Tomlinson, Thomas (1836-1899)

Transcription of Obituary In the Primitive Methodist Magazine by Thos. H. Richards

It is an acknowledged fact that the finest type of manhood – physical, intellectual, moral – hails from our villages. The history of our own denomination bears splendid witness to this. Many of our large town churches would be very different from what they are but for the stalwarts from the villages that force of circumstances has driven to these centres. The subject of this notice was a village man who for more than forty years in a remote centre, and at the head of a small and struggling cause, made the work of our Church respected by the force of his character and his unfaltering devotion to the Church of his own people. Brother Tomlinson was a striking illustration of the law of heredity. His father, a man of humble circumstances, had much strength of character, and when converted under the labours of the fathers of our Connexion, opened his cottage for worship, and watched with great devotion over the little cause to the day of his death. Here the travelling and local preachers made their home, and the shy and timid lad Thomas quietly drank in and absorbed all that was informing and uplifting, while by the cords of love he was drawn into the family of God while a lad. Like many other true children of God, he knew no time or place to connect with his admission. Means of education were scanty, but of active and vigorous mind, and much given to reflective habits, he early became noted for intelligence and mental aptitude. His name was placed on the plan while young, and to the last he was a fresh and thoughtful preacher of the genuine Methodist school. Standing head and shoulders above his brethren almost every office, by natural selection, fell to his hands, and these were held by him for many years. It is a deplorable fact that we never had a Sabbath School at King’s Bromley, and so our brother often attended church in the morning. When absent for a time the old vicar would say, “Tomlinson, I’ve missed you for some time, I like to see you there, for I know you listen and take in what I say.”

Brother Tomlinson was very happy in his home-life. It was the abode of quiet, unobtrusive, but genuine affection. Happy in his most excellent wife and dutiful children, and they were deeply attached in return to the husband and father honoured and beloved by them.

Reticent and reserved by nature and force of habit, Brother Tomlinson appeared to some to be at times severe and unemotional; but down in his heart there were real depths of affection and religious feeling. Always physically frail, the closing years of his life were clouded with ill-health and much suffering, but through all he knew Whom he had believed, and to the last his bow abode in strength.

He fell on sleep at the age of sixty-three years, greatly to the loss of our cause at King’s Bromley, over which he had watched so many years, and was followed to his grave by devout men from near and far.

The writer has pleasant memories of cheerful hospitality at his table, of discussions and encounters which always left us warmer friends, but above all, of a manly presence in the corner of the chapel, and clear eager eyes peering from under a massive forehead, month by month during two terms of service it has been his joy to preach the glorious Word to a deeply attentive and appreciative hearer.


Thomas was born in 1836 at Kings Bromley, Staffordshire, to parents Thomas, an agricultural labourer, and Hannah.

Census returns identify the following occupations for Thomas.

  • 1851 apprentice cordwainer
  • 1861 cordwainer
  • 1871 cordwainer
  • 1881 bootmaker
  • 1891 bootmaker

Thomas married Elizabeth Dooley (1839-1910) on 20 September 1869 at Coton in the Elms, Derbyshire. Census returns identify seven children.

  • Edith Augusta (1870-1871)
  • Sarah Elizabeth (b1872) – a servant (1901); married Fred Rawlings Butcher, an electric accumulator repairer (1911), in 1902
  • Mary Ann (b1874)
  • Frances Hannah (b abt1876) – married Albert Edward Jones, a boot repairer, in 1909
  • Thomas Henry (abt1878-1950) – a creamery labourer (1901)
  • Charles Frank (1879-1935) – a canvassing and collecting agent (1911)
  • Kate (b1883) – a general domestic servant (1911)

Thomas was buried on 26 May 1899 at Kings Bromley, Staffordshire.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1901/549

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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