Henry Ince of Bournheath

(born 7th December 1801, died 17th October 1887)

Henry Ince was a true Bournheath villager. He was born in a nailmakers cottage opposite the chapel in Fairfield Road (formally Lower Lane), worked there as a nailmaker and died in the village in 1887. He was a founder trustee of one of the two chapels in the village. The Primitive Methodist magazine for 1860 states that, in 1826, Henry’s brother William, “erected a small chapel and let it to the infant Society”. “In 1836 it became necessary to provide a larger chapel and William sold the society the plot of ground on which the sanctuary now stands”. This is the present Bournheath Methodist Church in Fairfield Road.

Henry Ince – Nailmaker, Methodist Local Preacher and Campaigner.

Henry, as well as being a nailmaker in the little nailshop next to his house, worked tirelessly for the nailmakers cause; he became an ardent campaigner for the rights of the nailmakers of Bromsgrove District and held many meetings with the nailmakers and nailmasters in an attempt to improve the pay and working conditions. He chaired many meetings in Bromsgrove and started and ended each meeting (with well over a hundred nailmakers attending) with a hymn and a prayer. Henry was held in such high regard that at one meeting in 1869 he was presented with a ‘frock coat, waistcoat and trousers, a silk hat, stockings, garters and a walking stick’. “After the presentation Mr. Ince retired and later reappeared, attired from head to foot in his new suit. He met a most enthusiastic response” [source – Bromsgrove Messenger 1869].

In 1834 Henry was accepted as a travelling preacher in the Birmingham Methodist Circuit and in his local preaching duties as far away as Stratford and Leamington he was paid 9/6d (48p) per week and walked 14,000 miles to and from these preaching appointments.

Henry died “in the Lord” on October 17th 1887 aged 86 and a plaque was erected to his memory in the church. He was buried in Bromsgrove cemetery with his second wife Ann who had also been a local Methodist preacher.


©Photo and plaque detail by kind permission of Bournheath Methodist Church.

Bromsgrove Messenger extracts: www.bromsgrovebmsgh.co.uk