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Edward Vorley (1765 – 1837)

This is part of the text of an talk given in 1906 by Mr. J. Gipson Clarke entitled “The History of a Century”.at the centenary of the Ebenezer Chapel, St. Peter’s Lane, Leicester and covers the period when Edward Vorley was its pastor.  “The first members of the 1806 formal Church consisted of four persons against whose names it states ‘baptised before,’ which might indicate a connection with the previous Church.  Their names were James Harper, Geo.  Harrison, Daniel Dove, and Chas. Bosworth.  The Church and congregation at this time were undoubtedly a small one, in fact, they were a kind of happy family, and the members commenced to register the births of their respective children in the Church book.  This lasted, however, for only about three years. November 23rd 1806, six new members were added; June 21st 1807, five new members were added, which included the first lady member, whose name was Sarah Waterman: August 16th 1807, two new members, one of which was Mr Edward Vorley. This marked a very important epoch in the history of the Church, for on this date Mr. Vorley was asked to take pastoral charge, which he accepted, and this place was for many years known as Vorley’s meeting-house.  On the same date three deacons were elected named Thos.  Healy, John Elton, and W. Smith.  The latter gentleman was a very influential man and played a very important part in conducting the affairs of the Church; one of the tombstones outside was erected to his memory.  It is very remarkable, but it is a fact, that the Church was in existence for twelve months without the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper being administered, for it is recorded in the Church book, I believe in Mr. Vorley’s own handwriting, ‘the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper administered for the first time October 4th 1807’.  Mr. Vorley who used to enter the pulpit in knee-breeches, was a wool- stapler, and so did not require a large salary, which was fixed at £20 per annum.  The Chapel was moderately attended during Mr. Vorley’s time.  A fair number of those attending came from the surrounding villages for miles around.  Some of those wishing to stay for the later services used to hire a room at the Vine Inn at the top of St. Peters Lane, at which to take their raid-day repast.  There were two preaching services, morning and afternoon, and Mr. Vorley used to visit various villages in the evening. A Prayer-meeting was conducted in the evening and in the winter by the aid of the old-fashioned candle-sticks at the Chapel. Mr. Vorley had a very successful ministry for nearly 31 years, 108 members were added during his time; he was a very acceptable preacher and a Godly man, greatly beloved.  He died March 11th 1838 after faithfully serving his God and his Church in his day and generation.”  to Edward’s brother, Charles Vorley  or to the VORLEY page

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