Charles Vorley

 

This is part of the text of an unpublished manuscript of a book by Ralph Chambers.  It covers the Strict Baptist chapel of Bedfordshire.  There is also a full biography of Charles Vorley you can read.

Speaking of Carlton Baptist Church, Bedfordshire  “…two pastorates stand out in the history of the church, both for duration and solidity.  The ministry of Charles Vorley from 1796 for 41 years, and the labours of Moses Beeby, from 1913 until his home-call in 1953. Not the least interesting of viewpoints sometimes is to ‘See ourselves as others see us.’ And the following extract from a book written by Robert Woodward, who was Vicar of Harrold in 1802, will give the other side of the picture.  He says, “Though some of the dissenting teachers are men of education. yet it is well known that many who take upon themselves to be preachers of the Gospel are uneducated.- They are brought up to trades.”  Then the worthy clergyman goes on to say, “He knows for a fact that the preachers who come to the Meeting houses ——- are of the following occupations: At Carlton, a shoemaker; at Ampthill, a lace buyer; at Sharnbrook, of the persons who pray and expound or officiate in the Meeting house, one is a carpenter, and another a wheelwright.”  In conclusion, the Vicar of Harrold complains that he cannot understand why so many people leave the Church to hear these tradesmen preach. This screed was published during the pastorate of Charles Vorley.  Charles Vorley was born in 1767, and so was 29 years old when he became pastor at Carlton.  He had been baptised at Irthlingborough. and continued his labours at Carlton until his death in 1837.  A tablet to his memory on the walls of the Meeting House bears the following inscription,  “Sacred to the memory of the Rev Charles Vorley, 41 years the beloved pastor of this church, who died October 23rd, 1837, aged 70.  He was man of strong native talent, cultivated by reading and meditation; of primitive simplicity of manners, eminent in prayer, doing the work of an Evangelist, living above the writ world, a frequent and faithful preacher of the Gospel; his end was peace, resting on the Rock of Ages for eternal life.” The chapel house was erected during the ministry of James Brittain.  Previous pastors had to find their own accommodation, for all were not so favoured as Charles Vorley, who had a house presented to him by a granddaughter of John Bunyan, in which some of’ his descendants have lived until recent times.  The Sunday School was commenced in her own kitchen by Mrs Vorley in 1807. ” to Charles’ brother, Edward Vorley  or to the  VORLEY page

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