Tracing the disparate ancestries of four great families


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Edmund Sykes Lamplough (1860-1940)

Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society (Vol 22?)

Edmund Sykes Lamplough (1860-1940)

President of the Wesley Historical Society

Mr. Lamplough joined the Society in its early days as a Life Member. In 1926 he was elected as Vice-President, an office created to provide an opportunity for doing him honour. It was rarely that he missed the yearly meeting of the Society, and its affairs always interested him. At the meeting held at Bradford in 1937, Mr. Lamplough was elected to fill the presidential vacancy created by the death of the Rev. John Telford at the close of the Conference of 1936. There is reason to believe that this afforded him very real pleasure. He succeeded three Presidents: Rev. Richard Green, Rev. Dr. Simon, and Rev. John Telford, who were all competent and successful research workers and authors. In this line of enterprise he did not follow them. For many years he devoted much attention to the acquisition of literary and personal relics of the Wesleys and indeed of all other workers in the evangelical revival of the eighteenth century. Wesley letters he made a speciality, and in the preface to the Standard Edition Mr. Telford said Mr. Lamplough was the possessor of 162 originals. On several occasions I was greatly indebted to Mr. Lamplough, whose promptitude in replying to letters was so praiseworthy, for letting me see letters and other papers. Doubtless my experience was not isolated.

On the side of personal Wesley relics the Lamplough collection was greatly enriched by the gift of a large number of valuable items from the Mission House. It was announced at the time that the collection would ultimately pass into the possession of the Church—at the present moment the whole is stored under A.R.P. conditions, and will no doubt remain so “for the duration.” A very valuable selection from this collection was on view during the sessions of the Uniting Conference in 1932. This was recorded in Proceedings xviii, 182, and in a brochure specially prepared for the occasion.

Possessed of considerable resources, Mr. Lamplough was inspired by a strong sense of stewardship, and not only gave large sums of money, but devoted personal attention to a number of undertakings in which commemoration and spiritual advance were happily blended. For the mainspring of our President’s activity was not historical interest, nor literary and artistic enterprise; gifted as he was in these aspects of the matter, he made them subservient to spiritual endeavour. Beyond most,—perhaps some would be ready to say beyond all they have known—he was deeply impressed with the aid which grateful recollection of the grand old saints of other days can give to the workers of to-day when they tread where their feet once trod It should be remembered that in addition to those in which he was the prime mover, many others received his ever-ready help. For instance, throughout all that was done at Wesley’s house and museum at City Road his generous and loyal assistance was enjoyed.

Amongst the places which enjoyed Mr. Lamplough’s generous attention Bristol stands preeminent, and our readers are well acquainted with the extensive and permanent restoration carried out at the “New Room” and at Charles Wesley’s house in that city. The statues of John and Charles Wesley will long be memorials of their donor as well as of the persons represented. In previous issues of the Proceedings we recorded the memorials to Dr. Coke at South Petherton, and to the Rev. J. Richardson at Ewhurst.

Mr. Lamplough realized the need for an educated ministry and made large personal contributions to the schemes in which he and his brother-in-law, Dr. John H. Ritson, collaborated for the fuller equipment of the Theological Institution in its various branches.

Hymnology was a sphere in which our friend was thoroughly at home. The musical side of this, in its great ;vork of leading the people of God in worship, appealed to him most. He was an accomplished organist, and served the Church at Sunfields for many years in that capacity.

The Committee which carried out the very responsible work of preparing a new hymn-book for the Methodist Church subsequent to Union found him a skilled and eager helper.

Always anxious to help the devotional life of the Church Mr. Lamplough furnished as a memorial to his brother Williamson, a chapel on the premises at the Mission House in Bishopsgate. This has been a blessing to the staff and to visitors, and missionaries have carried to the ends of the earth the inspiration they received there.

It was a most fitting recognition that this devoted Methodist layman should be elected to the Vice-Presidency of the Conference of 1935.

To say more about Mr. Lamplough’s gifts would not be pleasing to him; but to indicate, as I have tried, something of their scope and nature is essential to the adequacy of a memorial tribute.

In the business world of the City of London Mr. Lamplough held an honourable place. He was an underwriter at Lloyd’s and became Deputy-Chairman of that famous institution. The claims of national service called Mr. Lamplough first into the Admiralty Transport Department, and then into the Ministry of Shipping in which he acted as a valuable link with the insurance world.

When I was appointed to the Blackheath Circuit in 1892 as a probationary minister, with special charge of Sunfields and East Greenwich, I was already slightly acquainted with the Lamplough family, including their mother, to whom they were devotedly attached. But that appointment was the beginning of active association. In the family house at Vanbrugh Terrace (which remained the home of Mr. E. S. Lamplough until in weakness he was removed to a nursing home) I found the two brothers Williamson and Edmund, four sisters, and their aunt, Miss Barbara Lamplough. The mother had passed away before that time. Sunfields Wesleyan Church was their place of worship and the sphere of their devoted activity. ‘l’he cause was a strong one and through its large Sunday School had a considerable hold upon the neighbourhood. To this school all the family gave service. The brothers were so anxious to do their part that it was arranged that during summer holidays at least one of them should return to be at school on the Sundays involved.

Mr. E. S. Lamplough was the last of his generation. Like his brother he never married, nor did any of his sisters except Mrs. Ritson, whose death by accident occurred in 1936.

The passing of our President was preceded by long months of weakness and weariness, and the sense of loss felt by those who loved him mingles with relief that he is now free from the burden of the flesh. In a beautiful tribute Dr. Wiseman said that the friends who deeply mourn his loss “follow his flight with songs” such as he himself loved to sing.



Owner/SourceJames Gibbs see
Linked toEdmund Sykes Lamplugh (Death)

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