Thomas Ford (1742-1821)

Thomas Ford Thomas was the son of Dr James Ford, obstetrician to Queen Charlotte.

Newton knew him from his London days and often stayed with him when travelling from Olney.

After a curacy in London, Ford was appointed vicar of Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire.

The portrait on the left is by local artsit John Ferneley (1782–1860),

Thos Ford bw
Acknowledgement: Leicestershire County Council Museums  

Selected Extracts from John Newton's Diary:

Tuesday 30 August 1774 Dr Ford, his wife and her sister came.
Thursday 1 September 1774 Dr Ford spoke to the children this morning and preached in the evening from Psalm 103:1-5
  1774 Sep 10
John Newton's diary
TF 1774
Thomas Ford's diary
Tuesday 6 September 1774 Dr Ford &c left us yesterday. He now goes to settle where the Lord has called him in his providence, at Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, a very dark place. May they soon rejoice in the light.
  1774 Sep 6
Saturday 18 March 1775 Dr Ford met us on the road and conducted us to Melton Mowbray about two.  A meeting at his house in the evening, many attended and behaved well.  The Doctor officiated throughout. 
Sunday 19 March 1775 Melton
St Mary's, Melton Mowbray
My frame today was very low, but I had liberty in preaching twice, particularly in the evening when the congregation was large and attentive. 1 Thessalonians 2:8, 1 Corinthians 16:22
Tuesday 21 March 1775 The anniversary of the day when the Lord stretched out his mighty arm and saved me from sinking into the ocean and into hell, and made the first impression upon my heart towards recovering me from my dreadful apostasy.  Walked two hours in the morning.  I would have loved and praised and wondered, but alas my heart was sadly cold.  In the evening I spoke in Doctor Ford’s kitchen, to about a hundred people from Psalm 106:4,5 [Remember me, O LORD, with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people: O visit me with thy salvation; That I may see the good of thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of thy nation, that I may glory with thine inheritance.]
  TF JN Mar 1775 Thomas Ford's diary
Saturday 30 December 1775 On Thursday Dr and Mrs Ford came. He preached in the evening from Isaiah 9:6. A valuable discourse, but we had not a large congregation. Yesterday I accompanied him to [Stoney] Stratford on his way to Oxford, he being to preach before the University on Sunday. Mrs Ford remains with me till his return.
Thursday 18 January 1776 Met the children. Dr Ford spoke to them, and by Mrs Ford’s desire I preached in the evening from a text which she gave me. May the subject be blessed to thy poor; they have little of this worlds’ comforts, but if thou art pleased to feed them with heavenly bread, they will not complain. John 6:35 [And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.]
  TF Olney 1776Thomas Ford's diary
In 1783, Newton felt obliged to write to Thomas Ford to urge him to resume faithful preaching. See letters:
22 May 1783 John Newton to Thomas Robinson  
25 September 1783 John Newton to Thomas Robinson  
summer 1783  John Newton to Thomas Robinson  
Although he responded accordingly, Ford never seemed to regain the same level of committment he once had.
Their relationship held, however. Newton visited him again after Polly's death:
Thursday 21 June 1792
Set off with Mrs Buxton and arrived at Melton to dinner. Found all well. Preached in the evening from Philippians 4:19.
  TF 1792     Thomas Ford's diary
Sunday 24 June 1792
Preached from Revelation 1:18. Evening Psalm 106:4.
Blessed be my Lord for health of body, and some liberty of spirit and speech.
  JN 1792 John Newton's diary
Monday 25 June 1792 Took leave of Melton about noon...  

Lambeth Palace Library, Newton Papers, MS 2942
Leicestershire County Council Museums
Princeton University Library, John Newton Diary, CO199
University of Leicester, Ford Papers, MS 33


Marylynn Rouse, 06/07/2015