Reverend Jabez Ingham

Author:
Date published: 20/02/2015
© Newbury Weekly News

THE LATE REY. JABEZ INGHAM.

 

By His Daughter

 

February 25, there passed away at 4, Beaconsfield Terrace, a veteran soldier of the Cross, who during fifty years of active ministerial life saw service in many fields and under many varieties of circumstances. Mr. Ingham was born at Thirsk, Yorkshire, June 17th, 1816, the year that followed the battle of Waterloo. That year Princess Charlotte died, three years later George III.  Scenes and events that to us look ghostly through the mists of long ago had a fresh interest in is his early youth.  He often heard his parents speak of the panic caused by reports that Bonaparte was expected to land at one or other of the eastern ports, of the despot's attempts to spoil our trade by a of Continental blockade.  He would hear of the excitement about the Reform Bill after Waterloo, the Corn Laws and Anti-Corn Law agitation, the resistance against Free Trade.

  

Boyhood

 The boy grew up with a keen zest for political information, strongly defined convictions of utility and class fairness, and a strong grasp of economics, details of administration, and the trend of political movements.  Neither an idealist nor an oil consuming student, he had a disposition to "prove all things; hold fast that which is good”.  An apt mind, sensitive nature, warm, human, catholic sympathies gave him the true insight and clear judgment for which in later years he was remarkable.  The refined religious influences of a home, ordered after the ideal of the early Methodists, was an important factor in his moral and spiritual education.

  

Ancestry

  On his father's side there ran in his veins the blood of men who had sacrificed every worldly prospect for Christ's sake.  One of these, after what was called the Black Bartholomew's Act, renounced the church in which he ministered, to identify himself with the despised Puritan party.  His mother prided herself on her descent from French Huguenots, driven by stress of persecution into exile and to poverty.  We may believe that his youth was without offence, since his parents often remarked that their three children never cost them an anxious half-hour by unfilial and irregular conduct. I once heard my father say that before he consciously surrendered will and heart to God, his love and reverence for his parents was like a religion to him. The fear of ever grieving them kept him back from things he coveted and they disapproved. He mention races in particular, as his love for fine horses, and skill in managing the most spirited horse, strongly disposed him to join in the excitement of the turf.

 

 

Call to the Ministry

 

The all-important choice of Christ and His, cross was early made, and after some years of usefulness as lay-preacher, district visitor and sick visitor, Mr. Ingham obeyed what he believed to be a divine call to the Wesleyan ministry, and offered himself as a candidate.  His ordination took place in Liverpool, 1841.  The world was before him where to choose; he had expressed his willingness to go anywhere, placing himself entirely at the disposal of the Conference.  October 20, 1841, he went on board the “Arne," and November 21 landed at Carbonear, Newfoundland.  The day following he opened his I. ministry by preaching in the morning from John iii, 16, and in the evening from Isaiah iii, 10, 11.  There had been great anguish in his father's house when his lot was determined on.  So little was known of the oldest of our British colonies that the appointment to Newfoundland appeared most inauspicious. But the young minister had no reason to regret it.  He found there a fine field for usefulness.  And for the hardships, the journeying in bitter cold, the unequal conflict to which duty urged with snow and ice and blinding storms.  Mr. Ingham was, during his long life thankful that he had been subjected to that discipline.  To it he attributed the health and powers of endurance which he subsequently enjoyed.  Fain would he have spent many years on the scene of his early ministerial labours and of his marriage, but in 1848 a tender duty called him home.  His father-in-law, the Rev. John Pickavant, late of St. John's, Newfoundland, and for 27 years Chairman of the District, died at Leeds, and Mrs. Pickavant desired that her only child might be permitted to support her under the double cross of her bereavement and her chronic ill-health.

 

 The Iterinancy

 I cannot trace in detail the changes of my father's long and useful life. As an itinerant Wesleyan minister he did good service in many circuits.  His record of fifty t. years is almost an unbroken one, the inability to fulfil an appointment was so rare. It is safe to say that he never gave in where another man would have persevered. Over snow-clad Yorkshire moors went the willing feet with their message, treading with equal willingness the streets of the cathedral city or the long road that led to the colliery village.  Amid the grey hills of Northumberland, or beneath the mountain heights of Cumberland, he did the work whereto he was sent.  Most at home, undoubtedly, in his native Yorkshire, he was everywhere a man much beloved, and when for the sake of his family he removed to the southern shires, his facility for making friends did not forsake him.  We cannot say that in the pulpit the glow of his early popularity was sustained to the end. There were pathetic causes for this.  In his youth the awakening and arousing element was more conspicuous in his preaching than it was later on.  Whatever his theme he kindled quickly to it.  His style was fluent and dramatic, with fine touches of humour and pathos, and a tendency to break into strong invective when cruelty and oppression called for rebuke. He delighted in pictorial representation, and had at command a poetic choice of words highly captivating to the young and imaginative.  Both in singing and speaking he had the potent instrument of a rich musical voice, a voice which has been compared by connoisseurs to the organ of some of our greatest vocalists, and might, it was said, have been cultivated with equal success had song been his vocation. The artless, winning, childlike simplicity of his manner contributed to form a unique personality. Instinctively courteous and considerate, he won more love than blame even from those who considered him eccentric

 As a Man of Prayer

 Prayer was the atmosphere in which he moved; an angel's ladder let down from heaven to earth; an involuntary and informal yet profoundly reverent correspondence between his soul and the Eternal.  Never did a child go to school, take a journey, or start on a new career, that the censor of prayer for wisdom, safety and guidance was not swung by the father's hand. To that faith would ascribe the fact that though the sons made journeys far and wide, and encountered many perils and difficulties, the way of escape has been again and again made clear.  But few large scattered families have realised so great an immunity from accident or known more signal deliverance when placed in circumstances of trial and danger. Though no formalist, Mr. Ingham loved the courts of the Lord; he was wont to speak of the Sanctuary as "Thine holy and beautiful house”.

HIS PASTORIAL OFFICE  

He fully enjoyed too the exercise of his ministerial and v pastoral functions.  In the latter he persevered long after the former had been resigned.  His was indeed a welcome presence in the chamber of suffering and of death. There the naturalness of his manner and winsome fatherliness commended him peculiarly. He always began by soothing the suffering one, winning his ear and his confidence and thus preparing the way for the full awakening and the higher consolation which he had come to proffer. Here his fatherliness mingled with his childlike spirit proved an irresistible spell.  Lips long sealed by pride and reserve opened up to tell their story or made the wistful enquiry, "What shall I do to be saved?”.  Minds beclouded or painfully disordered cleared; even wild affright has been known to vanish in a few moments in his presence, while many a child of God ceased to shrink at the gloom of the valley and caught the ripple of the river of life as it made glad the city to which he was going.

HIS DOMESTIC LIFE  

In personal and family trials, he had the sympathy to offer which springs from fellow-feeling.  His large family of 13 children weighted him with many cares and anxieties.  Four died in infancy, and of the nine who remained were some whose health was a constant source of solicitude.  Painful pages might be turned over on that head but the revelation serious affliction brought of the father's willingness to tend and help is surely a thing to cherish.  Fatigued with evening ministrations in distant chapels, arriving home faint and altogether overdone, he would rouse himself night after night, to divide the mother's watch over the sick child, or to soothe by his presence an invalid boy

 

 

 His Humour

 Any sketch of him must he incomplete that does not take note of his dry humour, his Yorkshire raciness of speech and diction.  This quality recommended him especially to the rugged north.  It was appreciated in the south as long as his powers were at their best.  It helped him with a touch to dissipate the clouds of a many a gathering storm, and make the threat of far off thunder, forgotten in explosive laughter.  This was all the more remarkable because of his hopelessness and the sensitiveness of his temperament.  His children used to remark that their father was like the sun, a dark body to himself but bright to other bodies, a certain, nervous irritability that characterised him, marred the sweetness of his temper, though it was a mere surface disturbance of the mind and the emotions. His lightnings were summer lightnings; his anger never left the sting of words intended to wound and rankle.

  

Retirement

 

The malady by which the silver cord was loosened was insidious, and prolonged through fourteen years. Eight years ago, feeling that his capacity for active service was over, he retired to Newbury, in order that he might spend his last days among people endeared to him by many associations during the three years residence 1872-75.  A very tender sentiment towards him was awakened in the minds of those who knew and loved him in his prime. It was but too evident that the tree was withering from the top. The blight wrought till mind and memory failed, and the once healthy frame tottered to its fall

The Closing Scene

 

January 3 he was taken to his chamber in strong pain.  From that illness he never recovered.  His condition was one of distress and trial, but patience had her perfect work.  His frequent prayers for deep spirituality in his family and the usefulness of his children, showed almost to the last how his mind was engaged. Often his face was almost glorified by the peace and joy that shone from it, while amid all the wanderings of delirium, such words would fall as “Great peace, sweet peace, I am filled with thine Spirit", "I am going to know the mystery". As the grey light of dawn struggled into the room after a painful night, one of his daughters said to him, "You feel that now the morning breaks and the shadows flee away”.  "Oh yes, my darling, I feel it.  I have always felt it.  I feel it with all my heart”.  The struggle was yet prolonged through several suffering days and weary nights, and on February 25th the captive soul was loosed.  The morning broke, the shadows fled away, and on the wings of that morning rose exulting from the dust and ashes of affliction, to join the spirits of just men made perfect, and his kindred who had gone before.

 The Funeral

 Took place yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon ,the body being conveyed in a funeral car from Beaconsfield terrace to the Wesleyan Chapel, where the first part of the Burial Service was conducted, and members of the congregation had assembled to pay the last marks of respect.  As the coffin was borne into the church, the organist, Mr. Andrew Freeman, played Guilmant's Funeral March in C minor. The service was conducted by the Rev. G. Bolderston, assisted by the Rev. R. H. Killip, who read the lesson and offered prayer. The hymns sung were "For ever with the Lord”, "On the resurrection morning”, and one which was said to be a favourite with the deceased –

 

"My God, the spring of all my joys,

The life of my delights;

The glory of my brightest days;

The comfort of my nights."

 

During the service a short address, appreciative of the career and character of the deceased minister, was delivered by Mr. Bolderston.  As the coffin was carried out, Mr. Andrew Freeman played the "Dead March” in Saul very effectively, followed by Chopin's "Funeral March".  The interment took place at the Cemetery.  The mourners were : Mrs. Unkles (daughter), Mr. Alcock (son-in-law), Mrs. Jones and Miss Ingham (daughters). 

 Amongst those present at the service and graveside were Mr. J. H. Mason, Miss Mason, Mr, J. Mason, Mr. Alderman Fidler, Miss Fidler, Mr, John Webb, Miss Webb, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Webb, Miss Webb, Miss Moore, Mr. J. W. Righton, Mr. T. Garlick, Mr. and Mrs. Brim Gould, Misses Gould, Mrs. C. Dolton, Miss Dolton, Miss E. Dolton, Mr. and Mrs. A. J. Elliott, Mr. J. E Woodger, Mr. and Mrs. Sainsbury, Mr. J. C. Fidler, Mrs Ingram, Miss Westcombe, Mrs. Mitchell, Mr. and Mrs. T. Turner, Messrs. Siney. Pullen and others.  The coffin was covered with black cloth and black furniture, and on it were the following floral emblems: Cross from his wife, with motto, "Love is stronger than death" ; from his daughters - Sarson with motto, "Losing life and saving it" ; from Marion (Mrs. Unkles), with text "Thanks be unto God that giveth us the victory" ; from Louisa Faulknor, with motto, "Fullness of joy "; anchor from Flora (Mrs. Alcock), "In sure and certain hope" ; from his grand-child, Mabel, and her husband, Mr. H. Elliott: “In loving memory of my dear master," H. Mealing: also wreaths and floral tributes from Mr. and Mrs. Dolton and family, Mr. and Miss Mason, Mr. and Miss Hopper, Miss Roffee, and Mrs. Jenks.

 The inscription on the coffin plate was:

 

Jabez Ingham

Born June 17, 1816,

Died, February 25, 1899.

The undertakers were Messrs. Hopson and Sons.

 

 Missing years

 

                                                                                                                                                                         

Sources:Newbury Weekly News 2 March 1899

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