Stableford, Zillah (nee Sawbridge) (1834-1914)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine

Leicester Second Circuit has lost an old and worthy member by the death of Mrs. Stableford on June 27th at Enderby. Born in September, 1834, at Costock, Notts, she was converted when fourteen years old, and for more than sixty-five years maintained a “good profession.” 

She.early began to render service for the Master, and was soon successful in establishing a society in Costock. She was made the leader of the newly formed class, and was quickly put on the plan to preach the gospel, evincing so much ability and zeal that when Rev. C.H. Boden was prostrated by a severe illness on the Loughborough Circuit, our sister was engaged to take his work. Once when the floods were out, she had to wade through the water to keep an appointment. She bravely faced the ordeal and was rewarded by having conversions. 

Mr. and Mrs. Stableford removed in 1879 to Huncote, and afterwards to Enderby, where they have laboured constantly for the Master. Their home was ever open to the preachers. Her sons are members of the church, and the grandchildren are following in the way of the Lord. 

The memorial service was conducted on July 12th by Rev. N. Jefferson.


Zillah was born in September 1834 at Costock, Nottinghamshire, to parents John Sawbridge, a cordwainer (1841), and Ann Bunny. She was baptised on 26 October 1834 at Costock.

Zillah supplemented the family income by working as a dressmaker (1871).

She married John Stapleford (1839-1918), a stone quarryman & grocer (1891), in the summer of 1860 in the Loughborough Registration District. Census returns identify two of three children.

  • Charles Henry (1863-1944) – a traveller in wholesale marble trade (1911)
  • Samuel John Sawbridge (1869-1949) –  district manager (insurance (1911)

Zillah died on 27 June 1914 at Enderby, Leicestershire.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1914/834

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • This story illustrates the ephemeral nature of many Methodist societies. Mrs Stableford established a meeting in Costock, and it was clearly on the Loughborough Circuit plan in the 1870s, but no PM chapel appears on any map of the village. There was a Wesleyan chapel, from 1819 to the 1970s, but that has also disappeared without trace. It would be interesting to hear if anyone knows where the class met.
    It also illustrates the selective nature of these obituaries. Mrs Stableford was born in Costock, and died in Enderby, but for the first twenty years of her married life lived in Mountsorrel. She is one of a number of Methodist local preachers who told the Census enumerator to record that they were LPs, as well as the other work they did – in her case in Mountsorrel in 1861. If we look at the Loughborough Circuit plans (elsewhere on this site) they list a local preacher called J. Stableford, living in Mountsorrel. As the plans do not indicate gender this should be Zillah using her legal name of Mrs J. Stableford.
    So many questions from one account!

    By Philip Thornborow (13/02/2023)

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