The remarkable conversion of the Rev. John Thorpe has been already narrated in these pages (see p. 138).
On his removal from the Wesleyan Connexion an Independent church was formed here. The congregation worshipped in a school-room belonging to the Messrs. Walker.
The following have been the ministers :-
About 1760, Rev. JOHN THORPE. He was ordained by Revs. J. Edwards (Leeds), Plumb (Nottingham), and Timothy Jollie, of Sheffield. The church now consisted of sixteen members.
Samuel Walker, one of the first deacons, erected a new meetinghouse, which was opened Jan. 1, 1764. Forty or fifty members were added during Mr. Thorpe's ministry. He died 1777. A monument is erected in the chapel to his memory.
- 1777. Rev. THOMAS GROVE, one of the Oxford students expelled for praying, reading, and expounding the Scriptures.
- A larger chapel was now erected, principally at the expense of the Walker family, and a dwelling-house was added for the minister, afterwards purchased by Rotherham College as a residence for its president. Mr. Grove was a zealous and laborious pastor. He removed to London 1793.
- In the year 1782 Mr. Samuel Walker died, æt. 66.
- After Mr. Grove's removal, the congregation wrote to press him to return; this, however, he declined to do.
- 1795. Rev. EDWARD WILLIAMS, D.D.
- In 1800, several members withdrew to form a church at West Melton.
- In 1805 a new chapel was built.
- The labours of Dr. Williams were valuable and unremitting.
- " For some time previous to his death, serious apprehensions were entertained that his bodily strength was sinking under the ardour of his ever active and powerful mind. He visited Cheltenham and other places, and the hopes of the church were from time to time brightened and again clouded with painful forebodings; but, instead of relaxing from study, and by air and exercise giving permanent tone to the system, he still persevered in his usual course of incessant occupation, and entered upon the plan of re-writing the whole of his former works, besides projecting some new ones of both an extensive and important nature. The admonitions of friends were disregarded, and their fears but too fully realized." Dr. W. died March 9, 1813.
- 1813. Rev. JAMES BENNETT, of Romsey. He was ordained Aug. 22, the Revs. Gilbert, Boothroyd, Mather, and Boden taking the several parts of the service.
- In 1815 died Joshua Walker, Esq., the second son of Samuel Walker.
- Mr. (afterwards Dr.) Bennett was a minister of considerable eminence. He possessed much influence, was popular, and very useful as a preacher, and will be remembered as one of the compilers, conjoined with Dr. Bogue, of the "History of Dissenters," and as the author of a life of Christ, and a volume of the Congregational Lectures.
- During Mr. Bennett's ministry several improvements were made in the chapel, and a girl's schoolroom was built. He received from Yale College the diploma of D.D. about 1827. Dr. Bennett's health greatly failed in the year 1828, and towards the end of that year he removed to Silver Street, London. 274 members were added to the church in the course of his ministry.
- After unsuccessfully soliciting Rev. Dr. Wardlaw and Rev. W. Orme to succeed to the pastorate, the congregation chose-
- 1829. Rev. CLEMENT PERROT, from Guernsey. The chapel was considerably enlarged 1831. In 1834 Mr. P. resigned his pastorship.
- Rev. WILLIAM HENDRY STOWELL (afterwards D.D.), from North Shields. Mr. Stowell held the office of pastor in conjunction with the tutorship of Rotherham College. He published several treatises, among which was the Congregational lecture on "The Work of the Holy Spirit." He resigned the pastorship 1850, and in 1851 he removed to take the presidency of Cheshunt College.
- 1850. Rev. ALEXANDER RALEIGH (Glasgow Univ.), now D.D. Mr. R. removed to Glasgow 1855. Now at Hare Court, Canonbury, London.
- 1858. Rev. ISAAC VAUGHAN. Mr. V. and some of his congregation afterwards removed from Masborough, and constituted themselves a separate body.
- 1866. Rev. WM. GATES (Highbury College), from Aylesbury, the present minister (in 1868).
* By aid of Habershon, Esq.