Bickerton, Thomas Henry (1867-1955)
Thomas was born in 1867 at Dawley, Shropshire, to parents Samuel and Sarah. Samuel was a miner.
Thomas received his early spiritual impressions at Dark Lane Tabernacle, where his father was a prominent official. He was converted during the ministry of Rev J Tristram and received his first class ticket in 1882, when aged fourteen. In December of that year, Thomas was given a ‘note’ for the preacher’s plan. Thomas became a class leader whilst he was still in his teens, and his reputation for piety was such that old folk and young alike attended his class.
Thomas was a fine preacher and a sound exponent of the faith. His sermons showed spiritual insight and knowledge of human nature, and glowed with evangelistic fervour, making his message forceful and arresting.
For many years Thomas served on the Connexional General Committee.
His obituary records that Thomas gave himself to church building and debt reduction, managing to combine effective administration with evangelical fervour and pastoral ministration.
For some years he was the organising secretary for the Metropolitan Missionary Meetings held in Spurgeon’s Tabernacle. Conference sent Thomas to Belfast to oversee the transfer of Primitive Methodism in Ireland, a tribute not only to his ability but also to his Christian graciousness and tactfulness.
On retirement, Thomas served as an active supernumerary at Battersea before settling at Belmont. There he became Free Church chaplain for Battersea Cemetery, and later, for St Helier General Hospital.
Thomas married Isabella Ann Phillips (1867-1946) in late 1896 in the Risbridge Registration District, Suffolk. Census returns identify five of six children.
- Samuel Thomas Leslie (1897-1916) – died in WW1
- Dorothy Annie (b1899)
- Sarah Gwendoline (1900-1987) – married Albert J Cunningham in 1955
- Clifford Phillips (1904-1940) – died in WW2 air raid
- Lilian Mary (1909-1988) – married Alec Butt in 1935
Thomas died on 16 May 1955 at South Carshalton, Surrey.
- 1893 Harringay
- 1895 Biggleswade
- 1896 Whickham Brook
- 1899 West Ham
- 1902 Penge & Bromley
- 1905 Belfast
- 1909 Stoke Newington
- 1913 Forest Gate
- 1916 Marylebone
- 1922 Camden Town
- 1923 New Wandsworth
- 1930 Thanet
- 1933 London (Sup)
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1922/182
Methodist Minutes 1955/142
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers