Monday 22 August 2022

Tough Assignment - John Lane

John Lane was born at Maidenhead about 1850. It would seem his family were not Methodists and he was not converted until he was in his thirties. By then he was living in Eton Wick at Hope Cottages. At the time of the census in 1881 he was married to Sarah and had two young children but soon after this Sarah must have died, for it was his second wife, Emily, a member of the Queens Street Chapel who brought John into the faith. 

Almost certainly he became a member of that church, and perhaps it was here that he first met Annie Tough. This we shall never know, nor quite when or how he became involved in the struggle to found a chapel in Eton Wick. We are in no doubt, however, that he did become part of the band of workers and in 1886 he helped to build the chapel as master carpenter employed by Henry Burfoot. He was one of the original eight trustees and the first assistant society steward, a post that in later years was called chapel steward. 

For many years he was also Superintendent of the Sunday School, a circuit steward and almost every year from the opening of the chapel to his death in 1913 he represented Eton Wick on the circuit committee. He was often the circuit representative at district meetings, a very active lay preacher and a temperance worker who helped to found the first Band of Hope at the chapel. The surviving records don't reveal the many other chapel activities in which he was concerned and he remains a somewhat shadowy figure. Without a doubt he was one of the strong men behind Mrs Tough and her drive and enthusiasm to build a chapel and society at Eton Wick.

Commemorative plaque to John Lane 

The Eton Wick History Group is most grateful for the kind permission given by the Eton Wick Methodist Chapel to republish this history, Tough Assignment on this website.


John Lane married his first wife Sarah Bowyer in the third quarter of 1874, and they had five children: Mary, Arthur, Harry, Edith and Frank.

She died in the first quarter of 1890.

He married his second wife, Emma during the final quarter of 1890 and they had a daughter, Helen. The 1901 census records that the family were living in Fern Cottage, Boveney.

These notes can be made by the readily available records that are now accessible online. In 1986 when Tough Assignment was published the records of births, deaths and marriages along with the census after that year were not available to the historian and author, Dr Judith Hunter.

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