Upon the Isles of the Sea

Discovering the LDS heritage of England, Ireland, Scotland, & Wales



Britain is a beautiful and inspiring place. I love discovering fragments of its history and exploring how they connect. There is a certain magic in walking in the footsteps of our forefathers and learning what motivated them. But I worry! There is a danger that people, events and places can easily be forgotten in the mists of time, and what should be held sacred easily becomes a mere, irrelevant shadow. My joy is focusing a spotlight on them to make sure they continue to shine.

Cotton to converts

We sometimes share stories of early Mormon converts without really appreciating the context those stories took place in.   For instance, the City of Preston is forever firmly established in the beginning tales of British Mormonism, but have you ever wondered what is was like to live in 1837 Preston?

Continue reading “Cotton to converts”

Elder Hinckley

In June 1933 Elder Gordon B. Hinckley arrived in Britain as a young missionary.  The first area he was assigned to was Preston.  On the day of his arrival his companion, Elder Kent S. Bramwell, announced they were going to hold a street meeting in the Market square.   Elder Hinckley felt overwhelmed by such a prospect and declared “You’ve got the wrong man to go with you.”    Nonetheless, that evening the two of them were singing, preaching and bearing testimony.  Elder Hinckley recalls:  Continue reading “Elder Hinckley”

Obelisk Preachers

While Orson Hyde was preaching at Preston’s obelisk he was delighted to find a receptive crowd wanting to hear more about infant baptism not being necessary.   Continue reading “Obelisk Preachers”

Preston’s Obelisk

The Obelisk in Preston’s market square was The place to catch the attention of the people of Preston and the surrounding communities as they arrived here for trading.   Proclamations, announcements and sermons were all delivered beneath this ‘Facebook’ of its day. Continue reading “Preston’s Obelisk”

Plain Facts

This is part five of the Fielding legacy series and outlines how Rev. Matthews almost became a Mormon.

On the 30th July 1837 the first nine baptisms took place in Preston –  all from Revered James Fielding’s congregation.  Two days later two of the missionaries travelled 190 miles south to Bedford to see if a similar introduction and conversion could be initiated with Reverend Matthews and his congregation.  Reverend Matthews initial acceptance and sudden rejection was summarised in an 1841 missionary tract printed by Mormon missionary George J. Adams in Bedford.  The following account was signed by Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde and Willard Richards (Mar 24, 1841.  Preston). Continue reading “Plain Facts”

Timothy Matthews

This is a continuation (part four) of the Fielding Legacy story.

In my last post we discovered the three Fielding tombstones in Colmworth graveyard.  This article looks at the fourth tomb of the Reverend Timothy Matthews.

Rev Annette Reed, the current vicar of nearly Little and Great Paxton records,.. Continue reading “Timothy Matthews”

“They died in peace”

This is a continuation (part three) of the Fielding Legacy story.

While Joseph Fielding was in Bedfordshire he visited the home of his sister Ann Matthews.  He recorded,

August 1st  Called at Mr. Matthews; they were absent.  I looked into the house,  particularly I went into the Room where my Beloved Father died, on the 3rd of March, 1836.  Here he had been nursed with all care and tenderness in his last days by his Daughter, Ann Matthews.  He died in peace.  I have often felt thankful that he and my Mother died even before the Message of the Covenant, being renewed, came to this Land, for as my Brothers & Sisters did not receive the Message, I fear they would also have rejected it through their Influence.  (Fielding, p. 49)

He shared a similar sentiment when he visited their graves in the Colmworth graveyard: Continue reading ““They died in peace””

Goodly Parents

This is a continuation (part two) of the Fielding Legacy story.

Joseph, Mary and Mercy Fielding came from a rich spiritual family.

Their parents – John Fielding (1759-1836) and Rachel (1767-1828) – were both born, christened and married in Halifax, Yorkshire. Their sister Ann Fielding (Matthews) wrote a lengthy article about their mother in the Wesleyan Methodist magazine.    Ann spoke in length of how the family came to Bedfordshire.  She recorded, Continue reading “Goodly Parents”

The Fielding Legacy

This is the first of a six part series about the influence of the Fielding family.

The three siblings Joseph, Mary and Mercy Fielding were all born in Britain, emigrated to Canada, and converted to the restored gospel through their associations with John Taylor and Parley P. Pratt.  The Fielding trio began writing to their family members, who still lived back in England, about the new gospel they had found.  Those letters were read out by their brother James to his Preston congregation in the Vauxhall Chapel even before any missionary arrived in Britain.  Joseph wrote: Continue reading “The Fielding Legacy”

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