Oxhill News

www.oxhill.com / www.oxhill.org.uk

South Warwickshire, England.

The Oxhill News

March 2007

This months News



Village History

William Geden and the Oxhill Methodists

Back in December, the Editor printed an email from an enquirer to the website about his ancestor William Geden from Tysoe and his connection with the Methodist movement in Oxhill.

The information I had on this came from the biography “Joseph Ashby of Tysoe” by M.K. Ashby.  It tells how a Methodist Society had been established in Tysoe by a small group of villagers including William Geden, a tailor.  Tysoe men of this time walked thirty miles to hear John Wesley preach, and the story of this was long remembered with pride in the village.  William Geden was apparently the first tradesman of that time to close his shop on the Sabbath, and he would tackle drinkers and Sabbath-breakers to remonstrate with them.  Sometimes they would retaliate and he would suffer a beating.

This redoubtable man also founded and nurtured the small Oxhill Society, and it was said that for thirty years he walked year-round across the open fields to the Sunday evening services and then again to a class-meeting on a week-night.  When he was over seventy he could be seen setting out with his lantern and stout stick.  His grandson, G.H. Geden, when speaking at the celebrations in 1914 to commemorate the Chapel Anniversary, said not only that his grandfather had been the first Methodist class leader in Oxhill, but that he had been appointed by Wesley himself.

This first Methodist meeting is known to have been held in 1769 at Oxhill House, the home of the Ward family, devout Methodists. When the Chapel was later built in 1814, William Geden and his son John (their occupation given as breeches maker) were two of the eleven Trustees who signed the conveyance for the purchase of the Chapel plot.  (The land was not, as I had earlier believed, donated by the Ward family, but John Ward, both father and son, head the list of Trustees.)  As to William Geden, his service to the little Oxhill Society would seem to be even longer than the thirty years recorded.

Ann Hale

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Last modified: March 07, 2007