Townsend, Mary (nee Robinson) (1844-1899)

Transcription of Obituary In the Christian Messenger

MRS. MARY TOWNSEND.— The late Mary Townsend was born at Wardlow, in Derbyshire, June 24th, 1844. When fifteen years of age she entered the service of one of our respected local preachers, Mr. T. Gilbert, of Tideswell, in the Bradwell Circuit, and at the last service conducted by the late Rev. D. Tuton before leaving the circuit in July, 1859, she gave her heart to Christ, and from that date through life she rendered Him her uttermost service. On December 25th, 1865, she united in marriage with one of our most estimable local preachers, Mr. William Townsend, and until November, 1867, both remained members of the Bradwell Circuit, when, Mr. Townsend being appointed as station-master, they removed to Cranford, in Northamptonshire. The place nearest to Cranford in which the Primitive Methodists held services was three miles distant, and for eight years (with little children) she attended the services as often as possible. In 1875, Mr. Townsend being promoted to be station-master at Raunds, the family again removed. At this place the chapel is situated two miles from the station, and yet our sister (the mother of twenty children, ten now living and in membership with us in Raunds, Pendleton, Derby, Kettering, and Bedford) was a most frequent worshipper, both on Sundays and at the various week-night services, taking her children with her, and thus training them up to attend the means of Grace. She was most solicitous for their salvation, and her joy was unbounded when each, in turn, surrendered their all at the foot of the Cross. She was a true helpmeet to her husband, and although his labours often occasioned journeys from 500 to 600 miles annually on foot, to and from his appointments (sometimes leaving home at 6.30 a.m. and not reaching home again until 1.30 a.m. Monday), she was always up and waiting to give him a cheerful welcome home. And whilst her husband had gone, she would gather her children around her, and seek the blessing of God upon his work. In 1895 her youngest boy was seriously stricken with typhoid fever, followed by dyptheria, and also her youngest daughter and herself, and to complete the family affliction, her husband was laid aside ill for five months. But all the while her faith was strong in God. In the following year she developed a cancer, which was twice operated upon, but re-formed and pursued its course in defiance of the most skilful medical treatment, causing prolonged and acutest agonies. When our sister was nigh to the point of death, as far back as August, 1899, when the foundation stones of our chapel enlargement were being laid, a carriage was provided to take her to the service, at her express wish, but she was unable to leave her bed. From this time her suffering grew in intensity. At intervals between her pains she would pay the most reverent attention to singing and prayer, and her room often became one of the most hallowed places on earth. Her last effort of singing was on the Wednesday before she died, and the last verse of her song was:—

‘ln mansions of glory and endless delight
l‘ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright,
And sing with a glittering crown on my brow.
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.’

She rapidly sank, and a few hours before her death she said to one of her sons: ‘He is calling! He is calling! He is calling!’ These were her last audible words. With repeated angelic smiles she looked upon those near her, and then silently passed away with her hand in her husband’s. Thus our sister passed over to her much-desired haven on December I4th, and her remains were interred in the Wesleyan graveyard. The services were conducted by the Rev. E.I. Devenish in the Primitive Methodist Church, afterwards (by local requirements) in the Wesleyan Church, and at the grave. There were hundreds of followers and sympathisers. The separation is most deeply felt by her husband and family. May the Lord of all Grace sustain them in their great loss. Mrs. Devenish improved her death on Sunday, December 17th, before a very crowded congregation, when many were impressed, and a son-in-law in the family gave himself to Christ.— E.I. DEVENISH.

Family and other information

Mary was born to parents Francis Robinson, a farmer, and Elizabeth Birley.

Mary married William Townsend (1843-1929). Census returns identify eleven of the twenty children.

  • Mary Elizabeth (b1867) – married John Harrison, a boot machine operator (1911), in 1891
  • Francis James (1868-1957) – a railway engine shunter (1901); a railway signalman 91911)
  • Richard Walker (1871-1973) – a colliery clerk (1911)
  • William Arthur (b1873) – a railway clerk (1911)
  • Josiah Birley (1875-1960) – a railway clerk (1911)
  • Margaret Lillian (b1876) – married Francis Rowland Pember, a railway station master (1901), in 1895
  • Wilfred Lawson (1878-1959) – a railway clerk, goods, (1911)
  • Jabez Sidney Middleton (1879-1965) – a warehouseman grocery 91911)
  • Charles Gladstone (1881-1881)
  • Mabel Robinson (b abt1885) – married Gustav Adolph Grahl in 1910
  • James Charles T (b abt1886) – an engine fitter (1911)

Mary died on 14 December 1899 Raunds, Northamtonshire.

Following her death, William married Hannah Horsham (1857-1912) in 1900 and Elizabeth Cox in 1912.


Christian Messenger 1901/287

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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