Thomas Middleton (1754-96)
Thomas Middleton was born at Asenby in Yorkshire. His parents raised their children in a very moral atmosphere but Thomas according to his obituary 'began to shew an awkward disposition of mind, being unsteady. and showing a great aversion to learning'.
He began to work for his father as a bricklayer and at the age of nineteen moved to Scarborough where he started to awaken spiritually two years later following the death of a friend. He was at the time working in a house where Methodist preachers lodged and one of these, Benjamin Rhodes, took an interest in the young man. It was not long after that Middleton joined the Methodist society and was soon converted.
Two years after his conversion, he married and was appointed class leader. His business also prospered and he was able to help his parents who had fallen on hard times. His trade is described in one of the primary sources as grocer and his address as Merchant Row where he often provided hospitality for visiting preachers.
Middleton also served as a local preacher and an enthusiastic visitor to the sick.
His health began to fail early in 1795 and consumption was diagnosed. He died on March 1st 1796.
Source: Methodist Magazine 1799, 547-551 and PLP 5.6.58 (MARC)