Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by H.H. Evans
In the sudden translation to the higher service of Timothy Crossfield Rigg, the Christian ministry is made the poorer by the loss of a brother who was ever devoted to the Master’s cause, whose life was as a ray of sunlight in darkness, whose heart was ever overflowing with a deep sympathy and tender compassion for his fellowmen.
Born at Armley, Leeds, on September 8th, 1860, his early life was moulded by the influence of a saintly mother and the happy atmosphere of a godly home. From his earliest days he was attached to the Church and at the age of fourteen made the great decision for Christ and began to serve Him, first in the Sunday school, and in the position of organist, and as a preacher of the gospel. Called to a larger sphere he entered the ministry in 1887, after serving a brief period as a hired local preacher. He spent his probation on the St, Day and Farringdon Circuits, afterwards labouring on the Motcombe, Redruth, Wilton, Blandford, Woodfalls, Romsey, Newbury, and Micheldever Circuits, most of which are largely country circuits of wide extent, entailing much strain upon the physical strength.
Nevertheless, wherever he moved his service was patient and entirely selfless; he was beloved by all his people for his kindly courtesy, his sincere sympathy, and his deep spirituality. It speaks much for his character that in after years he received re-invitations from most of his former circuits. When he came to Micheldever in 1915, his health was failing. The war, its horror, his own personal bereavements preyed heavily upon his constitution, yet no one heard one word of complaint from his lips and many received great consolation from his ministry.
A breakdown in May, 1917, necessitated his resting from his labours for a while, but he was soon back in his work, labouring under great difficulties with indomitable courage. He tackled a lingering debt upon one of the churches and had the joy of seeing it removed, and another larger debt extinction scheme had been launched, when, at Christmas, 1919, a partial seizure brought his active ministry to a close. Under the devoted care of his wife, he appeared to recover. Conference granted him a year’s rest in the hope that he might regain sufficient of his strength to enable him to take up his labours again. But while he appeared to recover slowly it became clearer that his work for God was almost finished and his eyes looked longingly to a quiet eventide spent in retirement with his dear wife, near their daughter.
Such indeed would have been a well-earned benediction upon a life so full of service, but God, in His infinite wisdom, willing otherwise, called him Home. At noon, on January 14th, 1921, he was dictating letters cheerfully, and was apparently well; the afternoon brought a fleeting glimpse of him hurriedly rising from his knees; in the evening, after a short walk, he retired to rest, and at ten o’clock he passed quickly into the
Eternal sunshine. Such was the selfless, devoted service, and such the beautiful passing of one who was beloved by all who knew him; one whose very presence was a blessing, whose ministry, though largely unseen and almost unknown, will be cherished in memory for long years by those who knew him.
He was full of zeal for the extension of the Kingdom, both at home and abroad; there was not one circuit on which he laboured that did not show as a result a quickened interest in mission work and an increase in missionary contributions, He was always anxious for those who, as he said, were ‘near the Kingdom’; by prayer and conversation, preaching and example he strove to win them to a definite decision. His service was true and faithful, conscientious in all things. His was a kind and loving, winsome disposition, yet sensitive and retiring, always solicitous for the feelings of others. Above all else, his nature was supremely spiritual, mystical; his life speaks of the Light that dwells within, transforming many a shadow. Truly he walked with God.
After a service in our church at Whitchurch, at which the Rev. J.H. Green bore eloquent testimony to the faithful, conscientious, cheerful life of the one he had known for many years, we proceeded to Downton, and there, amid the scenes of former ministries and his intended retreat, we laid our beloved friend and minister to rest. An impressive memorial service was conducted the Sunday following by Mr. J.H. Thompson, a much loved friend of the family, when many gathered from all parts to pay tribute to one whom they held in such esteem. In our sorrow we look up and know that, having conquered all, our brother has gone Home.
Timothy was born on 8 September 1860 at Armley, Leeds, Yorkshire, to parents James Rigg, a yeast dealer (1861) and greengrocer (1871), and Elizabeth Crossfield. He was baptised on 15 May 1861 by Thomas Newell.
He married Emily Johns (1861-1950) in the summer of 1891 in the Truro Registration District, Cornwall. Census returns identify four children.
- Helen Elizabeth (1892-1977) – married Joseph G Mitchell, a brick manufacturer, builders merchant, sawmill proprietor and quarry owner (1939), in 1919
- John Crossfield (1893-1970) – a poultry keeper (1911); independent means (1939)
- William Thomas (1897-1985) – independent means (1939)
- Herbert Hartley (1900-1977) – independent means (1939)
Timothy died on 14 January 1921 at Whitchurch, Hampshire.
- 1887 St Day
- 1889 Faringdon
- 1891 Motcombe
- 1894 Redruth
- 1897 Salisbury
- 1898 Wilton
- 1900 Blandford
- 1903 Woodfalls
- 1908 Romsey
- 1912 Newbury
- 1915 Whitchurch
PM Minutes 1921/274
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers