Tomlin, William (1814-1902)

Transcription of Obituary In the Christian Messenger

WM. TOMLIN, of Abthorpe, was the third son of Benjamin and Hannah Tomlin, of Paulers Pury, Northamptonshire, and was born March 28th, 1814. He inherited the generous disposition of his father, of whom many interesting facts could be given. One is as follows: A boy who worked with him was so poor as to be obliged to go to work scantily furnished with shoes. Mr. B. Tomlin at once ordered a new pair of shoes for the lad, who in after years became a prosperous farmer, but never forgot the timely signal kindness he then received.

Hannah Tomlin, the mother, gave her family of five sons a sound Christian training. She had kept a private school at Paulers Pury, a circumstance which helped her influence as a Christian mother and teacher in the discipline of her home. Members of the Baptist Church together the parents brought their children up in the ways of piety, requiring them to attend the Sunday school regularly at a distance of three miles.

In 1837 he married Miss Frances Robinson, and went to live at Slapton. They afterwards took a small farm at Abthorpe where they spent a number of years, until Mrs. Tomlin’s death. They had their share of trouble, losing two little boys within a week of one another, but their faith in God was constant and unshaken. When the Primitive Methodist Chapel was erected at Abthorpe, Mr. Tomlin became a member and local preacher. He also appeared on the Wesleyan plan, and so rendered excellent services to both communities. In addition he was a class-leader, and was much blessed in his work. To his great joy his daughter Suzannah was enrolled in his class-book at the age of 15. She was an earnest and attractive young Christian, but in her 20th year was called from these earthly scenes to her crown in heaven.

Our friend and brother who has now joined the higher fellowship lived a valued and honoured life. He filled several parish offices. He was for many years guardian of the poor, and attended at Towcester until obliged to resign through increasing age. After the death of Mrs. Tomlin he went to live with his daughter, Mrs. Smith, at Hartwell, where he passed away on May 3rd, 1902, in full assurance of hope.

At Hartwell, as at Abthorpe, he made many friends. His life was a pattern to all his surrounding neighbours, whose respect and love he won by his kind Christian ways both of speech and daily conduct. He had a supreme gift of sympathy, and knew how to speak the word of counsel, comfort, or of warning to others. We cannot doubt that his words and deeds will continue to live, for our friend seemed to take for his life’s aim this high level:
“Fill up each hour with what will last,
Buy us the moments as they go;
The life above when this is past,
Is the ripe fruit of life below.”

His remains were interred at Abthorpe on May 6th, 1902. The Rev. W. Fiddler (Baptist, Towcester) conducted the service in the Primitive Methodist Church, which was filled by sympathising friends, appropriate hymns being sung by the choir. Rev. G.B. Ashwin read the service at the parish church. A large concourse assembled at the graveside when Rev. W. Fiddler read the words of committal, and the choir feelingly sang, “Sleep on, beloved, sleep.” The shops in the village were closed in token of veneration for one so widely known and esteemed, and beautiful wreaths were sent from the Primitive Methodist Church and from several friends. So has this good man been gathered like a-ripe shock of corn to the Heavenly Garner.


Family and other information

Baptism records identify that William was baptised on 26 March 1814 at Paulerspury, Northamptionshire.

Census returns identify the following occupations for William.

  • 1851 farmer’s bailiff
  • 1861 1861 farmer & carrier
  • 1871 farmer
  • 1881 farmer of 33 acres employing one man
  • 1891 farmer
  • 1901 retired farmer

William married Frances Robinson (abt 1815-1900). Census returns identify four children.

  • Elizabeth (1839-1906) – married Bennet Smith, a coffee house keeper & coal merchant, in 1864
  • John (b abt1843) – a farmer
  • Susannah (abt1846-1866)
  • Fanny (1851-1904) – married Joseph Stevens, a farmer, in 1873


Christian Messenger 1904/63

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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