Hibbitt & Barnes Family History

Stephen DANDO - (1760 - 1834)

Stephen DANDO was born in Dursley, Gloucestershire, on 18th March 1760, the youngest son of John and Susanna DANDO. He was baptized in Dursley Calvinistic Methodist Tabernacle on 25 June 1760 by the famous preacher and pioneer of Methodism, George Whitefield.


Stephen's parents were accustomed to offering hospitality to a number of Christian preachers and, after the death of his father in 1775, Stephen continued to help his mother in this and to carry on the family's hat making business.


On 1st July 1788, Stephen married Elizabeth Jones in Dursley and they subbsequently had five children.


The Universal British Directory of Trade, Commerce and Manufacture for 1791 confirms Stephen was one of the traders in Dursley at that time...

...Dando Stephen, Hatter...


In 1792, Stephen DANDO was amongst those who signed an agreement on behalf of the Tabernacle Society in Dursley to lease land for a burial ground. A book was published in 1982 by David E Evans entitled 'As Mad As A Hatter! Puritans and Whitefieldites in the History of Dursley and Cam'. The following extract appears on page 74...

"In 1792 the members of the old Tabernacle leased land on the opposite of the road for a burial ground. This measured 'seventy-nine feet along the turnpike road' and is roughly half the present burial ground. The land was part of a field called eight acres and was leased from Robert Harris, Gentleman, for 1000 years at one shilling per year to be paid on the Feast of St. John the Baptist beginning in 1793.

"The list of those who signed the agreement on behalf of the Tabernacle Society makes interesting reading as it gives an idea of the sort of person who was prominent in the society at the time.
...Stephen Dando, hat maker, Dursley, (son of John)..."


Dursley Tabernacle
Dursley Tabernacle

Stephen continued his religious involvement and in 1808 he was amongst those who signed an agreement to lease land to build a new Tabernacle, which still stands in Dursley today. Page 102 of David Evans' book states...

"His accommodation now reorganised, William Bennett set about the Tabernacle itself. The old building was becoming dangerous for, under too heavy a roof, the walls were cracking. Thus in August 1808, a second agreement for land was reached with George Harris, this time for £82 19s 0d down and an annual rent of one shilling. By the time the deeds were signed work had already begun on the new Tabernacle for it included the phrase 'whereof a Tabernacle or Meeting House is now erecting and building'.

"The agreement was signed by
...Stephen Dando, hat maker..."

...Rev'd William Bennett was the minister of Dursley Tabernacle between 1804 and 1823.


At some stage Stephen moved to London. He died in 1834 and the Evangelical Magazine printed the following obituary for him in May 1835...



THE subject of this memoir was born at Dursley in the county of Gloucester, on the 18th March, 1760. His parents were eminent for piety ; they had the honour and the happiness of introducing the Gospel into Dursley ; and, under God, of establishing an interest which has been continued to the present day.

Their house was ever open to the ministers of Christ ; and might with propriety be called the preacher's home. Amongst others whom they had the pleasure to entertain, we have to mention the names of the Rev. George Whitfield, the Rev. Cornelius Winter, the Rev. Messrs. Pentycross, Glasscott, Grove, Adams, Joss, Wilks, Rowland Hill, and Sir Richard Hill, whose praise is in all the churches. Our departed friend was baptized by the Rev. George Whitfteld : and at the early age of fifteen years, he dated his first serious impressions to have taken place, which he ascribed to the influence of his father's prayers. The father, however, was removed about that time into the world of spirits, and it was the privilege of the surviving parent to see that her child had caught the mantle of his deceased relative. He became at once as a husband, as well as a son, to his bereaved mother ; he assisted her in carrying on the business, and they kept the house open still for the accommodation of the servants of Jesus Christ. Subsequently he became a resident in London, and sat under the ministry of that excellent and laborious man, the late Rev. Charles Buck, with whose church he was some years a communicant. But during the latter part of his life he united himself in Christian fellowship with the Church in Jewin-street, under the pastoral care of the Rev. Thomas Wood. He appeared to enjoy Mr. Wood’s ministry very much, and spoke of it with the utmost pleasure and satisfaction, as being rendered particularly useful to him. In this communion he spent the last years of his life ; and from this communion on earth, he was taken away to unite with the blessed in heaven. He was a man of an excellent spirit, the Scriptures were his daily study and delight, and he was accustomed to remark, "There is no book like the Bible : I have received more comfort in reading it than in all other authors." His family with all those who knew him best can bear their testimony to his conscientious adherence to the word of God, not as a reader merely, but a practical observer of the divine testimonies. The law of the Lord was the spring of his actions, the rule of his conduct, and the source of his consolations. He was a decided and a uniform Christian. In his last illness, which was only a week, he expressed himself greatly comforted under the idea of having been enabled for a number of years, to build his eternal hopes on the foundation of apostles and prophets, the rock Christ Jesus. He felt his ruin as a sinner, he saw there was redemption for him in the Saviour, he rejoiced in the adaptation of the Gospel to his state as a fallen creature ; he renounced every thought of human merit in the sight of God for his acceptance, and cast himself upon the atonement and righteousness of Christ ENTIRELY for eternal life. He delighted greatly in the hymn,

"Jesu, lover of my soul, &c."

He was accustomed to notice how full of prayer it was. Several times during the last week of his life, he spoke with much pleasure of the comfort he had enjoyed in looking to Christ, as the children of Israel beheld the serpent lifted up by Moses in the wilderness. He found himself diseased by sin, but there he saw the balm of health to the soul. When under deep distress of feeling, occasioned by shortness of breath, he was frequently heard to exclaim, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." When asked if Christ was precious ; he said, "Yes." As he was passing through the valley of the shadow of death the inquiry was made, "Do you find the rod and staff of God to comfort you?" He immediately replied, "I do." It was observed to him, "You are greatly supported ; and by whom?" With peculiar emphasis he rejoined, "by the Almighty God." He regretted much his inability to keep his thoughts fixed on sacred subjects long together. When, however, he was reminded of what Jesus said to his disciples—"The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak,” he appeared much comforted. During the whole of his illness, there did not seem to be a single doubt to harass his mind respecting his interest in Christ. He faithfully enjoined his sons and grandsons to attend to family prayer ; he entreated them never to omit it ; to read the Scriptures, and make the word of God their directory ; to be followers of Christ. His views of the Gospel were clear and correct ; he saw the fulness and the freeness of that salvation which is in Christ, and rested on him alone for future happiness. He felt the necessity and the influence of the Holy Spirit to purify his heart, and make him meet for heaven: he calmly waited for his dismission from the earth, and died in the Lord on Thursday morning, 30th October, 1834, in the seventy-fifth year of his age. Such was the composure of his mind for the space of two days prior to his decease, and at the time of his departure, that it may be truly said of him, "He fell asleep in Jesus." Oh, reader! study the word of God as he did ; call upon the name of the Lord with his fervour of spirit ; believe on Christ for eternal life ; and have your daily fruit unto holiness, and your end also, like his, shall he blessed.— Amen


Stephen DANDO was buried at Bunhill Fields Burial Ground, London, on 3rd November 1834.


A video clip of the current Dursley Tabernacle can be viewed in the videos section of the gallery and photos of the Tabernacle can also be viewed on this site.


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