William Hylton Dyer Longstaffe.

Memoirs of the life of Mr. Ambrose Barnes, late merchant and sometime alderman of Newcastle upon Tyne online

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Online LibraryWilliam Hylton Dyer LongstaffeMemoirs of the life of Mr. Ambrose Barnes, late merchant and sometime alderman of Newcastle upon Tyne → online text (page 1 of 62)
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OTttI; an tfnfccr.

" Clarorura virorum facta moresque posteris tradere antiquitus usitatum, ne
nostris quidem temporibus quamquam incuriosa suorum astas omisit : Ne famam
quidein cui etiam multi indulgent, ostentanda, virtute aut per artem qusesivit.
Bonum virum facile crederes magnum libenter."

C. Tacitus in Fit. J. Agricolce

^uMtsfjrtf for ti)t Society,




MRS. NUTT, 277, STRAND (Foreign Agent), LONDON ;



At a General Meeting of the Surtees Society, held in the Castle of
Durham on Tuesday, June 5th, 1866, Mr. Chevallier in the chair,
It was ordered :

" That the Life of Ambrose Barnes should form one of the publi-
cations of the Society for the current year, to be edited by Mr.



The second title of this issue of the Surtees Society is
prefixed to a post folio volume, of lxii + 6 + 480 + 10
pages in MS. Of the average hand in which it is
written, the following is a fair example : —

Jk& ?k % </W <tfo*. rf«M:

Some parts, such as the Contents, are much more
minute. But the character of the scribe's manipulation
never changes. There are evidences that the MS. was
copied from a completed draft ; and rough imitations
of head and tail-pieces and initial letters, together with
the minute punctuation and guides as to style of type
and disposition, prove that it was intended as the
printer's copy. In fact, at the end of the Contents,
this passage occurs : — " Advertisement. The errors
of the press, and the want of exactness in drawing up
the contents of the chapters, are things which will be
or now must be excused."

The intended publication would probably have re-
sembled a ponderous closely -printed folio of 768 pages,
entitled, " A Journal of the Life of Thomas Story :



Containing, an Account of his Remarkable Convince-
ment of, and Embracing the Principles of Truth, As
held by the People called Quakers ; And also, of his
Travels and Labours in the Service of the Gospel :
"With many other Occurrences and Observations. New-
castle upon Tyne : Printed by Isaac Thompson and Com-
pany, at the New Printing-office on the Side, mdccxlvii."
The journalist, who was of Justice-Town, in Cumber-
land, directed his work to be published by his trustees.
They printed a certain number to be disposed of at
their discretion, as they were empowered. But it
being apprehended that those copies would be insuffi-
cient even for the author's acquaintances and others
who might be no strangers to the eminence of his
character, the trustees gave leave to Thompson to
print a certain number of volumes at his own risk, "of
which number this volume is one." From this work I
have obtained some curious illustrations for my notes
and appendix*.

The MS. was presented by John Airey, a descendant
of Alderman Barnes, to the Rev. William Turner, of

* " Though I was educated in the way of the National Church of
England, yet I had no aversion to any class professing the Christian
name ; hut, occasionally, heard all sorts ; and yet did not fully ap-
prove any sect in all things, as I came to consider them closely. At
Newcastle upon Tyne I once happened to hear a famous Presby-
terian preacher. It was in the reign of King Charles EL, when the
national laws were against them, and all other dissenters from the
national worship ; and they, being cowardly, had their meeting in
the night, and in an upper room, and a watch set below. I did not
go into the room, but stood on the head of the stairs, expecting to
hear something like doctrine from so noted a man among them. But
all that he entertained his auditory with, was suggestions of jealousy
and dislike against the government ; and that he delivered in such a
way as appeared to me very disagreeable."


Newcastle, who ministered in Hanover Square ohapel
to the successors of the congregation of Gilpin and
Bennet. Mr. Turner, on Nov. 12, 1828, gave the
volume to the Literary and Philosophical Society of
Newcastle upon Tyne, who have kindly lent it for the
purpose of this publication, and deserved the warm
thanks of all persons interested in their locality and
the faith and practices of their fathers.

Previously, it was only known through the scanty
extracts made by Brand, who does not seem to have
relished what he calls the "religious and political
fanaticism" of the writer, and those contained in a
small tract of the Newcastle Typographical Society,
compiled by Sir Cuthbert Sharp in 1828. The knight
carries abridgment to a fault, and occasionally mis-
conceives the sense of the passages he selects, but his
imprints, however imperfect, are always genial and
suggestive, and his own copy of the tract, in the
Chapter Library at Durham, has yielded some interest-
ing information gathered by him from various sources
available in his days.

As to Sir Theodor Talbot, to whom the work is
dedicated, Sharp says, " Query — if this is not an as-
sumed name." If this be so, the signature of the author,
M. R., may be an assumed one also. Mr. Joseph
Hunter, who was astonished with the reading of the
author, was unable to identify him. I have not been
more successful. The impression left on my mind by
his style and information is one of doubt as to his
being a north-country-man. He was, however, per-
sonally associated with Barnes. " We shall add what
his acquaintance was with the more retired parts of
learning, with some observations, which either myself


or others can remember ive have received from him, by
way of discourse, though the least part of what might
have been retrieved, whilst these subjects were fresh
in memory, had this task then been undertaken."
He mentions having seen five princes, but, as this is
only in alluding to the degeneracy in their reigns, he
might have seen more ; and the handwriting of the MS.,
in its uniformity and slight tremulousness, gives the im-
pression that the author, notwithstanding his industry,
was in the latter half of his life. The only person
in Calamy's lists, with the initials M. R., was Mr. Mat-
thew Randal, of Higham Rectory, in Somersetshire.
He was ejected, but no account of him is given. A
Somersetshire incumbent might well know many
a gentleman " of the stock of the ancient Britons,
cultivating the native love they always had for their
dear country," to satisfy the character of Sir Theodor
Talbot. Richard Randell and Peter Maplisden, book-
sellers in Newcastle, printed Knaggs's liberal sermon in
1689, and Randell alone was still at the Bridge-end in
1713. But I merely mention these coincidences because
of the obscurity of the subject.

I find almost insuperable difficulties in determining
the relative position of the Presbyterians and Inde-
pendents in Newcastle and the North of England
generally, and the minuter leanings of men only
known to us as suffering Dissenters in the general.
It seems to me that this is what we should expect.
We read in a book of 1654 of " Presbyterians and
Independents preaching in the same place, fasting and
praying together, in heavenly harmony, expressing
nothing but kindness to each other, in their meetings
ready to help each other." And we must remember


that a parish had only one man, Presbyterian or Inde-
pendent, in the place of an ejected Episcopalian. "We
do not hear of any numerous ministry besides the in-
cumbents ; so that, after the ejection, when we meet
with an ejected minister and his persecuted flock, it by
no means follows that they would have been all of the
same mind as to church government, had circumstances
allowed of competition for emoluments, or of any very
regular church government at all.

'I think the narrative had been better in a less
compass." So thought the author; so will every
reader of his MS. think. It teems with learned illus-
trations and information, most creditable to the writer's
erudition, but, as far as we are concerned, found else-
where. The style, too, is diffuse. An abridgment
seemed to be the only proper vehicle of presentation.
And, after some years' consideration, I adhere to the
plan which suggested itself when I contemplated a
more formal history of religion in Newcastle.

The text is an abridgment, but no new word is
introduced. The abridgment is produced simply by
excision. This process is applied to the author's
verboseness, his occasional coarseness, his illustrations
from ancient and modern history, scriptural, classical,
or otherwise, which are not wanted, and his summaries
of character where events are sufficient to supply a
sufficient idea of the actors in them. My plan does
not extend to the compositions of Barnes, though I
have extracted from them any additional light upon
the times to which they refer. But as to the memoir,
with which, it must be confessed, the writings of Barnes
himself seem sometimes to be connected, every local
fact chronicled is here given, every character drawn is


reproduced in some of its colouring, and these in the
words of the original, though their number is cur-

The MS. commences with the Vera Effigies of Barnes
(vide p. 24), and the title prefixed to this volume.
The Dedication and Preface follow. Then come twenty-
eight pages of Contents ; and then " The Man of
Honour : a Poem; by the late Earl of Halifax." The
work itself, " Memoirs and Collections Polemical and
Practical," is divided into four books.

" The First Book, an Historical Account of him,"
has on its title the verse given at my page 21. It
contains an introduction and thirteen chapters. Twelve
of them are numbered and headed like mine. The
thirteenth, as noticed at p. 209, is " His breviate of
the four Monarchies."

" The Second Book, His Enquiry into the Nature,
Grounds, and Reasons of Religion," is prefixed by the
verse, " 2 Peter i. 12, Wherefore I will not be negligent
to put you alwayes in remembrance of these things tho'
ye know them and be establisht in the present truth."
The contents of this book are enumerated in the
notice of Barnes's works which forms my thirteenth

" The Thud Book, The Particulars of his Character,"
has for its verse " Gen. 6. 9. Noah was a just man and
perfect in his generations and Noah walked with God."
It commences with the opening sentence of my Chap-
ter xiv., which is composed of extracts from this book.
In the original, a return is made to various subjects of
Book I., and as the Third Book is of the most diffuse
and technical character, and did not yield sufficient
matter to justify a retention of its divisions, I have


transplanted as many of its products as possible to
places beside the cognate parts of Book I. The re-
mainder, with one exception, form my fourteenth
chapter. The original arrangement of Book III., like
that of Book II., is in three parts, each of seven
chapters, thus — The First Part. Chap. 1 : His oecono-
micks. 2 : His faith, love, and the fruits of them.
3 : His sense of the vanity of the creature. 4 : His
spirituality of mind. 5 : The means of his spiritual
perfection. 6 : His end attain' d by the former means.
7 : His prospect of future glory. The Second Part.
Chap. 1 : The sincerity of his obedience. 2 : His re-
liefs under new discoveries of sin. 3 : His mortification.
4 : His fear of hypocrisy. 5 : His self-deniall. 6 : His
resignation. 7 : His final period and death. [This
chapter 7 is my chapter xv., being independent and a
continuation of the subject of Book I.] The Third Part.
Chap. 1 : His daily practice. 2 : His self-acquaintance
and self- employment. 3 : His view of the world.
4 : His peaceable nonconformity. 5 : His glance at
Dissenters. 6 : His zeal for the Christian interest.
7 : His policy made up of piety.

" The Fourth Book, His Censure upon the Times and
Age he lived in," has on its title " 1 Sam. 4. 13. Eli
sat upon a seat by the way- side, watching, for his heart
trembled for the ark of God." The contents of this
book are given at p. 210.

A Funeral Oration {vide p. 255) with broad black
lines, and a face much like that of the vera effigies, in
the character of a sun surmounting a skull, precedes an
index and list of scriptures explained or illustrated,
which conclude the MS.

My Appendix is founded upon some collections I


made for the intended history, but the additions to
them are extensive. Among them are a number of
notices of books and tracts so rare that few can hope
to see, much less possess them. For this part of the
volume I thankfully acknowledge much assistance and
confidence, and many friendly hints. I would in par-
ticular mention my obligations to Mr. James Clephan
of Newcastle, Canon Raine of York, the Rev. E. H.
Adamson of St. Alban's, Heworth, Mr. T. W. U. Ro-
binson of Houghton, the Executrix of Mr. W. H.
Brockett of Gateshead, and three worthy and skilful
booksellers of Newcastle, Mr. William Dodd, Mr. Robert
Robinson, and Mr. George Rutland. I have also to
acknowledge the courtesies of the custodiers of the
Durham Chapter Library, Dr. Williams's Library, the
Thomlinson and Vestry Collections at St. Nicholas', the
Library of the Unitarians at Newcastle, and the old
church book of the Baptists of Hexham and Hamsterley.
The facilities afforded me by the late Mr. S. E. Pearse
of Gateshead enabled me to give the vestry books of
that town a careful perusal, and I hope that my ex-
tracts from this series will be found an interesting
addition to those previously made by Bell and Sopwith
from the books of St. Nicholas' and All Saints'

It would not in all cases be easy or desirable to ex-
plain my reasons for selection of illustrative matter.
To me the Life of Barnes, with all its interest as a type
of the productions of a particular school, seemed to be
somewhat one-sided throughout, occasionally violent,
and treating the alderman as a more important and
persecuted character than the mass of cotemporaneous
evidence would lead one to conceive. It is possible


that he was prominent in his own day. He might be
like " Gateshead's darling, shining as the morning star
among the living, and dying as the evening star among
the dead*," and quickly passing out of men's memories,
notwithstanding. Residents in towns know the fre-
quency of such cases. But it is plain that, like most
other religious biographies, the life of such a man gives
no broad idea of the feelings and status of the various
branches of the church catholic. Annotation of some
sort was needed, and finding that severed notices would
not fulfil the intent of annotating, I adopted the plan
of the Appendix as the only suitable one. Of its faulty
execution I am but too sensible, but I have tried to be
useful and impartial.

A few errata and additions are placed in the Index
under their proper heads.

In performing my task, I could not but be struck
with the want of a disinterested survey of the state of
the buildings, ornaments, services, and discipline of the
established church since the Reformation. The writer
of such a book should be a Rickman, accurate and
careful, treading as it were on new ground, looking at
practice and facts only, and recognizing the law that
men of one century neither feel nor work like those of
another. Many a custom and many a feature once
familiar to us is becoming forgotten, while many an
innovation is obviously such as will not be more long-
lived than its predecessors.

As brevity is much studied in the Appendix, it may
be well to remind the distant reader that in the use of
such words as Rector, Vicar, Common Council, and the
names of parishes, the locality is meant to be Newcastle
or Gateshead, situated on the Tyne, as London and
* See p. 422.


Southwark are on the Thames. Newcastle was an en-
franchised borough, with a Mayor chosen by a Common
Council. Gateshead was an unenfranchised borough,
with a Bailiff appointed by its Lord, the Bishop of
Durham, a body of four-and-twenty conducting both
municipal and parochial matters, after the fashion of
Darlington; but, as at the passing of the Municipal
Corporations Reform Act, it happened to possess an
antiquary and had kept its silver seal to the fore,
Gateshead was included in the benefit of the act, and
Darlington and Auckland were not. Gateshead was a
Rectory. Newcastle was a Vicarage, under the Chapter
of Carlisle. This vicarage held its seat of government
at the church of St. Nicholas', remarkable for a lawyer's
gift of its steeple, " a thing of beauty and a joy for
ever;" and, by reason, either, as is most probable, of
the conditions of its erection, or from a natural parti-
cipation in the finer feelings of humanity, the Cor-
poration, who had, indeed, some " gross and terrene "
interest in the bells, always kept the glory of the town
in good repair, though commercially careful to record
in 1594 that their payment was only " so far as the
steeple reacheth." There were also under the vicarage,
three chapels in three townships, called All Hallows'
(ranking below St. Nicholas' in status, and above it in
usefulness and responsibility), St. John's and St. An-
drew's. The two latter are sometimes ignored in public
matters. The Corporation supported, in a handsome
manner, all the ministers, and were practically, at least,
the patrons. After the loss of their elective power,
they withdrew their subscriptions.

I have been fortunate in meeting with two signatures
of Ambrose Barnes. The first is on an instrument of
1651, to which his master Samuel Rawling, draper, is


a party, and is accompanied by the autograph of the
fellow apprentice, Anthony Salvin, mentioned at p. 37
of the memoir.


The second is on a deed of 1665-6, in the attestation
of which a famous nonconforming minister of Newcastle
joins Barnes.



%* Since writing the above, Mr. Grosart's book, alluded to at
p. 417, has appeared. I am not wishful to interfere with my reference
of the reader to it any more than is absolutely necessary. Indeed
I further refer him to it for many extra particulars about the Gilpins.
But I must mention, from its information, that Richard Gilpin was
made Doctor at Leyden in 1676, being then aged 50, that printed
copies of his Disputatio Medica for the occasion are in the Bodleian
and British Museum Libraries ; that to his " Comfort of Divine
Love," being funeral sermons, published at London in 1700, is pre-
fixed a portrait of Dr. Manlove, the subject of them, by Vander
Gucht ; and that his Assize Sermon of 1660 was, in 1700, just before
his death, of course, "published and recommended to the magistrates
of the nation, as a means, by God's blessing, to quicken them to a
serious pursuit of the memorable and truly religious design for the
reformation of manners, which is now on foot, and countenanced by
the nobility, bishops, and judges, in the late account of the societies
for the reformation of manners, and applauded by the serious and
religious men of all persuasions : by R. Gilpin, now minister of the
gospel in Newcastle-upon-Tyne."

And I must give a considerable extract from a letter, addressed


by Dr. Gilpin to " the Rev. Mr. Richard Stratton, a London minister,"
and dated 13 Dec. 1698. Reading it in conjunction with my Ap-
pendix, my readers will probably differ from Mr. Grosart in their
deductions, and discern its elucidation of the circumstances under
which a man ostensibly was sometimes Presbyterian, sometimes Con-
gregationalist, and of the origins of the modern bodies representing
the old rivals. " It hath pleased God to take from me my dear
assistant, Mr. Pell, by a fever. We buried him last week. It is a
sad stroke upon us, but it falls at present most heavy upon me.
Ever since his sickness it became necessary for me (such are our
circumstances) to preach twice every Lord's day, and I must continue
to do so at least every other Lord's day for some time, because there
are a small party (and but a very small one) who have formed a
design, and are now encouraged upon this sad occasion to open it.
This party were the few remainders of Mr. Durant's congregation,
who have kept communion with ours in aH ordinances, without
making any exceptions, about fifteen years. But when old Mr. Barnes
(their politic engineer) brought home his young son Thomas, from
London, they presently shewed their intentions to choose him for
their pastor. But, as introductory to that, they, in my absence,
thrust him into the pulpit, without so much as asking leave. I was
silent, and suffered him to preach in the evenings ; but they being
weary of that (few people staying to hear him) they thought it more
conducible to their design to separate from us, and set up at the
Anabaptists' meeting-house, but no great party would folio w them,
and now they have chosen him to be their pastor, though before this
he had in our pulpit vented some unsound Crispian notions, and at
last had the confidence to contradict what I had preached about pre-
pai'ation to conversion. For this, I thought it necessary to give him
a public rebuke, and to answer his exceptions. That their design is
to worm us out of our meeting-house, and to break our congregation,
is visible to all. They now openly claim the meeting-house for their
pastor's use, when he pleaseth, and pretend old Mr. Hutchinson, upon
whose ground the house is built, promised them so much when they
contributed towards the charge of building. But Mr. Jonathan
Hutchinson, his son, denies any such promise, and stands firmly to us,
though Mr. Barnes, his father in law, surprised him with solicitations.
But we offer to repay them all the money they contributed towards
the building. You see, Sir, how much I need your prayers, and, if
it could be, the nomination of a man of parts, prudence, piety, and
authority to assist me at present, and to succeed me when I am gone.
Much of the dissenters' interest in the North depends upon the
welfare of our congregation. The episcopal party have long since
made their prognostic that, when I die, the congregation will be
broken, and then there will be an end of the dissenters' interest in



Whilst my circumstances confine me to a narrow compass, I
have no cause to complain, so long as you supply the want of
greater store of friends. For what friendship short of yours
could have supported me under the impression of those dis-
couragements that a task of this nature must be attended with ?
Blessed be you of the Lord, who have not left off your kindness
to the living and to the dead. Having given an account of the
life and opinions f, and therein finisht the doctrinal and historical
polemical and practical collections of this gentleman, for whome
you alwayes had an invalluable esteem, it remains to committ
them to your perusal. And for you not to censure, is the
greatest commendation the writer covets. I will not say how
vigorously you have promoted this undertaking, least, meeting
with no success in public, I should expose your wisdom to cen-
sure, by failing in the manner of my performance. It might
fare with me as it did with Chserilus, who, as mean a poet as he
was, would venture upon no less subjects than Xerxes his expe-
dition and the exploits of Alexander the Great, but his success
answered the rashness of his pen; for, in all his great work,
there were but seven verses that past muster, for which he

* This dedication is given in full, as a specimen of the author's style.

t "Intending to write the Life, fortunes, and opinions of a person, whose
memoirs are by his friends, whose judgment I relie upon more than I dare do upon
my own, thought worthy of public view, I must in the first and chiefest place,
implore Divine assistance, that God would guide me in what I write, and bless what
is written, to the benefit of his people here and elsewhere. I undertake it, not
more from the importunity of others, than from a care I have to prevent any wrong
to his memory, by their unskilfulness, who not having had so perfect a knowledge

Online LibraryWilliam Hylton Dyer LongstaffeMemoirs of the life of Mr. Ambrose Barnes, late merchant and sometime alderman of Newcastle upon Tyne → online text (page 1 of 62)