Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by Stewart Hooson
EDWARD STEPHENS was born in the ancient town of Cirencester, Gloucestershire, September 2nd, 1838. He was converted to God, Feb, 1857, under the ministry of the Rev. George Warner, and at once united with the Primitive Methodist church of his native town. The officials soon discovered in him that which would lead to a useful life. He was set to work, and served the church so efficiently as a local preacher, and in other ways, that the authorities recommended him for the ministry. The Conference of 18650 received him as a minister on probation and stationed him to the Ashford mission, under the care of the General Missionary Committee.
He afterwards travelled on the following stations:— Folkestone, Newport (Isle of Wight), Yeovil, Lurgan, Newry, Grassington, Sturminster Newton, Andover (twice), Newbury, Banbury, Blandford, Leamington, Malmesbury, Poole, Chipping Norton and Droxford.
He had very fair success on most of these stations, but he saw most results from his labours while on the Newport and Grassington stations. He was a man of strict integrity and upright character, faithful in the discharge of his duties as superintendent, and cheerfully pursued his calling as a Christian minister. He travelled 37 years with acceptability and profit to the churches under his charge, and it was a surprise to many when he found himself obliged to seek superannuation at the Conference of 1897.
After his superannuation he selected to spend the remainder of his life at the beautiful village of Bishopstoke near Southampton. His intercourse with the church at Eastleigh, and with the people generally, will not soon be forgotten. For only two and a half years was he spared after he had ceased from the active ministry (he died Jan. 12), yet such was his truly Christian and gentlemanly conduct that every one speaks in the highest terms of him. The high respect he had gained was shown at his funeral, when a large number of ministers and members of his own and other churches, with many from his last circuit and neighbourhood, attended, taking some part, expressive of their love to the departed one, and also sympathy with the bereaved.
The funeral took place on Wednesday, January the 17th, 1900, when a short service was held at the house, the Rev. J. Bailey, Rev. J. Wellings, and the Rev. S. Ainsworth taking part. The remains were afterwards carried to the churchyard by members of our church at Eastleigh, where the Rev. S. Hooson read the service, committing his mortal remains to the grave in full hope of a joyful resurrection to eternal life. The Rev. L. Norris and the Rev. T. Page also took part at the grave. The vicar of the parish, who had frequently visited him during his illness, expressed his wish to attend the funeral, and also showed his sympathy with the bereaved family by having the church bell tolled. Such a concession is not often given to Nonconformists, hence it is with great pleasure we note the fact. We trust that the widow and each of the four children may meet him in the heavenly home when the labours of this life are at an end.
Edward was born on 2 September 1837 at Cirencester, Gloucestershire, to parents Timothy Stephens, a tailor, and Honor Evans.
He married Martha Dodd (abt1846-1915) in early 1867 in the Sherborne Registration District, Dorset. Census returns identify four children.
- Alice Maud (1870-1936) – married Alfred John Fish, a retail draper (1911), in 1899
- Gilbert Henry (1876-1951) – a solicitor’s clerk (1891); retired Major in Royal Marines (1939)
- Lilian Kate (1878-1944) – married George Levett, a dockyard clerk (1939), in 1901
- Morley John (1885-1955) – an assistant cycle salesman (1911); municipal accountancy clerk (1939)
Edward died on 12 January 1900 at Bishopstoke, Hampshire.
- 1860 Ashford
- 1861 Isle of Wight
- 1862 Bridgewater
- 1863 Liskeard
- 1865 Yeovil
- 1866 Portadown
- 1867 Donoughmore
- 1868 Grassington
- 1869 Sturminster
- 1870 Andover
- 1873 Newbury
- 1876 Andover
- 1877 Banbury
- 1879 Blandford
- 1882 Leamington
- 1886 Malmesbury
- 1889 Poole
- 1891 Chipping Norton
- 1894 Droxford
PM Minutes 1900/27
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers