Family Lessons 26: Toadpott

It is amusing to read of people in online genealogy forums sharing their illustrious family trees. Such folk usually, but not exclusively, hail from the New World, and link their lineage to such august figures as Henry VIII, Edward the Confessor, and even, most incredulously of all, King Arthur. My mother and I smile wryly at such claims. They may of course be true, but proving them is difficult. Our own family line makes no such claims. Indeed, my 9x great-grandfather, Robert Leeming (died 1688) was living at a farm called Toadpott near the Yorkshire village of Clapham. It was there that his son and my 8x great-grandfather, also Robert, was born in 1681.

Although Toadpott is a somewhat quaint, even intriguing name, it doesn’t bespeak vast wealth or dazzling social status. It is the kind of place that, if it were around today, would have been renamed something more genteel. There is so little reference to it on maps and records that it was either a poor, infertile place, which went to rack and ruin, or it was indeed renamed something more salubrious. I even messaged one our worshippers who himself farmed those parts, and he had not heard of it either.

So, having descended from the mean Toadpott crew, I cannot make boasts of coming from royalty or aristocracy. I’m a plain man from plain stock, and no amount of genealogical grandstanding will alter this fact. In the third chapter of Paul’s letter to the Colossians, the apostle writes:

…there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.”

In other words, descent from the sophisticated Greeks or even the pious Jews, offers little advantage over those who come from uncultured and brutal Scythians of the Eurasian Steppe. It is only what one does with Jesus Christ and His gospel that truly matters. You might be descended from Elizabeth II herself (and that is a family tree worth noting), but if you are found outside of Christ, you will be excluded from all that God has prepared for those who love Him.

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light. 1 Peter 2:9

Image by Daniel Kirsch from Pixabay