A Great Missioner, Hymnologist, and Writer. Genuine and widespread sorrow was manifested at Newport to-day when it became known that the long illness of the Rev. J. T. Wrenford, M.A., Ph.D., had terminated in his demise. The Rev. gentleman had been unconscious since last night, and his death took place this morning at his residence. Belle Vue Court, Cardiff-road, in his seventy-ninth year, and the jubilee year of his vicariate of St. Paul's. Newport. His death had been seen to be near any time during the last week or so. He had been unwell for nearly six months. A rest and change in North Wales did not seem to renew his strength, which gradually ebbed away. and his death may, in general terms, be attributed to the decay incident to old age.
Mr. Wrenford was a native of Liverpool, where he was born on June 30. 1825. He was a son of Mr. William Wrenford, of her late Majesty's Inland Revenue Service. After his public school life, chiefly passed at Ludlow, he read for Holy Orders at the Bishop's Divinity Class at Cowbridge Grammar School. On October 9. 1849, he was ordained and licensed to the junior curacy of St. Mary's, Cardiff, with Roath. Twelve months later he was priested by Dr. Ollivant, who had just been appointed Bishop of Llandaff. The deceased clergyman had the honour of being first in each of his examinations, and had the post of honour at each of the ordination services. A year after his appointment to St. Mary's, Cardiff, he became, through a vacancy, senior curate of Roath, under the Rev. W. Leigh Morgan. At that time the population of Roath was only about 350. Five years later the incumbency of St. Paul's, Newport—a newly-built church—was offered to and accepted by Mr. Wrenford. He entered into the duties in the year 1855, and had been vicar of the parish continuously until his death today. In 1865 he was given the diploma of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy by the University of Rostock. Mr. Wrenford was pre-eminently a great missioner and evangelist. He not only formed a new benefice out of his parish, but built mission-halls, founded an industrial home for penitents, and established two unions, with over 7000 members, in various parts of the world. His mission work was conducted in all parts of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Not only by preaching was he a missioner. He wrote a series of books on “The Christian Life,” the total issue of which exceeded two millions and a half copies. St. Paul's itself was the centre of many Evangelical missions during Dr. Wrenford's incumbency. He personally was for many years almost the ideal Low Churchman and ultra-Protestant. But in his later life many softening influences came over him, and his aversion to the ornate in church and ritual was a good deal subdued. He was a personal friend of Frances Ridley Havergal, whom he assisted in many ways and was assisted by. It was Mr. Wrenford who first gave to the world the well-known hymn:
“Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.”
Frances Ridley Havergal had sent it to Dr. Wrenford in a personal letter immediately after she had written it. No one who had had personal contact with Mr. Wrenford could be otherwise than impressed with his deep and abiding earnestness of purpose and of his whole-heartedness in his work. He married in 1858 Harriette, eldest daughter of the late Mr. John Edmondson. J.P., D.L., of Grassyard Hall, Caton, Lancashire, and leaves a widow, two sons, and six daughters, two of whom are married.—Evening Express, February 19, 1904,