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John Ward of Muggleswick



The following excerpts are taken from "History of the Baptist Churches in the North of England, from 1648 to 1845"
By David DOUGLAS (Baptist Minister.)

"The church at Hexham, after the resignation of Mr. Tillam, divided into two sections—the one on the Tyne, and the other on the Derwent. _Two elders had been ordained by Mr. Tillam—the one, Mr. Richard Ord, who had, henceforWard, the charge of that portion of the church in Hexham and the vicinity of the Tyne; and Mr. John Ward, who had the charge now, and for a
long period afterward, of the disciples on “the Derwentwater Side.”
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"With regard to Mr. Ward, he seems to have been a native of Muggleswick, the village where Mr. Tillam was so successful in shewing to many the error of infant baptism. The name of Ward seems to have been indigenous here, as it has been known since the seventh century. We are unacquainted with the immediate parentage of Mr. Ward, but we are told by tradition, that he was “a skilfull mineralogist." As a man of capacity, he was, probably, employed as an agent in the lead mines, in the neighbourhood of Muggleswick. He appears to have been brought under the influence of
religion by Mr. Tillam, and baptized 16th October, 1652, in the twenty-Second year of his age, being born in 1630. 
In 1655, Mr. Ward was elected an elder of the church on the Derwent. He was, at this time, only in his twenty-fifth year, but he had qualifications adapted to the important work, as is evident from his success and perseverance, during the long course of sixty-two years. The exercise of Mr. Ward’s ministry, even in the time of Mr. Tillam, would, it is probable, be chiefly confined to the friends around the Derwent; it was permanently so afterwards, while at the same time he co-operated with the-section of the church on the banks of the Wear. 
Mr. Ward, along with the brethren of where he resided, at the commencement of the controversy between Mr. Tillam and Mr. Gower, had warmly taken the part of his own minister, but so soon as the church in Coleman-street had withdrawn from him, he and his brethren appear to have done so likewise. The result. was, the friends at Hexham withdrew from them, as they had thus, in a day of trial, deserted their best friend—their spiritual Father. For several months there was therefore no communication between them.
A reconciliation, however, was then attempted at Eadsbridge, near Muggleswick, but at this meeting they could not agree. The friends at Hexham then held a conference with the church at Newcastle. At this meeting, it was decided that messengers should be deputed, to meet the Hexham and Derwent brethren, and endeavour to reconcile them. This meeting proved successful. It is said to have been “held at brother Joplin’s, 226. July, 1656.“ The deputation, after mutual explanations, declared the conflicting parties to be one body in the Lord. The ringleader, however, of the schism—Mr. S. Anderton, was expelled.
From the period of the above conference, little is noted regarding the affairs of either section of the church. None appear to have been added during the
three following years, but in the end of 1658, one of the members was expelled for marrying an unbeliever, and two were reproved for “going to one of the world’s drinkings after a wedding." In the early part of the year 1660, Mr. Anderton was restored, “to the great joy of the church;""

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"Mr. Ward built a house for himself, near the banks of the Derwent, a little south of Muggleswick, which still remains, and is in the possession of the descendants of his brother, Cuthbert Ward, also baptized by Mr. Tillam, and a minister of the same church. From all the writer can ascertain, Mr. Ward himself left no issue, but descendants from the family of his brother Cuthbert, and perhaps two others named Michael and Anthony, are connected, under different names, with several Baptist churches, to the present day. Messrs. George and John White, of Barnard Castle, &c., with many
others, have descended from this family."

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As to Messrs. Ward and Carr, there is reason to believe that they were both, in some degree, classical scholars. The former on his decease, gave, not only his hundred pounds to gthe support of the cause, but his library for the benefit of his successors in the ministry. Of this, we have a list in the archives of the church, containing not only books in theology, but of history, and the learned languages. In Latin, we have Figurae Grammaticae, Corderius, Ovid andHorace, a Bible and Testament, Institutio Logica, De Sacramentum, &c.; also a French Grammar, In Greek, a Grammar, a Clavis Linguae, and a New Testament. In Hebrew, there is the Critica Sacra, Thesaurus Biblicus, &c. In church and general history, Eusebius, Josephus, &c., Cromwell’s Life, Eikon Basiliké, Bennet’s Reformation, &c.; and in theology and scriptural exposition, Dr. Owen on the Hebrews, and on the person of Christ; Caryl on Job; and some of the works of Crisp, and Goodwin, and Baxter, and Bunyan, Flavel, Usher, &c. The amount, in all, was above hundred and eighty. Surely these men, could not be said to be ignorant, if they closely studied their Bibles, with the help of all these. They were men who did not love ignorance; as one of their books was entitled, “The Excellency of Learning.” Their library was one that far excelled Bunyan's, when, in Bedford goal, he wrote his immortal Pilgrim.


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