Bold, John

, a pious and useful clergyman of Leicestershire, was born at Leicester in 1679, and at the age of fifteen had made such progress in letters as to be matriculated at St. John’s college, Cambridge. Having taken the degree of B. A. in 1698, he retired to Hinckley in Leicestershire, where he engaged in teaching a small endowed school, and retained that employment until 1732, at the humble salary of 10l. per annum. At the usual age, he was admitted into holy orders to serve the curacy of Stoney Stanton near Hinckley. It appears from the parish register, that he commenced his parochial duties in May 1702; and the care of the parish was confided to him, his rector then residing on another benefice. His stipend was only 30l. a year, as the living was a small one, being then in the open-field state. Nor does it appear that he had made any saving in money from the profits of his school all the property he seems to have brought with him to his curacy was, his chamber furniture, and a library, more valuable for being select than extensive. When Mr. Bold was examined for orders, his diocesan (Dr. James Gardiner, bishop of Lincoln) was so much pleased with his proficiency in sacred learning, that he had determined to make Mr. Bold his domestic chaplain: but the good bishop’s death soon after closed his prospect of preferment as soon as it was opened in that quarter; and Mr. Bold framed his plan of life and studies upon a system of rigid ceconomy and strict attention to his professional duties, which never varied during the fifty years he passed afterwards on his curacy. Remote from polished and literary society, which he was calculated both to enjoy and to adorn, he diligently performed the duties of an able and orthodox divine; a good writer; an excellent preacher, and an attentive parish priest. He appears, from the early age of 24 years, to have formed his plan of making himself a living sacrifice for the benefit of his flock; and to have declined preferment (which was afterward offered to him) with a view of making his example and doctrine the more | striking and effective, by his permanent residence and labours in one and the same place. He appears to have begun his ecclesiastical labours in a spirit of self-denial, humility, charity, and piety. He had talents that might have rendered him conspicuous any where, and an impressive and correct delivery. His life was severe (so far as respected himself); his studies incessant; his spiritual labours for the church and his flock, ever invariably the same. His salary, we have already mentioned, was only ZOl. a year, which was never increased, and of which he paid at firsts/, then J2l. and lastly 16l. a year, for his board. It needs scarcely be said that the most rigid ceconomy was requisite, and practised, to enable him to subsist; much more to save out of this pittance for beneficent purposes. Yet he continued to give away annually, 5l.; and saved 5l. more with a view to more permanent charities: upon the rest he lived. His daily fare consisted of water-gruel for his breakfast; a plate from the farmer’s table, with whom he boarded, supplied his dinner; after dinner, one half pint of ale, of his own brewing, was his only luxury; he took no tea, and his supper was upon milk-pottage. With this slender fare his frame was supported under the labour of his various parochial duties. In the winter, he read and wrote by the farmer’s fire-side; in the summer, in his own room. At Midsummer, he borrowed a horse for a day or two, to pay short visits beyond a walking distance. He visited all his parishioners, exhorting, reproving, consoling, instructing them.

The last six years of his life he was unable to officiate publicly; and was obliged to obtain assistance from the Rev. Charles Cooper, a clergyman who resided in the parish on a small patrimonial property, with whom he divided his salary, making up the deficiency from his savings. Mr. Bold’s previous saving of 5l. annually, for the preceding four or five and forty years (and that always put out to interest) enabled him to procure this assistance, and to continue his little charities, as well as to support himself, though the price of boarding was just doubled upon him from his first entrance on the cure, from 8l. to 16l. a year. But, from the annual saving even of so small a sum as 5l. with accumulating interest during that term, he not only procured assistance for the last years of his life, but actually left by his will securities for the payment of bequests to the amount of between two and three hundred | pounds: of which 100l. was bequeathed to some of his nearest relations; 100l. to the farmer’s family in which he died, to requite their attendance in his latter end, and with which a son of the family was enabled to set up in a little farm; and 40l. more he directed to be placed out at interest, of which interest one half is paid at Christmas to the poorer inhabitants who attend at church; and the other, for a sermon once a year, in Lent, “on the duty of the people to attend to the instructions of the minister whom the bishop of the diocese should set over them.

This very singular and exemplary clergyman, whose character it is impossible to contemplate without admiration, died Oct. 29, 1751. He wrote for the use of his parishioners the following practical tracts; 1. “The sin and danger of neglecting the Public Service of the Church,” 17*5, 8vo, one of the books distributed by the Society for promoting Christian knowledge. 2. “Religion the most delightful employment, &c.” 3. " The duty of worthily communicating. 1

1 Nichols’s Hist. of Leicestershire, vol. IV. Part II.