REV. JOHN MOSSOP OF LINCOLNSHIRE
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, BASTON, LINCOLNSHIRE
On our brief visit, the only reference we could find to John Mossop and his family was at Baston Church where there is a List of Vicars displayed and also a board in the church tower recording Rev. John Mossop's bequest to poor widows of the parish. According to his will, he made a similar bequest to the poor widows of both Langtoft and Deeping St. James.
On this charmingly decorated board the name of Rev. John Mossop can be seen five up in the centre column recording his service from 1781 until his death in 1834
Photograph kindly contributed by John Woodcock, one of his descendants
Rev. John Mossop's bequest to the poor widows of Baston which is still being administered but now used to provide a text book for each student of the parish on their entry into University.
We visited Baston on a Sunday evening and were fortunate to be able to attend Evensong in his former parish church. The local congregation was most welcoming to us and on stating our interest a Trustee of the Mossop Bequest gave us interesting information on that subject. The Charity still owns the field in question and leases it out. Although there are no longer poor widows in the parish, the Trustees have tried to apply the proceeds in the spirit to which it was intended. It is currently providing a textbook for each local young person entering University and is very likely an ingenious interpretation of which John Mossop would have wholeheartedly approved.
ST. MICHAEL & ALL ANGELS, LANGTOFT, LINCOLNSHIRE
The first time we visited Langtoft, about a mile south of Baston, the church was locked. We returned on another occasion and were lent the key by the very pleasant lady keyholder from over the road which enabled us to look around the interior.
We could find no memorial to Rev. John but there is a plaque to the vicar succeeding him in 1834 who himself then served for 23 years. However, this by no means eclipses Rev. John's ministry of 53 years in these parishes.
John Mossop was the resident Perpetual Curate at Deeping St. James throughout the tenure of three vicars and was apparently appreciated for his clear preaching voice in the large interior known locally as "Kill Parson" according to the website of Deeping St. James church. He is also recorded as being the first in Lincolnshire to start a Sunday School in that parish at the end of the eighteenth century. One wonders where he found the energy to minister to this large parish and two others. Maybe his stamina can be attributed to his early upbringings on the Cumbrian fells which would have been in stark contrast to the vast flatness of the Fens.
As Vicar, he would have been entitled to the lesser tithes of his parishes. As Perpetual Curate, he held the same status but was remunerated by the Vicar or Diocese. At that period there was often a plurality of livings or absenteesm by the titular Vicar so another clergyman was deputed to be in residence and oversee the needs of the parish. It appears that Reverend John Mossop resided at Deeping St. James though he died many years later in Langtoft. Without an in depth knowledge of the history of St. James' church, Baston and Langtoft I am not certain of the actual arrangements at that time.
I have it recorded that John Mossop and his wife are buried at Deeping but the memorial stones there are so worn that it was impossible to make out any names. We did not look thoroughly throughout the large churchyard so may have missed one if it still exists and is legible. There was a list of Vicars but no mention of the curates who served under or instead of them. (Tom Heys has since told me that there is a memorial on the floor of the nave to Rev. John, his wife Ann and their daughter Sarah. I am sorry to have missed it.) Since writing this I have been informed by Jo Cox that the nave memorial is normally covered by a carpet and a marble plaque is now behind the organ. The latter also includes three infant children. Jo has kindly sent me photographs of which two are reproduced below.
Rev. John Mossop served these three parishes until his death in 1834 at the age of 80 and I am very pleased to know that this was suitably commemorated.
Now to his private life which is of equal interest as he founded a large dynasty throughout Lincolnshire, some of whom still reside in the district whilst others scattered far and wide.
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