Fletcher, Charles (1819-1846)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by Thomas Hobson

MR. CHARLES FLETCHER was born at Long-Wood-Dean, near Winchester, in the Mitcheldever circuit, Hampshire. In the early part of his life he derived much advantage from sabbath-school instruction, and became a subject of serious impressions; but after leaving his school those impressions, like the early cloud and the morning dew passed away, and he remained a stranger to vital religion till May, 1840, when one of our missionaries first entered the place of his nativity to publish the word of life. Under the first sermon preached by the missionary, our deceased brother was awakened to a sense of his danger, and received an anxious concern for salvation; and soon afterwards he found peace with God, and then united with our Society. To the new mission he was rendered very useful, by holding prayer-meetings in the village and its vicinity; and as he possessed good natural abilities, adorned with decided piety, he was ere long duly authorized to proclaim “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” The zeal, punctuality and acceptance with which he filled the local capacity, induced his circuit to call him to the itinerancy, in March, 1844. 

In July, 1845, he was removed to Wallingford circuit; and last year Luton circuit became his sphere of action. His abilities as a preacher were good, his sermons were fraught with powerful appeals to the human heart, and contained intreaties very persuasive and melting. His manner of preaching was becomingly serious, exemplifying, in a high degree, the views of Mr. Baxter: “I preach as if I never should preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.” In his private studies he was diligent and persevering, and was rewarded with ample success in his attainments of knowledge. The conversion of sinners to God and the edification of believers were constantly in his aim; and the Lord let him not labour in vain, or spend his strength for naught. From Mr. Grigg, the superintendent of his second circuit, I have received the following testimony; “When Mr. Fletcher travelled in the Wallingford circuit, his residence was in my house; and, from his conversation and practice, I had reason to believe that God had blessed me with a colleague in whose heart Divine grace was deeply rooted: his deportment was becoming a Christian and minister, his labours were owned of God in the conversion of many souls, and he was highly esteemed in the circuit.” A letter from Mr. Elford, under whose ministry our deceased brother was brought to a saving knowledge of the truth, states, “I have regularly held correspondence with him, and he ever manifested a warm attachment to the Connexion and a growing desire to be useful. In the last letter I received from him, he spoke of various changes that were taking place, but declared himself to be of one mind, and that was to progress in getting and doing good.”

When a sense of duty led him to form a decision, he was not readily moved: he states in his journal, while employed in missioning, “I was opposed by policemen and others, but was resolved, as far as possible, to do my duty.” His temper, naturally amiable, was much improved by Divine grace. Humility was an eminent trait in his character; however much he was applauded by others, he was little in his own eyes, overlooking his own excellences, and accounting himself an unprofitable servant. He loved private prayer and communion with God, and daily retired at stated times for the enjoyment of them. In his pastoral visits, foolish conversation was scrupulously avoided, while important topics were dwelt upon with an earnestness and interest which gained him great esteem.

His illness commenced on December 20th, 1846; when he complained of pain in his head, arising, as he thought, from a cold. During the week I offered to supply his three appointments on the 27th; but he thought it needless to supply more than one, remarking that he would endeavour to take those of the afternoon and evening. Accordingly, he discoursed to the people on the shortness of time and the certainty of death; and his address was unusually solemn and affecting. On the 28th, his indisposition increased, and at night he was seized with an inflammation in the bowels. After returning home from the country, late in the evening of the 29th, I hasted to see him, and, finding the disorder increasing, I remained with him most of the night. On the following day his pain abated, and we thought his disease had abated also; but, ah! in the evening it appeared to be beyond the control of medicine, and soon there was little hope left of his recovery. He was apprized of his approaching dissolution; but calmness and resignation possessed his soul. He proceeded to express his wishes relative to his worldly concerns and funeral, &c.; and these affairs being adjusted, he appeared wistfully to await the signal for flight. I said, “You feel the Redeemer precious, Mr. Fletcher ;” and he replied, “I do, I do; the gospel I have preached to others is able to support me under these sufferings: I wish to depart, and be with Christ, which is far better,” As his exit approached, he exclaimed, “Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly,” and, waving his hands, he said, “Victory! victory through the——” Here his voice faltered, and on his lips the word “Glory” quivered till the vital spark escaped from the clay-tenement; which event occurred at a quarter past five o’clock in the morning of December 31st, 1846, in the twenty-eighth year of his age.

Family

Charles was born in 1818 at Longwood Dean, nr Winchester, Hampshire. I have not been able to identify his parents in online records.

Charles died on 31 December 1846 at Luton, Bedfordshire.

Circuits

  • 1844 Micheldever
  • 1845 Wallingford
  • 1846 Luton

References

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1847/133

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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