John Ingle Dredge [Obituary]
Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. XXX, (1898), pp. 42-43
Rev. W. Harpley, M.A.
Prepared by Michael Steer
The obituary was read at the Association’s July 1898 Honiton meeting. A potted biography of “Parson Dredge”, together with a photograph of his memorial, is presented in the Buckland Brewer History Group’s Newsletter No 5, August 2014. The obituary, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers.
Rev. John Ingle Dredge was born at Edinburgh on the 10th of June, 1818, and was, in his early days, apprenticed to a printer, and the training he had in that business did something probably to influence his tastes and direct his studies in after years. He then became a Wesleyan minister, and remained associated with that body till some thirty years since, when he joined the Church of England, and was ordained by the Bishop of Chester deacon in 1868, and priest in 1869. He held curacies at Warrington, Liverpool, Seaforth, and St. Helens 1868-73, and in the subsequent year (1874) he was presented by the then Premier, Mr. Gladstone, to the living of Buckland Brewer. To the honour of Mr. Gladstone be it said, he made the appointment in the teeth of the fact that Mr. Dredge had taken a leading part in speaking and in working against his (Mr. Gladstone's) return for South-West Lancashire.
A conscientious and thoroughly pious man, Mr. Dredge faithfully discharged his duty to his parishioners, and he was affectionately regarded and revered by every inhabitant of Buckland Brewer, whether Churchman or Dissenter. But outside the scope and sphere of his parochial duties, which he discharged so well, Mr. Dredge was a man of mark and erudition. He was the authority on Cheshire and Devonshire bibliography and genealogy, and his acquaintance with Puritan theology was almost unrivalled. In support of this statement it may be mentioned that some questions were put in Notes and Queries in January, 1897, regarding " Non-jurors in the 18th century," and Mr. T. Cann Hughes, H.A., of Lancaster, wrote to that paper saying, "The man to answer this is the gentleman who has the honour, I believe, to be the oldest living contributor of Notes and Queries that 'grand old man' the veteran Vicar of Buckland Brewer. None knows the history of English theology at the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth century as he does, and his courtesy and readiness to give information is an example indeed to younger men. Mr. Dredge contributed to vol ii. of the Palatine Note-Book a most interesting list of the non-jurors of Chester diocese, and his knowledge of the West country will enable him to add much on that topic" This is a high tribute, but not one whit more than was deserved. Mr. Dredge, in 1878, became a member of this Association, and at once began to manifest the warm interest he took in its proceedings, and to aid in its work. He soon qualified as a member of the Council, and to the last was most regular and exemplary in his attendance at the annual meetings and also at the meetings of the Council He was the author of several papers printed in the Transactions, among them accounts of the Rectors of Bideford, Huntshaw, Alwington, Littleham, Wear Gifford, and High Bickington; and at various times ''Five Sheaves of Devon Bibliography." Among his other published works are The Booksellers and Printers of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries; Biographies of Downame, Bishop of Derry; Massom, Bishop of Kerry; Richard Bernard, of Epsworth, and Abednego Seller, of Charles, Plymouth; The Marwood List of Briefs, 1714-1774; An Account of Frithelstock Priory, together with many others.
He died December, 1897, in his 80th year, and was buried in the parish churchyard of Buckland Brewer.