The Barclay Voice

There are several books or accounts of people on this website, all written by or about members of the family.

The Noisy ones

Each book describes not only the individual, and sometimes the siblings or children, it also mentions the parents, so gives quite a wide view of Beddome and Charlesworth history. Along with the more serious information, I noticed references in each of these accounts to something that in my childhood was called the Barclay Voice. This is a loud, penetrating voice, useful when talking to a large group of people, but irritating sometimes in normal conversation. Yes, I have the Barclay voice!

Rev. Benjamin Beddome (1716-1795)

Rev. John Beddome, the father of Rev. Benjamin Beddome, wrote to him when he started preaching to give some good advice:

"I wish from my heart I could prevail with you not to strain your voice so much in the delivery of your sermons...If you deliver the great truths of the gospel with calmness, and with a soft, mellow voice, they will drop as the gentle rain or dew."

"I cannot but advise, and earnestly press you, to strive with all your might to soften your voice...if you could deliver the matter you produce in the same manner as Mr. Evans, you would be more popular and useful than ever likely to be if you retain your harsh mode of speaking."

Maria Charlesworth (née Beddome) (1826-1881)

Rev. Samuel Charlesworth, the husband of Maria Charlesworth, described her speaking voice like this:

"Having a very clear, distinct voice, of peculiar sweetness and earnestness, she could be distinctly heard by all when speaking in a large hall to a thousand people."

In Maud Ballington Booth's autobiography, she describes her mother Maria Charlesworth in a similar way:

"She often spoke to women's Bible classes in many parts of London, and her clear voice could reach as manay as a thousand people."

Florence Barclay (née Charlesworth) (1862-1921)

In Maud Ballington Booth's autobiography, she describes her sister, Florence, aged 5, rescuing the 2 year old Maud from drowing in the bath:

"She screamed, it is true. And she had lusty lungs."

In Florence Barlcay's biography, her daughter says:

"In public speaking she could always make herself heard without effort, in the largest buildings."

Maud Ballington Booth (née Charlesworth) (1865-1948)

In Florence Barclay's biography, there is a letter from her describing her sister, Maud Ballington Booth, while speaking on the Chautauqua tour, to an audience of several thousand:

"Her voice is such that every word can be heard in any part of the auditorium without effort on the part of the hearer."

The Quiet ones

Just to show that such descriptions of voices were not used of everyone:

Rev. John Charlesworth (1782-1864)

Rev. John Charlesworth is described in "The quiet worker for good" by a friend, this way:

In the pulpit Mr. C.'s teaching was not of an order to dazzle or powerfully arrest. He had neither a vivid imagination, great fluency of speech, nor originality of thought : no commanding voice or manner. [He does go on to point out his good points as a preacher, though!]

Through constant physical depression his voice, which had never been powerful, was generally too low to be well heard by any who were not near him.

Maria Louise Charlesworth (1819-1880) and her brother, Rev. Samuel Charlesworth (1817-1900)

In Florence Barclay's biography, there is a description, by her, of her father's and aunt's voice:

Miss Charlesworth had a wonderful speaking voice like my father, her brother, had. They were musical, resonant voices that almost used to sing and vibrate through the listener's nerves.