Monday 26 September 2022

Tough Assignment - John Moore and the Moore Family

John Moore, father of Annie Tough, lived most of his married life in Rotherhithe in Kent. He is not thought to have been a Methodist until after his daughter embraced the faith, and he may not have become a member of a chapel until he moved to Eton Wick sometime after 1877. By this time he had retired from his trade of mast and oar maker, with sufficient money to become involved in the development of Boveney New Town. He bought at least two plots of land and on these built Primrose and Snowdrop Villas. What prompted his decision to follow his daughter to her new home we shall never know, but it had far reaching results. Annie was his eldest child, daughter of his first wife, who had died long before 1877. He was married three times and although there were twelve children, the family was a close-knit one, and he brought his third wife and at least three unmarried daughters and a son with him to Eton Wick. Friends and family came from Rotherhithe for the opening of the chapel and all of the names on the chapel's foundation stones are those of members of the Moore family. 

Mr and Mrs J W Moore, Miss A M Moore, Mrs L B Bailey, Mrs E S Eddy, Mrs E M Groves, Mrs A M Marks and Mrs R E Symonds

For many years seat rents were paid for Mr and Mrs Moore and the two daughters still living at home, and also for Miss Ada Moore who was an active member of the chapel in her own right. John Moore was one of the eight original trustees and a considerable benefactor to the chapel. He never became a local preacher, but he was a helper, a term which implied that he assisted with the services. Amongst other things he presented the Chapel with its first harmonium in 1893.

Outside the chapel he carved himself a position of considerable local importance. His success in this field was recorded in the Rotherhithe Advertiser:

'He was the first highway surveyor elected in Boveney Parish; the first School Board member elected in that parish; the first Parish Council chairman elected by the parishioners; also the first District councillor, and the first Guardian of the poor elected by ballot in the parish. He was also the first promoter of allotment schemes in Boveney, posted the first letter in the first post office provided there; obtained the licence for the chapel by which the fourth marriage in 600 years was performed in Boveney Parish, and that was the wedding of his youngest daughter; and built the first six villa residences in Boveney Parish'.

He was more than a little proud of his achievements (quoting from the newspaper in his Christmas cards), but such a recital hardly does justice to his energy and drive. Boveney was a divided parish. The old village was very small lying close to the river and on the other side of Dorney Common to the new (and rapidly growing) community of Boveney New Town. The impact of John Moore on the civic affairs of this quiet parish cannot have been anything but shattering and within a very few years the centre of local government had moved from the village to the new settlement over the border from Eton Wick. When parish councils were first instituted in 1894, the first chairman of Boveney's was indeed J W Moore and council meetings were held at the chapel for an annual rent of 10s. Moore's Lane is named after him.

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.

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