« PoprzedniaDalej »
Ravenfield. His father records, -"I had a request from Mr. Westby, of Ranfield, that he (John) might come and teach his son. I consented, and sent my son John thither on tuesday, 18th Nov., 1684, with many teares, having spent the evening in prayer with 4 others.”
The Squire of Ravenfield Hall was a most influential and prominent personage of the Rotherham district, having taken a leading part in the recent Civil Wars, and continued his powerful support to the Parliamentary side, and resolute opposition to the ejection and persecution of the Nonconforming clergy. He was himself too influential a man to be watched and disturbed or threatened with summonses by the common informers and spies—the latter making money out of their disreputable trade. One feels inclined to sing with our Virgil of schooldays :
Arma virumque cano. Oliver Heywood himself made the acquaintance of Mr. George Westby on one of his visits to Mr. John Hatfield, of Laughton-en-le-Morthen, “a gentleman ” states Hunter,
of good estate and a member of a very extensive family connection, including most of the principal gentry of those parts of Yorkshire who had been exceedingly active in all the Puritan efforts of the preceding times. It will be interesting here to mention some of these Parliamentary families of superior social position, including the Westbys, of Ravenfield, the Spencers, of Attercliffe, the Brights, of Carbrook, the Gills, of Car-house, the Rhodes, of Great Houghton, the Staniforths, of Firbeck, the Knights, of Langold, the Taylors, of Wallingwells. The heads of some of these families had held prominent commands, under the Parliament, in the Civil War, and most of them had acted as members of committees, &c.,in the interest of the Commonwealth. Rotherham was the centre of these Parliamentary representatives. Hunter declares there were few parts of England where the Puritan principle prevailed in an equal extent among the families of the best account. Oliver Heywood was always welcome to their old Halls, and his preaching and prayers were highly appreciated by all the occupants.
ROTHERHAM MEETINGS. It is easy to conceive how the Presbyterian meetings at Rotherham would be of a conspicuous and important character. The country families would come in their heavy carriages or on horseback ; and amongst these came regularly the Squire of Ravenfield and family, with Mr. John Heywood, the tutor. After the deaths of Master John Shawe and Luke Clayton, the services were conducted by the ejected ministers of Sheffield and neighbourhood, still living, with the assistance (1686 to 1689) of Mr. Frankland and his students for the ministry at Attercliffe, of which “ Academy," as it was called, more will soon be stated. The tutor of Ravenfield often officiated, and on the 14th March, 1693, he was appointed the regular minister, residing still at Ravenfield.
Old Oliver, the father, was confined in York Castle for preaching the gospel in his own house from the 26th January, 1694-5 until the 19th December following, this being his second imprisonment, so that he could not during that year visit his old friends at Rotherham and elsewhere. He records of the year 1694, that his son John had been two years
preacher at a meeting place at Rotherham : God hath helped him.”
So that it may be concluded there was at that time a settled congregation attending a recognised "meeting place,” or “meeting house” at Rotherham. At this time, the son John, having reached the advanced age of about 38 as a bachelor, had set his heart on marrying Mrs. Elizabeth Stacy, “hopefull for religion," as the father describes her. They both visited father Oliver, and afterwards on Saturday, Nov. 31st, John Heywood went to preach at Pontefract, where he had a “call to settle," the people there being anxious for him. After consulting “ Rotherham people and the ministers of Sheffield," the first Rotherham minister accepted the call to Pontefract. We need not follow him and his wife to this next place, where he exercised his ministry many years. He died at Balifield,” near Sheffield, and was buried at Hansworth, 6th Sept., 1704, aged 48 years. This return to Sheffield district will be explained by his wife Elizabeth, being the daughter of - Stacey, of Sheffield, at “Darton." They left issue, Timothy, of Sheffield, apothecary ; born 13th
Dec., 1695 ; baptized by Mr. Tim. Jollie, of Sheffield, 1st Jan. 1696 ; died sine pueris 25th Sept., 1718, and was buried at Hansworth, near Sheffield : had been married only six days. His widow afterwards married William Marsden, of Sheffield, attorney-at-law.
Before concluding this period it is interesting for us to . learn, that in 1682 apostolic Oliver visited young Mr. Shawe, at Rotherham, who was then dying, the only son of Master John Shawe, and also how he came to Ravenfield Hall and to Rotherham, where he received a legacy, bequeathed to him by Mrs. Luke Clayton, going thence to Mr. Gills at Car House. How deeply associated in friendly relations and sympathetic sufferings and labours would be the Heywoods, Shawes, and Claytons ! We indeed take leave of them as old friends of our own, raised to the church of the first-born in heaven,
JOHN RASTRICK, M.A.–SECOND MINISTER. [b. 26 March, 1650, at Heckington, co. Lincoln ; ed. Cambridge Trinity College ; M.A. 1674 ; min. vicar of Kirton, 1674-1687, as noncon. formist, Spalding ; Rotherham, 1694-1701 ; King's Lynn, Spinner's Lane, 1701-1727 ; m. and had issue William (min. King's Lynn, 1727-1752); d. 18 August, 1727 ; bur. St. Nicholas's Chapel, King's Lynn.)
According to Hunter, John Heywood was succeeded by a Mr. Rastrick, though he does not supply the Christian name of this minister, or afford any information respecting him. Dr. Calamy in his “Nonconformists' Memorial” does mention
John Rastrick, M.A.," who seceded from the church at Kirton, near Boston, not having been ejected. He seems to have professed a
" moderate Nonconformity," and was pastor of a society at King's Lynn, in Norfolk. He must have been a man of rare scholarship and superior taste. It is recorded that of his literary remains there are two letters to Mr. Ralph Thoresby, the celebrated antiquary, of Leeds, relating to some Roman coins, &c., found in Lincolnshire, printed in the Philos. Trans. An account of his life, from the pen of the Rev. Alx: Gordon, M.A., is included in the Dictionary of National Biography.
ATTERCLIFFE DISSENTING ACADEMY. It is of importance to learn how the early Nonconformists succeeded in obtaining ministers, after the decease of