- Thomas Washington (1753-1830)may have come from Sheffield in Yorkshire, and he was certainly resident in the town at the time of his conversion under the influence of a sermon preached in about 1778 by the Wesleyan itinerant John Murlin. He moved to Leek in Staffordshire soon after and joined the infant Methodist society. Washington frequently provided hospitality for visiting preachers and on occasion, for John Wesley himself. He continued a devoted member of the society for fifty years and met with his class for the last time on the day of his death. Source: Methodist Magazine 1830, 442-443
- Thomas Cook (1734-1804) was born in Loughborough where he worked as a hosier or dealer in men's clothing. According to his obituary by Sarah Brackenbury, he 'lived more than thirty years without God.having attained to a horrid pre-eminence in wickedness…'. He began to attend Methodist preaching in about 1766 and was converted soon after. Cooke immediately himself into such a regime of self-denial that for three months he took little nourishment except for a little barley bread and water. Rattenbury states that even 'when he abated a little of his strictness, he still carried his abstemoiusness so far, that his knees frequently smote together as he walked; often fasting whole days and praying whole nights. He always wore the coarsest apparell.but while he was thus austere and rigid to himself, he was always compassionate and forbearing to others.Perhaps the most prominent feature in the character of this holy man, was divine simplicity.'. Cooke devoted himself to performing the 'most menial and servile offices' and had a particular interest in caring for the sick. He served as a class leader for many years. Cooke was married and had several children including a daughter called Anne who died at the age of twenty-four. His health began to fail from the beginning of 1804 and he died on June 16th. Source: Methodist Magazine 1807, 241-250
From Nottingham [Bardsley was stationed in Nottingham in 1784] to Thomas Washington at Leek [Part of the Macclesfield circuit] . Since he last saw Washington, he has enjoyed good health and 'the Lord is good to my soul'. They are doing well in this circuit; there is a new chapel in Nottingham and large congregations. They have also experienced an increase in some of the local societies and Bardsley trusts that many of the people are growing in grace.
He hopes that the Methodists are doing well in Leek. Bardsley hopes to call in the town on his way to Manchester on January 4th . Washington should announce that he will be preaching.
His love should be passed to Brother Davenport and his wife, [Thomas] Hanby and [Robert] Costerdine and all in the society [both stationed in the Burslem circuit].
Bardsley's love should be passed to Washington's wife.
14 Dec 1784
To Thomas Cook, hosier [dealer in men's clothing] of Loughborough
A person of some circumstance here wishes to take a house and has been informed that there is one available to let in Loughborough. It is near the signpost for Nottingham and the gentleman who lives in it has been in the army. Bardsley would be grateful if Cook could enquire how much the rent is and if there is any land? Cook should let him know by return of post or by Saturday.
In a postscript, he asks that his regards be passed to Cook's wife.