Rev. John Beddome

Earlier ancesters
Father of Benjamin Beddome

Wife and children
Goat-yard Passage, Horsleydown
Henley-in-Arden Meeting House
See also:
Letters from John Beddome to his son, Benjamin
Will of Rev. John Beddome
Will of Rachel, the wife of Rev. John Beddome
Extracts from Baptist Annual Register (c.1795)
Memoir about Benjamin Beddome (1835)
Extracts from History of Bourton Baptist Church (1861)


1675John Beddome is born, either in London or Stratford
1697Moved from Horsely Down, London to Henley-in-Arden
1711Co-pastor with Rev. Barnard Foskett
1716Bought a large house in Henley-in-Arden as a dwelling and a chapel
1716Married Rachel Brandonwife
1716John Beddome is bornson
1717Benjamin Beddome is bornson
1718Joseph is bornson
1719Martha is borndaughter
1720Mary is borndaughter
1724Became co-pastor with Mr.Beazley of the Pithay church, Bristol
1727Sarah is borndaughter
1757Rev. John Beddome dies
1758Rachel Beddome dieswife


There are different theories as to where Rev. John Beddome was born. These are discussed here.

The Baptist Annual Register for 1794, 1795, 1796-1797, including Sketches of the State of Religion among Different Denominations of Good Men at Home and Abroad (vol 2)" by John Rippon, D.D. (see extracts) says:

"Mr. John Beddome, of Bristol, was born in London; he was called to the work of the minstry by the church in Horsley Down, Southwark, then under the pastoral care of the Rev. Benjamin Keach, and afterwards of Dr. Gill. His dismission to the church at Alcester, in Warwickshire, is dated Sept. 19, 1697. On his removal to that country, he purchased a large house at Henly-in-Arden, which had formerly been an Inn, and fitted up one part of it for his residence, and the other part for a place of worship. Here is continued, enjoying the assistance of the Rev. Mr. Bernard Foskett as co-pastor from 1711, til 1719, when Mr. Foskett removed to Broad Mead church, at Bristol. To the Pithay church in that city the providence of God called Rev. John Beddome in 1724, where he succeeded the renowned puritan, Andrew Gifford, and Emmanuel his son, who did not long survive his father."

See Henley-in-Arden Meeting House.

The Memoir about Benjamin Beddome adds that "Mr. Beddome became co-pastor with Mr. Beazley, of the Pithay church, in that city, where he continued in the same capacity till 1757, when he died at the advanced age of eighty-three.

The Baptist Annual Register also gives an account of Mr. Foskett's life, which includes more on the friendship between Mr. Foskett and John Beddome:

About this time [in London] an intimacy had commenced between Mr. Foskett, and Mr. John Beddome, (the father of our venerable friend, the Rev. Benjamin Beddome, of Bourton on the water) some years after a respectable minister of the church in the Pithay. The friendship of Mr. John Beddome and Mr. Foskett was like that of Jonathan and David, and lasted through life. Mr. John Beddome was called to the work of the ministry by Mr. Keach's church, of which Dr. Gill was afterwards pastor, and was sent to Henley Arden, near Alcestor, in 1697, to assist the aged Mr. John Willis, pastor of that church, who died about 1705. A few years after the death of Mr. Willis, viz. in 1711, Mr. Foskett, who had been regularly called to the work of the ministry, and exercised his preaching talents several years, quitted the the flattering prospects of his profession in London, preferring the character of an able minister to that of a skillful physician, and removed to Henley Arden, a place to which his peculiar friendship for Mr. Beddome led him to give the preference. At Henley, at Bengeworth, and at Aulcester, these two worthies continued their joint labours, till the year 1719, when Mr. Foskett received a pressing invitation from Broadmead, to assist Mr. Kitterell, their pastor, and to become the tutor of the academy in the room of Mr. Jope, just removed into the west.

Rev. John Beddome followed him to Britol in 1724. Mr. Foskett also taught Benjamin Beddome before Benjamin went to London.

There may be doubt that Rev. John Beddome was born in London. See earlier ancestors.

Wife and Children

Wife: Rachel Brandon (?-1758). Benjamin Beddome's memoir says that she was:

"the daughter of Mr. Benjamin Brandon, Silversmith, who resided near the Royal Exchange, London. She appears to have been an amiable and accomplished woman, and received a good education through the kindness of an aunt; at whose death she also received a considerable fortune."

The Baptist Annual Register for 1794, 1795, 1796-1797 gives further details of her, and her ancestors. Her aunt, Rachel Cope (from a second marriage) died without issue, at Hanham, near Bristol, March 2, 1731; and being fond of her niece, Miss Rachel Brandon, whom she had brought up at a boarding school at Nantwich, in Cheshire, she left most of her substance to this young lady, who afterwards became the wife of the Rev. John Beddome of Bristol. This is nonsense as they were married in 1716. But it raises an interesting point. How did they meet? Her aunt died near Bristol, but Rev. John Beddome does not seem to have had any connection with that area at that time. Did they meet in London, where Rachel's father lived? They were actually married while Rev. John Beddome was living in Henley-in-Arden. He was 23 when he left London, and 42 by the time he married, so if that was the case, Rachel would have had to wait a long time!


Benjamin BrandonJan 1716(/17)Elizabeth Boswell (1749)1795
Joseph1718Jane Dallaway (1754)1794
Marthac.1719Christopher Ludlow (1757)
Mary1720Moses Brain (1740), then Edward Bright (1753)

Rev. John Beddome's will of 1744 only mentions two of his children, Sarah and Martha, and bequeaths them money when they come of age. From the birthdate above, Martha would already be of age, so perhaps that date is wrong. Rev. John Beddome also bequeaths his son in law Moses Brain one shilling, which seems an insulting low amount! The rest goes to his wife, unless she remarries, when it goes to their children - Benjamin getting 100 as being the oldest.

Rachel Beddome's will talks of her four children, named as Benjamin Beddome, Joseph Beddome, Mary Bright and Martha Ludlow. This means that John, Elizabeth and Sarah must have died before their mother, and she died in 1758. The will also refers to a grand-daughter, Mary Brain. This must be the daughter of Mary by her first marriage.

One of the letters from John Beddome to his son, Benjamin, trying to persuade him to move back to Bristol in 1748, says that if this happened "My children would be all together." That established their location at this time. Benjamin preferred to remain in Bourton-on-the-water!

Joseph Beddome was a Quaker. He died in Philadelphia, USA.

Goat-yard Passage, Horsleydown

The accounts of John Beddome's life say that he was called to the ministry in the church in Horseleydown. He left there in 1697. He was born in 1675, probably in Stratford-on-Avon, and we don't know when he moved to London, but he must have been in London around mid 1690's onwards. The following is from "The History and Antiquities of Dissenting Churches and Meeting Houses in London, Westminsiter, and Southwark" by Walter Wilson (1814):

Benjamin Keach

Goat-Yard Passage - Particular Baptist

Goat-yard Passage was a thoroughfare in Goat-street, near the Maze, upon Horseleydown. The meeting situated there was a wooden building, erected about the time of King Charles' Indulgence, in 1672, for the congregation under the pastoral care of the famous Benjamin Keach (see left). Before this time, they assembled in private houses ".... Their pastor having been dead for some time, they unanimously chose Mr. Keach be their elder. and he was solemnly ordained, with prayer and laying on with hands, in the year 1668. When he first met with them, they usually met together in a private house in Tooley-street, the better to conceal themselves from those that persecuted them; but in a few years after King Charles II granting an indulgence to Protestant Dissenters, they erected a meeting house upon Horseleydown, and God was pleased to give such success to his ministry, that he (they) quickly increased to a credible (incredible) number; and they had frequent occasion to enlarge the place of their assembling, so at length, it became a place large enough for the accomodation of near a thousand people" (Crosby's English Baptists, vol iv, p.272,3). This is said to be the first church amongst the Baptists that practised singing in public worship. Mr. Keach met with great opposition at its introduction, and a division in his church was the consequence. In process of time, however, the custom became general, even in those churches that had discovered the most inveterate opposition.

Mr. Keach was minister there from 1668 to 1704, which covers the time that John Beddome must have been in London. Perhaps accounts of this obviously charismatic minister may have reached Stratford, and encouraged John B3eddome to travel to London. It is interesting that Mr. Keach introduced singing into services. John Beddome's son, Benjamin Beddome, was famous for his hymns. He wrote one for every Sunday's service!

Henley-in-Arden Meeting House

This is from a photocopied page in my parents records. It is from a book (page 32) but they forgot to specify what it was!.

Alcester Baptist Church

Th Alcester Baptist Church dates from the reign of Charles I and from the year 1640 - the year of the famous Short Parliament. Amid the rising of popular hopes and the decline of the power of the Crown to presecute, the Baptists were encouraged to reveal themselves, so quite a number of their churches date from about this time. In its earliest period, the meetings were probably held as opportunity allowed in private houses. The first minister on record is John Willis who is said to have attended the Assembley in London in 1689 and died at a great age in 1705. In 1655 Alcester was one of seven Baptist Church which, under the tolerant rule of Cromwell, united to form a Midland Association. A meeting of this association was held in the town on July 15th, 1657, and the tradition is that in days almost if not quite as early as this, the physical needs of the delegates were met by the hospitality of the Bear Inn. A member of the Church, who was baptised in 1712 was named Joe Heath, and he had a number of descendants amongst the Baptists of London, one of whom was Archibald Brown, a pastor of the Metropolitan Tabernacle. An Assistant Minister was appointed in 1697 named John Beddome, whose more famous son Benjamin was the author of numerous hymns, some of which still to be found in Baptist Hymnals of today. Mr. Beddome came to Alcester from Horseley Down, London, the church of Benjamin Keach, who was distinguised as one of the first to introduce singing into the worship of Baptist Churches. It is not to be wondered at therefore, that in 1712 singing was introduced by general consent at Alcester. At this time the Alcester Baptist Minister held services at Henley and Bengeworth in addition to Alcester. The members lived as far apart as Stretton-on-Fosse, Henley, Fechenham and Cropthorne, and these distances were covered by people to attend the united Communion Services. Mr. Beddome purchased a house that was formerly an inn, at Henley, and fitted up part as a place of worship and part as a dwelling-house. In this house the Minister of the Church at Henley still lives. ...

Rev. John Beddome left Henley-in-Arden to go to Bristol in 1724. Since there are For Sale webpages for the Manse, I don't think that the minister still does live there! The ad claims that it is listed Grade II of special architectural and historic interest.

Click for larger version.

Licence for Henley meeting house 1714

From the website of Alcester Baptist Church:

Our Church History

Dating from 1640, our Church was at first an illegal religious gathering, so the early days are undocumented. It is included in a list of seven Churches which formed the Midland Baptist Association in 1655.

Cromwell favoured religious tolerance and the members could worship in peace; but from 1660, under Charles II, there was persecution. Alcester Baptist leaders, in particular the minister, John Willis, were many times fined 20 each at Warwick Quarter Sessions, this when the average wage was under 10 a year!

The Declaration of Indulgence in 1687 ended this, and in 1712 the members started a Church Book, which we have today. 101 members are listed for that year, still meeting in the black-and-white house in Meeting Lane. In 1735 the Meeting House (now the Hall) was built. During that century, Alcester was in the mainstream of Baptist life in this country.

From "Henley-in-Arden" by William Cooper (Cornish Bros Ltd. 1946):

The Baptists

As early as 16881 the year after the declaration of Indulgence, the Baptists established themselves in the town 'as a part or branch of the Alcester Church,' and it is recorded that mary Bissel, Hannah Mullis and Mary Taylor (wife of Theophilus Taylor) were baptised in that year. Nine years later, the Rev. John Beddome came to Henley from the Baptist Church Meeting in Horsley Down, Southwark, to assist the aged pastor John Willis, who died about 17032. In 1711 permission were given by Quarter Sessions for meetings of the Anabaptists, as they were then called, to be held in the house of George Haynes and three years later at the house of Rev. John Beddome, formerly known by the name of 'Holmes's House.'3 In this house was born, on 23 January 1717, his son, Benjamin Beddome, afterwards pastor of the Baptist Church at Bourton-on-the-Water, the celebrated writer of hymns, who is stated to have composed them to be sung after his sermons to illustrate the truths upon which he had been preaching4. ...

1. In 1676 there were six Nonconformists over 16 years of age in Henley and Beaudesrt but the denomination is not stated. Salt Lib. Lib. M.S. 33.
2. The foregoing from Minute Book, Henley Baptist Church, where 1688 is called the year of the 'Glorious Revolution'.
3. Dissenting House, Shire Hall MSS, Warwick. It is stated in the Baptist Church Book, Alcester, 1712, that John beddome purchased a large house, formerly an Inn at Henley, and fitted up one part of it for his residence and the other for a place of worship. here he continued until 31 May 1724.
4. Dict. Nat. Biog.

These photos were taken my parents some time ago (before we had digital cameras!) The comments are by my parents.

The Rev. John Beddome's original house and chapel.

Extension with bow window on right is Victorian.
Manse in Henley-in-Arden
Old photo showing house before extension
Manse in Henley-in-Arden
From the back
Manse in Henley-in-Arden
Side elevation to house to show chapel area.
Manse in Henley-in-Arden
Window same as photo on left (with three lights).
Manse in Henley-in-Arden