John Foster, Winteringham Shoemaker & Poet

Winteringham Local History and Genealogy

John Foster, Winteringham Shoemaker and Poet

John Foster (sometimes spelt Forster), possibly born on February 27th 1740 (1741 in current Calendar), the son of Nathaniel and Ann Fo(r)ster, shoemaker, of Winteringham, married Rebecca Hill May 1769 at Winteringham, and died 4th June 1809 in his seventieth year. He had a book of poems published by R Noble of London, and sold for the author by White; Darton and Harvey; Chapman Keymer, Colchester, Browne, Hull, and Wilson & Co York, 1797.  The poems are of a chiefly religious nature, and there’s a recommendatory preface by Rev Robert Storry of Colchester. Robert Storry had been the curate for Rev Adam at Winteringham from 1775 to 1780, and amongst those bookshops selling the book was Keymer’s of Colchester. It cost 1 shilling on best paper, but sixpence if printed on inferior! ....

John and Rebecca Foster had the following children:
Rebecca , daughter, born 15th April 1770
James, son, baptised 14th February 1772
Hannah, daughter, born 9th May 1773
Nathaniel, son, born 12th February, 1776
John , son, born 2nd April 1778

Poems chiefly on Religious Subjects

The recommendatory preface (below) is by Rev. Robert Storry (previously a curate at Winteringham under Rev Thomas Adam), and it was during Robert Storry’s time as curate (1775-1780) that John was absent from Winteringham, apparently fighting as a private in the North Lincoln Militia in the American War of Independence. Robert Storry wrote to him, to tell him how his family were doing back in the village. (The life in Winteringham of Robert Storry can be read from his obituary here).

Recommendatory preface by Rev. Robert Storry


Recommendatory preface by Rev. Robert Storry



Lovely smiles the blooming May,
In a vest of nature gay;
Pleasure's lover she invites
To a feast of chaste delights.

Would we tread the fertile fields,
Reap the sweets that nature yields?
From the verdure or the bloom
Gather honey or perfume?

This should be our happy skill,
First the love of God to feel,
Warmly glowing on the foul;
This would new-create the whole.

God in Christ, divinely ours,
Gives a fragrance new to flow'rs:
How delightful then to rove
Thro' the meadow or the grove!

Ev'ry cowslip we behold,
Ting'd with this would shine in gold:
Daisies that adorn their sod,
Would delight us with a smile.

Hills and dales, and verdant woods,
Running rills, and rolling floods;
Summer, autumn, winter, spring,
Then would seem to laugh and sing!

God in all would then be seen,
Loving to the sons of men;
Like the scale in Jacob's dream,
All his works would lead to him.

O possess me, Lord, of this,
Soul of all created bliss!
Then a rural walk would be
A delightful rove to Thee.

May I, when thy works I view,
Learn to yield Thee praises due,
With my very heart and tongue,
Now, and in an endless song!

On the Death of a Child

He’s gone! the fair Elysian flow’r!
In smiling innocence he fled;
Sprang up and wither’d in an hour,
He rests amongst the peaceful dead.
When heav’n forbad a longer stay,
The sweet sojourner hastes away.

Array’d in robes of purest white,
He on the golden pavement stands,
And sings with ever-new delight
Amidst the bright seraphic bands,
A song of everlasting praise
To Jesu’s love and foreign grace.

Hail! highly bless’d, releas’d from woe,
They parents joy, and dear desire;
May they, when they their heads shall bow
And in thy Saviour’s arms expire,
Meet the who art before them gone,
With joy around the heav’nly throne.

As when the sun array’d in gold,
After the tempests of the day
Resulgently its beams unfold
To make the smiling evening gay;
So may their mortal day decline
Cloudless, in peace, and all divine!


Have you tried the other Winteringham Websites?
Winteringham, Parish Council (includes current news items, photographs, weather forecasts, calendar of events, etc etc)
Don Burton World of NaturePhoto Archive (modern photographs of the village), What the Papers have said about Winteringham (since July 2004),
High Resolution Historical Photographs, Winteringham Film Archive, Winteringham Football Club, Winteringham Nature Site , Winteringham Recipes, Winteringham Sales, Winteringham Camera Club, Winteringham Village Hall

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