From “The Retford and Gainsborough Times” – 1894 – Glimpses of Old Gainsborough.
There was one man in Furley’s employment who was rather noted. That was Mr Thomas Hopthrow, ship carpenter.
When a young man, he was seized at Stockwith by a press gang, and being taken aboard ship, he served in the fleet at the bombardment of Copenhagen in 1801.
For many years at Furley’s he worked with only one hand, having lost the other by accident, yet he turned out his work very correctly.
Thomas was a member of the Wesleyan body and when the cholera epidemic was so bad in Gainsborough in 1847 and 1848, he was always ready to go out and perform the last kindly offices for the dying.
He never refused, even in the middle of the night to go to a dying person and thus he went about with his life in his hand.
Mr Charles Shipham also tended cholera cases. Both Mr Hopthrow and Mr Shipham were teetotallers, but I believe that after the first case he attended, Mr Shipham occasionally took a little brandy when going out to a patient. As for Mr Hopthrow he made a mixture of his own, consisting of whiskey and cayenne pepper.
From the Gainsborough News – 1910– Reminiscences of Gainsborough – Rev Robert BEE – Vicar of Garthorpe, Leicestershire.
My own people were members of the Wesleyan body, but this did not prevent my father and Canon Clements [the Vicar of Gainsborough] from being on terms of the greatest friendship. The Wesleyan Chapel in which our family for a number of years worshipped still has a warm place in my heart’s affection. Many lessons were taught me never to be forgotten.
The change of ministers after the Annual Conference was always a source of deep interest to every member of the local society, the town and surrounding country. Young and old, rich and poor alike would speculate as to what the new minister would be like in appearance, in talent and in manners.
The first Sunday in September was always looked forward to in much pardonable expectancy as to what the day might bring forth. After the new minister had been duly received by the Society, a diversion would occur on a hot autumnal morning when Mr Hiley, Senior, or Thomas Hopthrow of the Spanish Main, one or both, having dropped off to sleep, would let fall from their unknowing fingers the nickel plated horns in use for hearing the word of life with an arousing clatter, which despite the solemnity of the place would start a suppressed titter among the congregation. This lost nothing by the amazed look upon the owner’s faces as the one peered over the broad edge of the gallery to the left hand of the minister to see what had happened to anyone sitting below while the other [Hopthrow] with a flaming red face leisurely picked up his own hearing aid which had only fallen at his feet.
On one occasion a horn was dropped in the middle of a sermon by the Superintendent Minister at the height of a very earnest exhortation. To the congregation’s amazement he dexterously caught the palate of his artificial teeth as they dropped on his chin below.
From The Lincoln, Rutland and Stamford Mercury – 16th July 1847 OPENING A NEW SCHOOL
The 8th July was a day which it is believed and hoped will long be remembered by the parents and rising generation of East Stockwith with the opening of a new Day School under the auspices and patronage of the dissenters. A sermon was preached in the afternoon by the Rev J Hindson, Superintendent Wesleyan Minister. At 5 0’clock a large number of friends took an excellent tea in the schoolroom. After tea the company retired to the Wesleyan Chapel where several animated and effective addresses were delivered by T Farmer, Esq., chairman and the Revs Hindson, Sanderson and Jackson. The proceeds of the tea with the collection amounted to upwards of £10. The school has been established in consequence of the arbitrary conduct of an inflated person in the parish.
This establishment of a joint Wesleyan-PrimitiveMethodistSchool in rivalry with the Church of England School has not improved relations in the parish.
Some months ago, a school was established by the Rev H C Barker in connexion with the new church of which he lately became the incumbent and a schoolmaster was imported from Gainsborough to rear the tender thought of the rising generation at Stockwith. For some time the parties who had promoted the school had reason to congratulate themselves on the prospect of success, until an unfortunate dispute between the master and the clerk of the church occurred, which caused a rupture between the former and the reverend incumbent.
The result was that the master after a long apostacy, re-entered the ranks of the Wesleyans, who have appointed him master of their rival school.
NB East Stockwith Parish consisted of 350 souls in the 1851 Census. The parish church was built in1846 when the parish separated from Gainsborough. Earlier the Wesleyans had built a chapel in 1838 and the Primitives a chapel in 1840.