John WarburtonTwo hundred years ago John Warburton and his family arrived in Trowbridge. Today we consider the calling of a pastor a process which takes time – often months if not years.
John Warburton had first preached in Trowbridge on 27th January 1814 and extended this to preach each Sunday in February that year. The new church at Zion invited John Warburton to return to preach in February 1815 and at the end of that month an invitation to become their pastor was extended to him. The church book records on 5th March John Warburton accepted the call of the church to be its Pastor for as long as the majority and he shall agree.
Warburton returned north to Rochdale with the plan to move to Trowbridge. After putting his affairs in order he preached his final sermon to the Rochdale church from Acts 20: 32 – ‘And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.’
The Warburton family left Rochdale on Monday 27th March. Their first two nights were spent in Manchester and by the Wednesday evening they had reached Birmingham. They travelled to Bristol by Thursday and finally on 31st March they arrived in Trowbridge. The journey was undertaken by stagecoach travelling at about ten miles an hour.
Who travelled with John and his wife Lydia? They left William their eldest son in Rochdale. Their third child had died and so those who travelled to Trowbridge were: Sarah aged 18, James aged 14, Elizabeth aged 13, Leah aged 10, Rachel aged 8, Gideon aged 6, Manoah aged 4 and Ruth aged 1. Lydia was at that time expecting John who was born in August and Rhoda was born in 1817, but died three years later.
John Warburton remained in Trowbridge for the next forty two years pastoring the church at Zion.
Lydia survived him and died at the age of 85 in May 1865. What do we know about the children after they moved to Trowbridge? Little is known of William. Sarah became pregnant at the age of 18 and in 1819 she married John Earle. She remained in Trowbridge and died in 1877.
James married Martha Edwards in 1819 they had a family of eight children whose descendants are still in the Wiltshire area. Elizabeth married an older man John Hayward who had been married before. He was a director in a local cloth mill. Elizabeth and John had eight children. Elizabeth was baptised in 1823 with her sister Sarah. John died in 1870 and Elizabeth in 1884. Leah married Isaac Moore who was also working in the cloth industry, owning some dye houses. Leah had twelve children, four of whom died as infants. Leah died in 1889. Leah and Sarah are both buried in Trowbridge cemetery, very near their parents. Elizabeth is also buried there.
Rachel never married remaining at home with her parents. She died in 1870 and she was buried with her parents. Little is known of Gideon. Records indicate he had moved to London in the 1830’s. Manoah died at the age of 28 and was buried under the front path at Zion with four of Leah’s children and his youngest sister. Ruth remained at home for a long time and then married Joseph Gudgeon. She died in 1895 and was the last surviving child of John and Lydia. John married Emma Rudman in Trowbridge in 1838, the same year he was baptised. Later John became pastor at Southill, Bedfordshire from 1844 until his death in 1892. Both Ruth and John are buried at Southill.
God was to honour the coming of the Warburton family to Wiltshire two hundred years ago and many in the west were blessed through the preaching of the two Johns, father and son.