Beddome, Benjamin (DNB00)


BEDDOME, BENJAMIN (1717–1795), writer of hymns, was the son of the Rev. John Beddome, baptist minister. Benjamin was born at Henley-in-Arden, South Warwickshire, 23 Jan. 1717, and received his education, first at an independent academy in Tenter Alley, Moorfields, London, and afterwards at the Baptist College, Bristol. He was intended for a surgeon, but felt it his duty to become a preacher of the gospel. In the year 1740 he entered upon his first and only ministerial charge at Bourton-on-the-Water, in East Gloucestershire, where he continued as pastor of the baptist church until his death. Beddome was distinguished by the fulness and accuracy of his biblical scholarship, but it is as a hymn-writer that he is best known. His hymns were composed to be sung after his sermons, being designed to illustrate the truths on which he had been preaching. A volume of his poetry, under the title 'Hymns adapted to Public Worship or Family Devotion,' comprising 830 pieces, was published in 1818. Selections from these are found in most of the hymnals now in use. Beddome wrote an 'Exposition on the Baptist Catechism,' which was published in 1752. Two posthumous volumes of discourses were also printed from his manuscripts, and appeared, the first in 1805, the second in 1835. This latter contained a memoir of the author. By his marriage with Miss Elizabeth Boswell, Beddome had two sons, Benjamin and Foskett, who, having prepared themselves for the medical profession, died prematurely at the ages respectively of 24 and 25 years. Beddome died at Bourton, the scene of his lifelong labours, on 3 Sept. 1795, aged 78 years. His personal character was marked by great urbanity and courtesy. To the sick and the poor he was exceedingly generous and charitable.

[Miller's Singers and Songs of the Church, 2nd ed. 1869; and Memoir prefixed to Sermons, 1835.]

W. B. L.