Personal information about Henry Jordan Midwinter

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Burial Information

Name on burial register:
   Henry Jordan Midwinter
Burial register image
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Age at death:
Date of burial:
   30 June 1923
Abode at death:
(according to burial register)
   Waltair, Newbury
Burial register information:
Book number: 1917
Page number: 081
Record number: 10247
Official at burial:
   A.H. Fowler
Source of information:
  Burial Register

Memorial Details

  Henry Jordan MIDWINTER
  27 June 1923
  Right kerb: ILMO MARION the beloved wife of Henry J MIDWINTER at Rest Nov 8th 1922 aged 76. Left kerb: HENRY JORDAN MIDWINTER at rest June 27th 1923 aged 76. Back: In his dreams.
  Poor, inlaid letters
    Chipped letters and a Ms P mistake.
  18 August 2013
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Obituaries and Newspaper announcements

Henry Jordan Midwinter
Article source:    Newbury Weekly News
Date of source:    05 July 1923
Copyright:    © Newbury Weekly News



The town has lost a high type of public man by the passing of Mr. H.J. Midwinter, whose sudden death from heart trouble we recorded in our last week's issue. But the loss to the Congregational Church, of which he was senior Deacon has been even greater, for during the last decade one after another of its most prominent men have been taken away.

Henry Jordan Midwinter was a man who looked upon the serious side of life, and what he considered to be the path of duty he trod, regardless of the consequences. Upright in public life and in his business dealings, he leaves behind him a memory which is held in high regard, especially by those who knew him best. An intimate friend, in a letter, has epitomised his life in the following sentence: “Henry Midwinter was a good man, one of the real pillars of the Church. He was the kind of faithful, family and civic life that smart people nowadays sneer at as “Victorian”. Ah well! The world can better spare some of its epigram-makers than such men as he, and such homes as he made. May the next generation do as well, if it can.

The son of the late Mr. Charles Midwinter, who lived in a great age, he started in the corn business with his father when he was but a lad of 14. Mr. Charles Midwinter had been formerly employed by Messrs. John Shaw and Sons, who had a corn and market garden business in the town, occupying the greater part of West Fields with their gardens. When they removed to London 70 or 80 years ago, Mr. Midwinter senior too the corn business over. The son greatly developed this during his lifetime until he became one of the best-known dealers in the south of England. He had been attending Mark Lane for 50 years and he was the oldest and most outstanding figure on the Market. His was a busy week, for he was to be seen at Newbury, Reading and Hungerford. He was a good judge of corn and especially of seeds. In deed was looked upon as quite an authority on the markets, and for many years has supplied market reports to “The Times,” the “Newbury Weekly News,” and the “Reading Mercury.”

A tall commanding figure, he bore a striking facial likeness to the late Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, and on more than one occasion has led to the comedy of his being mistaken by strangers by strangers for the great Liberal leader, who also was his political chief. He had quite a literary turn of mind, and was by way of being historian to the Newbury Congregational Church, having published the story of its Sunday School upon the occasion of its centenary, and there is also a brochure on the village chapels from his pen. In 1921 he was elected chairman of the Berks., South Oxon and South Bucks Congregational Union.

He was not ashamed to turn his hand to what some folk might consider a humble duty, and his perhaps the most lasting work in life was that in connection with the City Sunday School, which was started by the late Mr. Joseph Hopson, but which Henry Midwinter was associated for half-a-century, and for 48 of these he was superintendent. At times he had to deal with an unruly lot of boys, but in time they all came to love Henry Midwinter, and at his funeral there were many grown men present who had been scholars under him, and who testified to the good they had received from his guidance and example.

He was a lifelong teetotaller and earnest advocate of temperance, but he always said what he thought openly, and though he was amongst the keenest in the town for reducing the number of licensed houses, publicans showed that they recognised in him an honest and fair opponent, for on the day of the funeral the blinds of most of the licensed houses on the way to the cemetery were drawn.

Henry Midwinter took up public life at an early age. His first attempt to enter the Town Council was as far back as 1878 as a bye-election caused by the elevation to the aldermanic bench of Messrs. J.H. Lucas and W.G. Adey. In these days Town Council election were fought strictly on party and Church and Chapel lines, Messrs Midwinter and Dolby ran together, but they were beaten by Messrs. Ben Smith and Walter Money.

Only this week we were talking to one of his then opponents, the venerable Mr. Walter Money, on the subject, and the eminent historian remarked that in after years you could see things in their true perspective and recognising in Mr. Midwinter the true type of public man, he said personally he should never have opposed him again. However, in the following year, in the November elections of 1879. Mr Midwinter again offered himself for election in the South Ward, and this time he was easily returned at the head of the poll, securing 493 votes, the next highest being 334. According to our files there was a demonstration after the declaration of the poll on Stroud Green, where a bonfire was lighted, and the victorious candidate addressed the crowd.

With his well-ordered and business mind, Mr. Midwinter proved a useful member of the governing body of the town, and was chosen as Mayor in November 1887, succeeding the late Mr. Ben Smith, who was the Jubilee Mayor. Mr. Midwinter's mayoralty was marked by the commencement of the Lambourn railway, and the Broadway clock, and the efforts made to establish Churn as the second Wimbledon, which however failed to materialise. He gave a dinner to the poor people on Boxing Day in place of the usual civic breakfast. He entertained the Sunday School teachers of the town, and was instrumental in establishing the Hospital Saturday Committee. At the conclusion of his year of office, he was entertained by a complimentary dinner by his fellow townsmen in recognition of the able way he had carried out the duties of Mayor. Although he served on the Town Council for about a quarter of a century, and only retired when he was likely to be raised to the Aldermanic Bench, believing the system to be unrepresentative. He was created a Magistrate, and at the time of his death, was the senior member of the Borough Bench.

Mr. Midwinter married the daughter of the late Mr. Baldwin Salway, who was an excise officer in the town, and her death some seven months ago was a great blow to him. He leaves two sons and five daughters. And a memory which is held in honour by all.

It was a great shock to members of the corn-dealing profession and farmers when they met for the weekly market on Thursday morning to learn of the death of Mr. Midwinter. He had for so many years been a familiar personality, regular in appearance at his desk, and transacting business with practically all in attendance. He was indeed the “father” of the market. There was a geniality about him which induced friendship, and his integrity of character commanded all-round respect and esteem. Said one member of an old firm “The striking characteristic of Henry Midwinter was his absolute straight forwardness. You could rely upon his word as an honourable man. He would scorn to “do a man down,” or take any undue advantage of a deal. He was a capable man of business, and always brought to bear upon it the high principles which guided his life. His death is a great loss to the profession, and the sad news has cast a gloom over the market.”A leading agriculturist expressed similar views, “We farmers,” he said “ Knew that we could trust Henry Midwinter to fulfil his contracts. He practised in business what he professed in religion: a man of just dealing, fair and square in all his transactions. Although not a practical farmer, he had a wide knowledge of agricultural conditions, and could speak with authority on many matters concerned with cultivation. His advice was much valued, particularly on seeding operations. Farmers generally have lost a sympathetic friend.” A commercial man remarked: “I entertained the highest regard for H.J.M. We did not agree on all points; some of his views were too far right, in my opinion, but he held them sincerely, and, therefore was entitled to express them. He never pressed them objectionably on other people. The town has lost a good representative man of business.”

At the Borough Police Court on Friday the Mayor referred to the great loss the Bench had sustained since their last sitting in the death of Mr. Midwinter, the Senior Magistrate. According to the Clerk, he said, Mr. Midwinter was appointed a magistrate for the Borough in February in 1893, so that he had served in this capacity for over 30 years. Only the previous Friday he was in attendance at Court, and apparently in his usual health. Mr. Midwinter, said the Mayor, was a man who took great interest in the religious, social and public life of the town, and fulfilled the duties of the Mayoralty in 1887-88. On behalf of his colleagues, he expressed keen regret and great sympathy with the family in their severe loss. A vote of condolence was then passed whilst all in court rose from their seats. The Clerk was requested to convey the magistrates' sentiments to the bereaved family.

Mr. Angus Marshall, on behalf of the solicitors and advocates practising in the Court, desired to concur in the expressions of regret and sympathy. He said Mr. Midwinter was an able and a just man, and one whom the town, and the Bench in particular, could ill-afford to lose. He hoped Mr. Midwinter's example would be followed by many who were striving to attain the position of magistrate for the Borough.

Inspector Halfacre said the police desired to associate themselves with the remarks made. Mr. Midwinter had well deserved the confidence placed in him, and the impartial manner with which he had meted out justice, must have been apparent to everybody who had attended Court.

The Clerk wished to express his sorrow and sympathy.

The funeral took place on Saturday, and there was a large attendance at the Congregational Church- where the first part of the service was held- and also at the Old Cemetery. The Borough Magistrates were present with the Clerk to the Justices, the Mayor wearing his chain, which was draped in crepes. They followed into the church directly after the family mourners, as also the Superintendent Maunders, Inspector Halfacre, and a deputation of the Berks., Constabulary. Other public bodies represented were the Deacons of the Congregational Church, the local tent of the Independent Order of Rechabites, and old members of the City Sunday School. In addition a representative gathering of townspeople, the most notable feature of the congregation which filled the church was the large number of corn dealers, millers and farmers who were present.

The family mourners were: Mr. and Mrs. E.C. Midwinter (son and daughter-in- law), Mr. W. Midwinter (son), Misses Edith, Emily and Grace Midwinter (daughters), Mr. and Mrs. Langford ( son-in-law and daughter), Mr. Harry Midwinter and Mr. and Mrs. Sydney Vince (grandchildren), Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Rogers, Miss Midwinter, Mrs. Burrell and Mrs. Milsom, (sisters), Mr. Allen (uncle), Miss Marjorie Salway, Miss Bessie Salway and Mrs. Trotter (nieces), Mr. E. Salway, jun. (nephew).

The service was conducted by the Pastor, the Rev. A. H. Fowler, the hymns sung being “Eternal Light” and “O, Jesus King most wonderful.” Mr Ernest Watson was at the organ, and played Chopin's Funeral March at the end of the service. The Pastor delivered the following appreciation:-

We meet here today with stricken hearts and yet with quiet confidence in God. We would gather up the memorials of the noble Christian life in one great act of thanksgiving to the Father of us all. We have much to remember. In Henry Jordan Midwinter we were given to know one who united a high sense of duty with a gracious and wonderful kindness. All through his life he worked steadily for the good of his fellows, and the happiness of those about him, and of his goodness have we all received. How long and fruitful were his activities.

We think of his service to this church. For 50 years he taught in the City Sunday School, and for 48 of those years he was its superintendent. He seemed to keep order without effort, as though by some innate right of nature. He loved children, and they loved him well. He believed in building a strong Christian character on a sound knowledge of Scripture and the practice of personal service. He had an intense interest in the work of the foreign missions. For 36 years he was the Secretary of the London Missionary Society Auxiliary here, and we all looked to him as the acknowledged leader of the missionary cause. Truly, in so far as he was able, he filled up what was lacking in that life of missionary service which his brother Edwin offered, but which he was never destined to give.

And then he was our senior deacon. He held the office of deacon for 40[?print smudged]years. How much we owe to his wise council, his deep concern for everything connected with this church; his constant thought of the feelings of others, and especially of the humbler members of the congregation; his influence, which always made for peace and charity; and the example of high Christian character, and glad unwearied service which he unconsciously set before us. In fact the best traditions of this church found in him a living embodiment.

But while the service of his Church came first, he had a keen interest in everything which concerned the town. He was every inch a citizen. For 25 years he served on the Town Council, and in 1888 held the office of Mayor. For many years he was a Magistrate of the Borough, and became the senior member of the Bench. In national politics he took a full share. He possessed clear and firm convictions. He belonged to his party and worked for it through good report and ill. But the spirit of his politics is, I think, enshrined in the famous words: “With malice towards none, with charity for all, it is for us to resolve that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom: and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

In a long business life he made many friends, and it is safe to say won respect and esteem of everyone. But to some of us perhaps the fairest memory of good all is the memory of his home- the sense of good and of happiness which always seemed to

breathe from it, and the sight of that perfect and beautiful comradeship with her from whom he has only been parted these few months. What can I say more? Many of us have those more intimate and precious memories which cannot be spoken of here. For myself I can only say that he was one to whom I instinctively looked up and whom I inevitably loved. Those of us who are here today came in contact with him in many different relationships. Yet in all we were aware of the strength and the graciousness of his Christian character. He saw him as one-

“Whose high endeavours are an inward light,
Which makes the path before him always bright.”

He had a Puritan's deep concern for righteousness; his strong sense of right and wrong, but with it was blended the perfect courtesy of the Christian heart. He was always rich in

“The best portion of a good man's life,
The little unremembered acts of kindness and of love”

Today we thank God for all he has given us in this noble, Christian man.

There follows a very long list of those present at the church and the committal.

The name plate on the coffin was inscribed:

Henry Jordan Midwinter,
died 27th June 1923
aged 76 years

The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. A. Jackson and Co. under the personal supervision of Mr. R.F. Elliott.

Article source:    Newbury Weekly News
Date of source:    05 August 1915
Copyright:    © Newbury Weekly News



The City Sunday School, which was for many years carried on in the Boys' Lancastrian Schoolroom, and latterly in the Council School, having been recently amalgamated with the Congregational Sunday School, it has been desired by many of the supporters and old scholars of the school to recognise the lengthened services rendered by Mr. H. J. Midwinter, J.P., as superintendent for nearly fifty years. At a meeting of the members of the Congregational Church, held on Tuesday evening in last week, a testimonial address and a handsome case of fish knives were presented to Mr. Midwinter in token of appreciation of his lengthened services.

The Rev. J.W. Harford, in making the presentation, said that they wished to pay tribute of respect to their friend, Mr. Midwinter, on his relinquishing the superintendence of the City Sunday Schools, which, with two years previous office as secretary, extended over a period of 50 years. The amalgamation of the school with the Congregational Sunday School promised to be very successful, and it was felt that some recognition should be made to Mr. Midwinter on his retirement from office, also to his services rendered to the diaconate [sic] for 38 years. Mr. Midwinter was one who worked for the good of his fellow men and for promotion of the Kingdom of God. He was constantly receiving testimonials from old scholars as to the good they had received in the school. His work had been an example of faith, in building up of Christian character and the fulfilling of Christ's purpose on earth. His length of service with that of others, would be an inspiration for the future, particularly to his son, Mr. Walter Midwinter, who had become superintendent of the united schools. Mr Harford also referred to Mr. Midwinter's services as deacon of the church, particularly in connection with the London Missionary Society, and he also gracefully acknowledged the assistance given by Mrs. Midwinter in her husband's work. Mr. Harford then made the presentation, the text of the Address being as follows

To Mr. Henry Jordan Midwinter on behalf of the Ministers, Deacons and Members of the Congregational Church, and of the Teachers and Scholars, past and present, of the City Sunday School, we desire to assure you of our warm and grateful appreciation of the services you have rendered to the School for the period of 50 years, during 48 of which you have worthily fulfilled the responsible office of Superintendent. It has ever been your aim to maintain a high devotional tone and efficient discipline in the School, added to the inculcation of sound Scriptural instruction to the Scholars, many of whom largely owe the formation of their Christian character and their success in life to the religious influence which you have constantly exerted in the School.

As deacon of the Congregational Church for 38 years, your fellow members would also cordially recognise the services continuously rendered and the unfailing interest manifested by you in the various institutions of the Church; and it is their earnest prayer that you may long be spared to aid and promote the work of Christ in our midst.


J.W. Harford, Minister
Walter Blacket, Church Secretary
John T. Nash, Secretary City Sunday School
July 1915

Mr Blacket added his testimony to the value of Mr. Midwinter's services, having been for 38 years happily associated with him in office. The high average of contributions to the London Missionary society, was mainly due to his energy and perseverance. As to the City Sunday School, it had been known as “Mr. Midwinter's School,” and recognition was also due of the co-operation in the work of other members of his family.

Mr. Midwinter in responding, confessed that he thought tangible testimonials to be out of place, and indeed it was not himself alone who deserved the credit, for other members of the school staff and the teachers had all laboured with himself. Particularly he wished to mention Mr. Nash, who for about 40 years had been secretary of the school, and had frequently corresponded with scholars after they had left the school. He (Mr. Midwinter) assured them he would value most highly the beautiful address and their kind present, as would members of his family, several of whom had been teachers in the school.

The address, which was most tastefully executed and handsomely framed was by Messrs. W. R.Pratt, Ltd., Ludgate-hill, and the case of fish knives was supplied by Messrs. Burn and Son.

This obituary entry is awaiting verification.

Pictures and photographs

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Henry Jordan Midwinter
Mayor of Newbury 1887
©from “Regalia of the Town of Newbury, Berkshire” Compiled by Roderick Thomason, and reproduced with his kind permission.
Henry Jordan Midwinter


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