Alderslade, Henry (1816-1884)
Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by James Jackson
The subject of this sketch was born at Portsmouth in the year 1816. His parents, James and Sophia Alderslade, attended the Established Church, and took their family with them. When Henry was six years of age they lost their mother. Being deprived of maternal care, he left his home at a very early age, but soon returned, and, fortunately for him, was sent to a Wesleyan Sunday-school, where he had a very kind teacher (a Mr. Baxter). They became very much attached to each other, and, through the kindness and prayers of this friend, he was led to seek the Saviour, and became soundly converted to God at the age of fifteen years. Being very zealous and intelligent, he was placed on the Wesleyan plan as an exhorter, and became a local preacher before he was seventeen years of age. Such was his earnestness that frequently he has been seen to weep while exhorting sinners to give themselves to the Saviour. Being full of zeal, he with some others went to mission several villages, through which some little misunderstanding arose, and he left the Wesleyans. About that time he became acquainted with the Rev. W. Harland, joined the Primitive Methodist Society, was put upon the plan as a local preacher, and soon after called out into the ministry. In 1837 he was pledged by the Hull Circuit, and we find his name amongst the ministers of that station for that and the following year. Subsequently he travelled in London, Whitehaven, Bedford, Norwich, Lynn, Rockland, Mattishall, Ely, and Fakenham. He prosecuted the duties of a minister with great diligence and fidelity. His genial nature and sincere piety also made him a welcome visitor in the homes of the people.
By his brethren in the ministry he was greatly beloved, and often would he speak with joy of the Christian communion and correspondence he had held with the Revs. W. Harland, Holliday, Flesher, and many others then gone to their reward. He was also a great favourite with children, in whom he took much interest, as the Juvenile Magazine of between thirty and forty years ago will show, he being a constant correspondent. He also wrote interesting pieces for the large Magazine. His brother, Mr. J. Alderslade, of Newport, writes:- ‘I have great cause to be thankful my brother Henry ever came to Newport and invited me to go with him to hear his friend, Rev. W. Harland, preach, when I was led to see myself a sinner, and felt the need of a Saviour, and at once decided that this people should be my people, and their God my God. That is forty-eight years ago, and during that time I have been actively engaged as local preacher, class-leader, society and circuit-steward, superintendent of Sabbath-school, &c., with the people of my choice.’
For more than forty years the writer has known our esteemed brother, having travelled together in 1844, one being stationed at Lynn, the other at Docking, then a branch of Lynn Circuit. These were mighty days, there being an increase of 500 members on the station that year. After sixteen years of excessive labour his health gave way, and in 1853 he had to cease from public work and seek superannuation. From that time to the day of his death he was the subject of much suffering. His religion was not of the melancholy type, but ever bright and radiant, and such was its sweetness that the weight of affliction had no power to make him murmur or repine, but simply refined his graces, and made the close of his life radiant with the brightness of holiness and love. In 1877, when stationed at Fakenham, I had the privilege of spending many happy hours with him during my four years’ stay in that circuit. We often talked of old times and scenes, when his eyes would sparkle, and the old fire kindle up in his soul, and he would shout, ‘Praise the Lord! I shall have many stars in my crown of rejoicing.’ To his particular friends his society was most pleasant and profitable, and the effect of long and intimate acquaintance with him was to feel towards him every sentiment of respect and affection. In his household he was a Christian, affectionate husband and father, his life being one uniform display of conjugal affection and parental tenderness. In 1881 I left Fakenham for Downham, but we kept up a regular correspondence. His letters were always cheerful, breathing a spirit of hope and resignation to the Divine will, and the last of his writing I saw were these words, ‘O may I, my faithful wife, my boys, my girls, and all, all whom we have loved on earth, at last –
Amid the sacred throng,
Before Him prostrate fall;
Join in the everlasting song,
And crown Him Lord of all, Amen,’
Rev. J. Allison, now stationed at Fakenham, writes:- ‘Rev. A. Morter and I visited Brother Alderslade many times during his illness, which was unto death, and always found him resting firmly on the Rock of Ages. He leaves behind him all the evidence necessary to prove that his departure is to the home of the blest. Those who attended him in his dying illness give a good testimony of his patience under the most severe suffering and perfect resignation to Heaven’s will.’ He leaves behind him a widow and four children to feel the pangs of sorrow by his removal to the higher sphere, which took place January 26, 1884, at the age of sixty-eight years. While we sorrow with his sorrowing friends, we rejoice with them also that he has fought the good fight, won the victory, and entered into rest. May the writer, the reader, and all his loved ones, meet at last on that deathless shore –
‘Where all the ship’s company meet,
Who sailed with the Saviour beneath;
With shouting each other they greet,
And triumph o’er sorrow and death.’
Henry was born in 1815 at Portsmouth, Hampshire, to parents James and Sophia. He was baptised on 25 December 1815 at St John, Portsea, Hampshire.
He married Ann Pearson (1807-1889) in the summer of 1841 at Patrington, Yorkshire. Census returns identify three children.
- John Pearson (1842-1902) – a traveller in stationary (1871); later a dock labourer (1891)
- Henry (1843-1890) – a printer compositor
- Ann Elizabeth (1847-1924) – married Josiah Luther Howchin, a storekeeper and son of Richard Howchin, in 1872; housekeeper to Lady Countley (1911)
The 1881 census describes Henry as an insurance agent and news correspondent.
Henry died on 26 January 1884 in the Walsingham Registration District, Norfolk.
- 1837 Hull
- 1841 Norwich II
- 1842 Wisbech
- 1843 Lynn
- 1844 Docking
- 1845 Mattishall
- 1846 Brandon
- 1848 Rockland
- 1850 Ely
- 1852 Fakenham
- 1853 Fakenham (Sup)
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1884/369
PM Minutes 1884/6
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers