YT never ceases to be amazed by the hard work and intensive research by Thurrock museum curator, Jonathan Catton.
You get the feeling that if it was not for Jonathan then Thurrock’s history would be well and truly consigned to the dustbin.
Recently, Jonathan invited the mayor of Thurrock, cllr Charlie Curtis to Purfleet to unveil a plaque that commemorates the fact that Rev John Newton composed Amazing Grace whilst living in Purfleet-on-Thames.
Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction but his life’s path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences that were often put into motion by his “insubordination”.
He was pressed into the Royal Navy and became a sailor, eventually participating in the slave trade. One night a terrible storm battered his vessel so severely that he became frightened enough to call out to God for mercy, a moment that marked the beginning of his spiritual conversion. His career in slave trading lasted a few years more until he quit going to sea altogether and began studying theology.