not yet forgotten, and the music and power of whose ministry, in many places, still lingers to help. Our sister joined the Congregational Church in Roe Street of that old Saxon town nestling under the terrace of hills that give it shelter. It was also in this town that her beautiful simplicity and sweetness, unknown to herself, won the heart of him who became her husband. They were married July, 1867, and for more than thirty-four years were linked by love-bonds of increasing strength. From the day of marriage till the day of untold sadness she practically shared with her husband the duties and cares, the sorrows and joys of a Christian ministry – she was a help-meet indeed. Her discretion was her defence and her few words were an evidence of her wisdom. Gossip was not her pleasure and the tittle-tattle of ordinary life was not her daily requisite. She was diligent in business serving the Lord. She looked well to the ways of her household, was ever careful in providing for the comforts of home, and not lax in the moral and spiritual culture of her children, who, in their great sorrow and under their terrible shadow, “rise up and call her blessed.”
Her life was lovable;
Her moral influence wide and beautiful.
Her spirit was docile and sweet,
And her abiding memorial is the life and love of all who knew her.
Writing to the husband, the Rev. Harvey Roe says:- “Mrs. Shenton was a good woman. I owe much to her kindly words, sympathy, and entertainment in my early Christian life. Now that I am well-on in middle age, I often think of my early difficulties, and how your kindly counsel helped me, and a day or two in your home made me strong. I loved to talk of Mrs. Shenton in those days, and I am glad that I can think of her, as I knew her then.”
The Rev. W. Overton, a colleague, affirms:- “I shall never forget her great kindness to me when I came, as a raw recruit to Lichfield circuit. She was a real mother to me, and of all the ‘elect ladies ’ I have known since, no one, outside members of my own family, has had a higher place in my respect, esteem and affectionate regard than your dear wife.”
This saint went to God, out of painful tribulation, September 4th, 1902, after an earthly life of fifty-nine years. Her end was peace. Her first home in married life was in Tipton parish, hard by the cemetery, in which she sleeps till the “day breaks and the shadows flee away.” Her remains were interred by the writer, who is pleased to be called by the husband in a previous report – “An old and much-valued friend,” assisted by various ministers in and out our district, The cortege was composed of representatives of churches and circuits. At the grave –
The tears of love and hope
Filled many eyes.
The original cause of our sister’s sad affliction was a severe attack of Russian influenza, through which she passed into a state of melancholia and suffered more or less acutely to the end. We will not presumptuously seek to open the arcana of God. His ways are perfect and His loving presence never fails. The mystery that hangs over an eclipse of the mental faculties is deep and our limited light cannot reach its depths. We bow submissively to Him – the “bud is bitter, but the flower will be sweet,” “All things work together for good to them that love God.” Our adieu is in hope. We shall meet her again in the Land where the light of the Lamb will allow no shadow; where the mind-visions will be ever clear and progressive and where earth-fellowships are renewed in Heavenly conditions. We remember her in the healthy beauty of maidenhood; in the maturer grace of motherhood, and we will hope, with those who knew her best and loved her most, until we meet about the feet of Him who loved her, and gave Himself for all.
Elizabeth was baptised on 3 September 1843 at Macclesfield, Cheshire. Her parents were David, a silk manufacturer, and Betty.
Elizabeth married Joseph Shenton (1840-1928) in July 1867 at Macclesfield, Cheshire. Census returns identify seven children.
- William Henry (1868-1937) – an insurance broker (1911)
- Frederick George (b1869) – a grocer (1891)
- Lizzie Ann (1871-1965) – a certificated midwife and nurse; married Thomas Coniah Littley, a schoolmaster
- Joseph (1873-1931) – a schoolmaster
- John Latimer (1876-1968) – an accountant
- Francis David (1879-1887)
- Arthur Wesley (1880-1975) – a colliery office clerk (1911)
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1903/915
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers