Vernon John Charlesworth, was born on April 28, 1839, in Barking, Essex, England.
He was educated at Homerton College.
He was married in 1860, to Eliza Moore, and had nine children.
In 1861, he was newly married to Eliza Moore, and they were living as lodgers on Church Court in Richmond, Surrey, England. He was working as the school master of a Baptist church.
In 1864 he was the co-pastor with Rev. Newman Hall at Surrey Chapel.
In 1869, Charleworth was appointed the headmaster of the Charles Spurgeon Stowell Orphanage. This was an orphanage for fatherless children to be able to live without charge, and given shelter, food, clothing, care, instruction and education. It had been started two years earlier, and was open to orphans of all religious backgrounds. It was provided as an alternative to “poor houses” where orphans and the poor were used as slaves for businesses and given very inadequate and abusive care. The goal was to incorporate the children into large families, and to care and provide for the children as part of “normal” Christian families, instead of as if they were herds of institutionalized children. This was an expensive and tough ministry to start and maintain, but one that grew abundantly.
In 1871 he was the governor of Spurgeon’s Orphanage and living on Clapham Road in Stockwell of Lambeth. He was 31 and his wife was 33. He had six children from 9 years of age to 1.
He published The Life of Rowland Hill in 1876. He wrote with J. Manton Smith, Flowers and Fruits of Sacred Song and Evangelistic Hymns. He wrote and published several leaflets and several spirited hymns that have been very popular.
Hymns he wrote were:
In 1881 he was 41 and visiting as a Baptist Minister a home one Ice House Lane of Norwich, Norfolk, England.
In 1891, he was 51 and the Head Master of the school which had its own district, the Stockwell Orphanage district. He and his wife had seven children living with them, ages 9 to 29 years old. One boy, Thomas, was a draper’s assistant and another boy, Frank, was a confectioner.
In 1901, he was 61 and his wife was 62. He was living in the Stockwell Orphanage district and was the Head Master, working as a Baptist Minister. They had four children, the youngest was 17. Their daughter, Olive, was 39 and still at home.
In 1911 he had been married for 50 years, was 71 years old, and headmaster of the Stockwell Orphanage. They had three single daughters living with them, ages 29 to 49.
Vernon J. Charlesworth died on January 5, 1915, in London England, serving at the headmaster of the orphanage until his death.
He had two brothers that emigrated to Australia in the 1850’s and another one that became a minister in England. Vernon was an elder in the Spurgeon Tabernacle and preached not only in England, but also in Australia and Canada.
Kenneth W. Osbeck, 101 More Hymn Stories (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Publications, 1985), pp. 19, 20.
John Julian, editor, A Dictionary of Hymnology Setting Forth the Origin and History of Christian Hymns of All Ages and Nations Setting Forth the Origin and History of Christian Hymns of All Ages and Nations (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1892), p. 219.
Ian F. Shaw, “Caring for Children,” Christian History Magazine (Carol Stream, IL: Christianity Today, 1991), Issue 29: Charles Spurgeon: England's "Prince of Preachers."
Ancestry (Provo: Utah, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. 2011), www.ancestry.com accessed Jan 23, 2011 to use the many resources for census information and family trees.