When William Roach sold the house to Robert Short on 2 August 1790, the sitting tenant was listed as a Mr Thomas Fereby.
Thanks to a genealogist with the delightful nom de blog Parishmouse, I now know Thomas Fereby's occupation, dates of birth and death and place of burial. I even have a mini-obituary for him, with the prospect of a fuller one to come.
Parishmouse transcribes historical books and makes them freely available online. Yesterday, the entry for Sodbury in the Universal British Directory 1791 was published. A few minutes later - thanks to Google Alerts - a link to the transcription was in my Inbox.
Listed under "Clergy" in the Directory entry I found:
Ferreby Rev. Mr. Baptist-preacher
Googling on variants of his surname, plus +baptist and +sodbury, enabled me to find the following information:
At Sodbury, the Rev Thomas Ferebee, aged 76 years - 52 of which he spent in the discharge of his duty, as minister of the baptist congregation in that town; and to whose sterling piety and unblemished reputation all who knew him bear ample testimony.
- From a list of Ferebee BMDs online I have his place of burial:
Thomas Ferebee, no age, 1808, of Sodbury, Shortwood Baptist.
- From the Baptist Historical Society website I have the index entry to his obituary in the Baptist Magazine, 1809:
Ferebee, Born: 1733. Died: 1808. Obituary: Baptist Magazine 1809. Page 105.
Chipping Sodbury Baptist Church is the church where I worship, when my health permits. This morning I attended the Good Friday service there. I am so pleased to know of this connection between our house and a former minister of the church. I am hoping that the obituary in the Baptist Magazine will give me more information about him. In view of his calling, it seems entirely appropriate that his wife's name was Hannah Heaven. They married, by licence, at Chipping Sodbury on 9 May 1774.