Richard Rogerson 1733-1760

The successor to Samuel Lawrence was Richard Rogerson from Alcester, in Warwickshire. William Wilson, who had come to the congregation in 1720, continued as an assistant. The sermon Wilson preached on November 22nd, 1733 on the subject of “Charity as a Rule of Conduct in the Affairs of a Religious Society” already referred to was preached on the occasion of a day set aside by the congregation to consider the appointment of Rogerson. Among the congregation at that time was John Carr of Dunston Hill and his son Ralph, an eminent merchant and banker. Ralph was a trustee of the chapel, and his younger sister Sarah married Thomas Walker, the minister at Mill Hill Chapel Leeds. (Thomas Walker’s nephew, George Walker, a mathematician, theologian and Fellow of the Royal Society was a native of Newcastle and an occasional preacher at the Newcastle church.) To complete the family connection, Ralph’s elder sister Margaret married, in 1737, the new minister Richard Rogerson.

At the time of his appointment the Arian controversy (in its widest and simplest interpretation, the issue of the true nature of Jesus) was in full swing. Dissenting opinion tended towards the widest discretion for individual conscience and Rogerson was greatly in sympathy with this approach. Indeed, he may have been appointed precisely for that reason. The congregation acknowledged the fatherhood of God and the leadership of Jesus, and on other matters they agreed to differ. Human formulas and creeds framed by synods and assemblies they discarded; their test of membership was a “righteous, godly and sober life”.

Rogerson died on September 6th 1760, aged 57, having ministered to the congregation for 21 years. He was buried at St John’s. His grandchildren lived at Whickham, near the Carrs, until the last of them died in 1847.