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By the same indentures, a dwelling-house, with brewhouse and stable and garden and orchard adjoining, on the West Gate in Rotherham, and a piece of land containing one acre within the precincts of Rotherham, abutting upon Dalton Brook, and also common right for two months on the common and waste ground belonging to the town of Rotherham, were granted in trust that such the Protestant minister for the time being officiating in the Protestant Dissenting congregation usually assembling in Rotherham for religious worship, and whom such trustees should approve of, should occupy the dwelling-house, land, and premises last mentioned, and take the rents thereof for his own use, less the cost of rates and repairs, and, if the said last mentioned premises should be used for any other purpose, then upon trust for Samuel Shore (of whom the said Thomas Hollis, the elder, purchased the same premises), his heirs and assigns for ever.”
The Thomas Hollis, Junr., mentioned in the above deeds, to his honor, after his father's death, 1718, upheld in a worthy manner the name and charities of his sire. After carrying on, and apparently retiring from, the prosperous business of his parent, he is described as residing as a gentleman in Goodman's Fields," 1720. He represented old Chaucer's style of “Gentleman," in modern English thus :
“Look at that man, who virtuous alway,
And take him for the greatest gentleman." It may be briefly added how to his great honor and enlightened liberality this same “gentleman in Goodman's Fields” gave munificently of his large means for founding a Professorship for Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, and another of Divinity, also ten scholarships, together with other benefactions, in Harvard College, Cambridge, Boston, New England. Mr. Hollis was held in such high repute across the Atlantic that, on his death, sermons were preached in Boston and Cambridge, New England. He died without issue in 1730-31.
The Baptistory at Paul's Alley Chapel, London, was made early in the 18th century, at an expense of more than £600, by "Thomas Hollis, junior, and John Hollis, citizens and drapers of London.” In the register of baptisms there is preserved a list of “ licences,” granted in 1716 to 1718, to divers ministers to use this baptistory, by “T. and J. Hollis, of Minories.” The first recorded baptism was that on the 19th October, 1716, of Mary Page, dau. of Sir Gregory Page, Bart. A full account of this place and of the Hollis connection with and interest in it, taken from the original register, is given in “ Antiquarian Notes," 1900, pp. 77-84.
The portrait of John Hollis (b. 1743, d. 1824), painted by J. Opie, R.A., and engraved by Charles Warren, is now in the possession of Mr. Hollis Anthony, eldest son of the late Rev. Edgar Solly Anthony, B.D., great, great nephew to John Hollis. One of the rare engravings is in the collection of portraits at Tan-y-bryn, Aberystwyth, and is here reproduced.
THIRD MINISTER, 1701-1714.
[b. 30th March, 1678, at Attercliffe ; ed. by Rev. Timothy Jollie, at Attercliffe, 1694 ; min. Sheffield, Upper Chapel—1701,
as assistant to Timothy Jollie, Rotherham, 1701-1714 ; Sheffield, Upper Chapel, 1714-1744 ; m. (4th April, 1715) Rebecca, dau. Field Sylvester (d. 1717, one of the “ Trus. tees of the town," Sheffield); issue, Field Sylvester Wadsworth, and others ; d. 24th May, 1745 ; bur. Upper Chapel Yard, Sheffield.]
T has already been mentioned that one of the divinity
students in Timothy Jollie's Attercliffe Academy was
John Wadsworth; he was the son of one William Wadsworth*, a maltster at Attercliffe. The grandfather was a “Conveyancer," who died at Sheffield, in 1652, and had suffered imprisonment in York Castle on account of his Nonconformity. The grandson John, probably recommended by his illustrious tutor, became minister of the Rotherham congregation in 1701. The proposal to build a permanent Meeting-house for his flock may have originated with him, and it is to be conceived the building was erected during his early ministry. We learn from the trust deeds of the 1st and 2nd November, 1704, made between David Gass of the one part, and Thomas Hollys, junior, and nine others of the other part, that certain ground in Rotherham, near the Beast Market, along with an adjoining piece was obtained, and there was intended to be erected a Meeting-place for the worship and service of God, in such manner as the trustees should appoint. Why should the land be obtained in 1704, and the building deferred for a decade or more, as has been by some supposed ? The stone in the porch gives the year 1706, as the date of the erection of the Meeting-house, and it may fairly be concluded that the year 1906 is well selected for the celebration of the Bi-cen
Under date of the 31st July, 1689, is an application signed by him.-"We desire
that the building or barn of Margt. Stainforth, of Atterclifte, may be allowed as a place for religious worship as by Act of Parliament allowed. Joseph Nicholson, Wm. Wadsworth."
tenary. Hunter states that Oliver Heywood visited Rotherham in 1695, where a chapel had been erected at which he preached. This chapel would be the meeting-place, converted into the appearance of a chapel, occupied by the dissenting congregation, after receiving notice to quit the Millgate premises.
Mr. Wadsworth continued to minister at Rotherham until 1714, when in October he was appointed successor to Timothy Jollie (d. 28th May, 1714), at Upper Chapel, Sheffield, to whom, possibly, he may have been an assistant in the year 1709-1710, at which period it is known that many students, including one Pigot, from the Attercliffe Academy, preached at Rotherham.
Mr. Wadsworth would appear to have held theological views of a more modified type than strict Calvinism, judging from what follows. On the death of Mr. Jollie, the Sheffield congregation had to elect a successor, and their choice rested between his assistants, John De la Rose, and John Wadsworth. The former was a strong Calvinist, and on the trustees and the more numerous and influential section of the congregation preferring to appoint Mr. Wadsworth, Mr. Rose and two hundred followers from Upper Chapel left and founded another society, which assembled at first in two cottages just below the chapel ; these afterwards gave piace, 1715, to Nether Chapel. An old plan presents this Meeting-house as originally facing what is now called " Chapel Walk.”
Mr. Wadsworth remained in the pastorate of Upper Chapel until within a year of his death. How highly his congregation estimated his ministerial services may be learnt from the memorial on the tombstone, still preserved in the Chapel Yard, erected against the wall, namely-“To the memory of the Rev. John Wadsworth, who above 30 years presided as a minister among ye Protestant Dissenters in this town, with singular wisdom and candor, and as a Tutor with reputation and success. He died 24th May, 1745, aged 67 years. His only son, ye Rev. Field Sylvester Wadsworth, died 8th Oct., 1759, aged 42, and on the 11th was interred with William, his 3rd son, aged 4 years.” Mr. Wadsworth had endeavoured to carry on Jollie's Academy at Attercliffe for a period, but the effort had finally to be abandoned.