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Nathanial Jones was born into a farming family at Whooton, Shropshire near Oswestry in 1861, one of 2 brothers and 2 sisters. He was educated at a Church of England School where religious education was featured. Jones' family were described by his wife as "an intelligent and book-loving family" (1). In about 1880 his father set him up in a farm with one of his sisters but he did not make a success of farming so in 1882 his father decided to send him to Oxford, providing a sum of money from his estate to finance the studies. It is believed that his conversion took place whilst at Oxford. He was considerably influenced, by Canon Christopher, vicar of St. Aldgates' during his Oxford years. The church members at St. Aldgate's included William Cacey Ward, Bertie Gouldsmith, C. Sumner. His college years were impoverished and characterized by considerable deprivation. It is possible that this may have begun the impairment of his health. Jones received 1st Class honours in Theology at Oxford and was ordained deacon by the Bishop of Ripon in 1886. He went as curate to Rev. Dr. Mitchell at New Worthy, Leeds, Lancashire with whom he became lifelong friends. 2 months into his curacy, Jones developed chest problems culminating in pneumonia and was sent to the south coast to recuperate. His condition did improve but it was decided that a long sea voyage was in the best interests of his health. It was at this time that Jones made the decision to immigrate to Australia. On 28th of May 1887 Jones sailed from England aboard the ship 'The Harbinger'. Grace Henderson, a Deaconess Nurse, also sailed for Melbourne on this ship, hoping that a sea voyage might cure her nerve deafness. The two were later married (13.2.1888). The ship berthed in Melbourne 1.9.1887 and Jones became Curate in the Pt. Arlington area where he and Grace (known as Gracie) commenced married life. He was ordained as a priest in Melbourne on 27th May 1888 and appointed as priest at Tarnagulla, Newbridge, and surrounding area. They left Pt. Arlington, much to the consternation of the local parishioners who campaigned to have Jones remain as their priest. Jones and Gracie arrived in Tarnagulla 26.7.1888. The family regained in Tarnagulla until 1894, when Jones became Principal of Perry Hall, Bendigo. Perry Hall was a training institution for readers which began at White Hills in 1893 and then removed to Bendigo, under the superintendence of the Archdeacon of Sandhurst and supported by funds from the districts which were worked by the students residing in the Hall. Its financial position was not strong and on a number of occasions Jones noted that the future of Perry Hall was unclear. Whilst still at Perry Hall it was suggested that Jones apply for the position of Principal at Moore Theological College, Newtown. He commenced in that post in July 1897, following the death of the Reverend Bernard Schleicher 28.Feb.1897. Jones at once resolved to shape the academic programme to prepare students for the Oxford and Cambridge Preliminary Examination for Holy Orders, which was widely accepted by English Bishops as the standard for Ordination. The 1st 2 M.C. Students to sit for the 'preliminary' (2) did so in 1898, both received 1st Class honours. Reverend Jones was the first principal to introduce evening classes at Moore College. In 1898 16 students were enrolled at a cost of 2 pound 25s. a term but classes were discontinued in July 1899. He successfully appealed for the removal of the Broughton Chapel from Liverpool to Newtown, where it was re-erected on a smaller scale as the Broughton Memorial Chapel. Jones was a well respected member of the Sydney Diocese, as well as of the Wider Church Community. He was a close friend of a number of important members of Clergy including John Langley, Bishop of Bendigo, and William Griffith-Thomas. He educated and became lifelong friends with such men as Herbert Smirnoff Begbie, David James Knox, and Sydney Langford Smith. Ill health troubled Jones all his life, particularly diseases of the chest. In 1893 he received treatment for a growth in the throat which, he notes in his journal, had left him without speech for 2 years prior to that time. Robert Knox was appointed as resident tutor from the Easter term in 1901. This enabled Jones to live out of Sydney for his health. A journey to England from May 1908 to February 1909 brought no improvement, although he did resume full charge of the college by Easter 1909. In August 1910 Jones was admitted to hospital for major surgery. He passed away in May 1911, survived by his wife Gracie, and children Maisie and Stephen.
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Principal of Moore Theological College
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