Primitive Methodist Women A-B

Primitive Methodist Women A – B

A – B | C – G | H – M | N – S | T – W

The references relating to the entries are NOT included. The full list can be accessed in the book Chosen by God: A list of the Female Travelling Preachers of Early Primitive Methodism [Graham, E. Dorothy (2nd enlarged ed., 2010)] available from Wesley Historical Publications (WHS), 22 Broadway Road, Evesham, WR11 1BG England (e-mail:, price £6.00 + p&p.

ALLEN, Elizabeth (1803-50)

Born at Kirkoswald, Cumberland, daughter of John and Mary Allen, Elizabeth was brought to God in her early days and joined the PMs when they visited the town. She quickly took part in services, being especially helpful with new converts. A talent for public speaking made her greatly in demand for public worship. This led to opposition (not specified), but she persisted and became a local preacher around the age of 21 and then taken out as a travelling preacher by the Hull circuit in 1825. She itinerated until 1835, including missions to Scotland and Ireland. Elizabeth often preached in the open air because of large crowds attracted by the novelty of a woman preacher. She was allowed by the Irish Presbyterian Church to speak in the Session House and also spoke in the Linen Hall in Bainbridge. While stationed in the Macclesfield circuit in 1835 she married John Vernon, who was a leader in that circuit. She continued as a local preacher and as a special preacher. Taken ill on 2nd January 1850 she died on Tuesday, 8th January, leaving a husband and two children.

1825 Hull
1826 Hull (half) Louth (half)
1827 Louth (half) Grimsby (half)
1828 Hull
1829 Hull (half) Pocklington (half)
1830 Preston Brook (2 years)
1832 Tunstall (2 years)
1834 Macclesfield

PM Mag. (1850) pp. 258-259

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The PM Circuit Plan for the Home Branch of the Hull Circuit 1827 (April-July) lists Mary under the Stations of the Preachers as serving in Bridlington. Accounts in the Contingent Fund in the PM Minutes record payments to the Lincoln circuit because of her illness and also of her doctor’s bill in November 1828, so it seems likely that ill health caused her retirement from the itinerancy.

1823 Tunstall
1824 Louth (2 years)
1826 Hull (2 years)
1828 Lincoln (half) Grimsby (half)

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Pledged by the Aylesbury Circuit in 1841. She opened the chapel at Wing in 1842.

1841 Andover

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ANSDALE, Jane (1801?-?)

She worked tirelessly in the Hull circuit, in Weardale and the North-East of England. Jane married William Suddards (c. 1823), a fellow travelling preacher. They may have had two children before they went to America, William retired from the itinerancy for financial reasons and they emigrated to the United States of America (c. 1829), where Jane continued to preach. They lived in New York, then in Philadelphia where William joined the Methodist Episcopal Church and became rector of Grace Episcopal Church and a Doctor of Divinity.

PM Mag. (1821) pp. 141, 201

N.B. E(dward) Barras, a PM itinerant, who went as a missionary to Canada via America, had a letter of introduction to William Suddards in Philadelphia (1853), illustrating how Primitive Methodism used connections to further the work. (PM Mag. (1853) p. 505.

1821 Hull
1823 Hull [as (Mrs) Jane Suddards]

PM Mag. (1850) pp. 258-259

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ARCHER, Matilda (1815-1851)

She was born in London (1815), the daughter of James and Matilda, but they moved to Birmingham while Matilda was still young. She was brought up in a religious household, which enjoyed family worship. When old enough she was sent to Sunday school (denomination unspecified), coming under the influence of “a pious teacher”. Converted at the age of 14 she joined the WM Church, becoming a Sunday school teacher. However, in 1834 she joined the PMs after being persuaded to hear them. She was appointed a teacher and prayer-leader (1834/5). She became a local preacher (1835/6), then a travelling preacher (1836/7), being pledged by the Darlaston Circuit (1837). On 25th December 1841 she married Edward Corbett at St George’s Church, Birmingham and continued for nine years as a local preacher, living and working in Wednesbury. She also preached in the Darlaston and Birmingham circuits. In the winter of 1850, while travelling to a preaching appointment, she caught a cold, which affected her lungs, and she died on 3rd August 1851.

1837 Darlaston (half) Kidderminster (half) 1838 Burland
1839 Ludlow (2 years)
1841 Ramsor

PM Mag. (1851) pp. 643-645

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Little is known of her, unless she is Mrs Ann Blackburn (q.v.)

1820 Hull
1821 Pocklington

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AYCLIFFE, Jane (1815-37)

Born at Rowde, Wiltshire, of a farming family, Jane went out of curiosity to hear the PMs when they visited Ramsbury, and was converted a few days later. She joined them on New Year’s Day 1831 and was noted for her faith and powerful singing voice. When the family moved away she became apprenticed to a dressmaker so that she could stay near the chapel. In 1835 the family emigrated to United States of America, but she remained behind in Ramsbury, having been befriended by “a young woman of society”. Jane became a local preacher (1835/6), then a travelling preacher in June 1836, being pledged by Mitcheldever Circuit in 1837. However, within a few months she caught a violent cold and went to stay with her brother in Hungerford, where she died on Wednesday 29th November 1837. Her funeral was held on Tuesday 2nd December and a memorial service on the following Sunday.

1837 Mitcheldever

PM Mag. (1838) pp 413-16

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AYRE, Jane (?-1838)

A travelling preacher before the first Stations of the Preachers were issued she married William Holliday, a joiner, on 22nd February 1817 at Fulford. They worked separately as missionaries in Dales of northern England in contiguous circuits. Both are listed on the PM Preachers Plan of the Home Branch of the Hull Circuit 1827 (April-July) under the Stations of the Preachers as serving in Barnard Castle. They settled in Hull (1828) and became class leaders and local preachers. During the Hull cholera epidemic (1832) she visited the ill and needy assiduously. She died on 9th July 1838 and was buried in Hull General Cemetery. In 1845 William married Mrs Ranson and died in 1863.

1825 Burland
1826 Prees
1827 Preston

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BALL, Mary (1810-60)

She was born at Belper, Derbyshire on 11th April 1810. Being converted at around the age of 10 Mary became a PM member. She taught in the Sunday school and was put on the plan as a local preacher at the age of 15. The Belper Circuit took her out as a travelling preacher (1832) and she worked in her home circuit for 22 months before going on the stations. She gave up travelling, and, on 3rd August 1837 married, a tailor, Mr Thomas Edward Barkworth (born c. 1815; baptised on 1st November 1816 at Tetney) of Grimsby, son of Caleb and Susanna Barkworth, at Hatcliffe, Lincolnshire. They had four children. Mary continued to serve as a local preacher and class leader. In June 1859 she underwent a mastectomy, but after much suffering died on 11th February 1860. The 1881 census lists a wife, Mary, aged 59, born at Kirk Hammerton, so presumably Thomas remarried.

1834 Louth (half); Grimsby (half)
1835 Grimsby
1836 Whitby
1837 Louth

PM Mag. 1860 pp. 329-331

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BARBER, Suzannah (1776-1851)

[Suzannah Barber may be the married name of S. Perry (q.v.).]
Born in Nottingham (1776) and converted at age of 18 Suzannah became a WM member, but joined the PMs when they visited Nottingham and soon became a local preacher and then a travelling preacher. She faced much opposition and persecution, being imprisoned at Huddersfield (16th July 1820). When in the Bradwell circuit she married Mr J. Barber and settled at Waterside, New Mills circuit, reverting to local preacher status. Her husband died in 1834 and she herself on 26th June 1851.

(according to her Obituary)
Newark, Barnsley, Huddersfield, Sheffield, Bradwell.

PM Mag. (1851) pp. 641-42

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Little is known of her except that possibly she was a widow, with a son, because circuit accounts record payments for a boy.

1831 South Shields

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BELL, Eliza (?)

[The Scotter plan for 1821 has ‘Eliza’ printed, but it has been crossed out and ‘Elig(z)’ written in.]

1821 Scotter

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BLACKBURN, Ann (1797-1827)

[Ann Blackburn may be the married name of Ann Armstrong (q.v.)]
Born at Flintham, near Newark (Notts) in 1729 Ann was converted in May 1820 and became a travelling preacher the same year. She married Joseph Blackburn of Denby-Dike in the parish of Penistone and county of York on 2nd February 1822. She continued as a local preacher for five years and died on 12th August 1827.

1820 Lincoln (11 weeks); Barnsley (20th August)

PM Mag. (1829) pp. 42-6

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BRAIZNAL, Suzannah

This is one of a number of women who were named as preaching/taking services frequently but, for whom it has not yet been possible to identify any further information with accuracy. If you have any such information please forward, with references to Contact and this can be added to help complete the picture.

1823 Burland

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BROWN, Elenor (Eleanor ) (1814-?)

Elenor was pledged by Sheerness Circuit in 1839, becoming a travelling preacher in 1840. She possibly worked in London, while stationed in the Hull circuit, as the PM Minutes, (1834) record her removal expenses from London to Swinefleet. Local circuit records and the PM Minutes provide evidence of her ill-health while in the north of England and consequent removal south to Newbury, Berkshire (1847). Apparently in 1849 she went to Australia, but, although the 1849 Conference gave her a grant of Five Pounds, it is not clear whether it was because she had become a supernumerary or was going as a missionary. There is no record of her on the missionary stations.

1839 Driffield (2 years)
1841 Hull (1841)
1842 Swinefleet (2 years)
1844 Pickering
1845 Barnard Castle
1846 Durham
1847 Newbury (3 years)

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BROWN, Sarah (1812-79)

Born at Hunmanby, Yorkshire, on 17th April 1812, into a WM family, Sarah was one of the first converts when the PMs visited the East Riding of Yorkshire. She became a local preacher at 17 (1829), then a travelling preacher (1833/4) and was pledged by the Hull circuit (1834). Married Christopher Firbank, a coal miner, in January 1835 and reverted to local preacher status in the Darlington circuit. She was in special demand for Chapel and Sunday-school Anniversaries. Sarah preached until a year before her death, when she became very ill. After much suffering she died on the 20th August 1879, leaving her husband and nine children.

1834 Hull

PM.Mag. 1881 p. 631

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Her father was a small farmer and innkeeper who kept a public house at Gorsty Hill, half a mile from Englesea Brook. The parents, described as respectable and moral, attended Englesea Brook chapel when it opened. Around 1818 there was a revival at Englesea Brook and Ann, her sister, Sarah, and brother, Thomas – ‘the boy preacher’- were converted. Ann was one of earliest of the female itinerants. Hugh Bourne makes a number of references to her usefulness as a missionary. Most her work was done before the Stations were commenced. She married Charles John Abraham of Burslem, a druggist, on 5th June 1821 at St. John, Burslem, and reverted to local preacher status. A son, Charles, was christened on 1st March 1827 at St. John, Burslem.

Journal: PM Mag. (1819/20) pp. 233, 236, 255-57; (1821) p. 19

1821 Tunstall

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BUCK, Mary Clarissa (1810-76)

Mary was born at Newbold, Leicestershire, on 5th January 1810 of poor, but honest industrious and moral parents, who opened their home to the PMs when they first visited Coleorton, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire circuit. Although having little formal education she made great efforts to “improve herself”. She was converted on Easter Monday, 1830 at the Annual Lovefeast and Watch-meeting at Griffydam WM chapel. Mary joined the PM society at Coleorton and soon became an exhorter (March, 1831), then a local preacher. In 1835 she was engaged as a hired local preacher in the Northampton mission of the Burland circuit. Then, pledged by the Burland circuit, she became a travelling preacher in 1836. She resigned in 1847 because she felt the strain of the itinerancy was undermining her health and also that her real ‘calling’ was to take special services and anniversaries throughout the Connexion and settled in Leicester. For next 25 years she was a ‘special preacher’ travelling hundreds of miles to take services. [As an example, the 1856 PM Mag. notes that she preached, often twice, at Lincoln, Barnwell, (Cambs), Ludlow, Leeds, Colne, Hereford, Scotter, Skelmanthorpe (Barnsley circuit), Yoxford, (Wangford Circuit), Burnley and Pontepool.] It was reported that at times her sermons were too long! 1866 Conference granted her an annuity of 20 pounds. She suffered a stroke (1872), losing the use of one side of her body. She died on Wednesday, 19th July 1876 and was buried in Leicester cemetery on the 22nd [in an unmarked grave in the Non-conformist part of the cemetery].

1836 Burland (2 years)
1838 Kidderminster
1839 Wrockwardine Wood
1840 Darlaston
1841 Burland (5 years)
1846 Leicester

PM Mag. 1877 pp.110-14

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Mary was pledged by Witney Circuit (1836), but apparently had been working as a travelling preacher since 1833. According to Micheldever circuit records she ‘removed to Shaftesbury’ in 1845, so did she marry and revert to local preacher status or to that of a hired local preacher?

1833 Stroud
1834 Witney (3 years)
1837 Farringdon (sic) (2 years)
1839 Farringdon (half), Banbury (half) (2 years)
1841 Farringdon (2 years)
1843 Micheldever (2 years)

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BULTITUDE, Elizabeth (1809-90)

Elizabeth was born at Hardwick, Norfolk on 12th August 1809 into a WM family. The family was very poor, so she had no formal education. Her father died when she was 13 and the family moved to Norwich, where they lived at starvation level. The PMs held a camp meeting on Mousehold Heath (14th May, 1826), when Elizabeth was converted. She did not actually join the PMs until 1829, but then very soon received a note to preach (20th December 1830), and the following March she was put on the circuit plan as an exhorter. In June she became a local preacher “on trial”, and by June 1832 she was a travelling preacher. Pledged by Norwich circuit (1833) she worked mainly in East Anglia. Described in later years as having a “large round rubicund face in a poke bonnet”, using “ejaculatory prayers with many and fervent repetitions”, and not allowing “any man to speak to her in chapel in her own pew: she would request him to go into the next seat.” On superannuation in 1862 she settled in Norwich, where she continued to preach and attend her class. The PM Minutes from 1863 record in the accounts of the Charitable/Benevolent/Beneficent Fund a payment, presumably in the form of an annuity to Elizabeth Bultitude. After a long and painful illness, she died at her own home in Adelaide Street, Norwich, on 14th August 1890. A memorial service was held at Queen’s Road chapel on 7th September. The last of the PM female travelling preachers Elizabeth itinerated for the longest time and is the only female travelling preacher to have an obituary in the PM Minutes of Conference.

1833 Mattishall
1834 Lynn (2 years)
1836 North Walsham (2 years)
1838 Soham and Watton (2 years)
1840 Wisbech
1841 Fakenham
1842 Peterborough (2 years)
1844 Aylesham (half) North Walsham (half)
1845 North Walsham (2 years)
1847 Soham (2 years)
1849 Fakenham
1850 Upwell (3 years)
1853 Hinckley (2 years)
1855 Aylesbury (2 years)
1857 Wallingford
1858 Malborough (2 years)
1860 Farringdon (sic) (2 years)
1862-1890 Norwich (supernumerary)

PM Mins. (1891) pp. 10-12; PM Mag. (1891) pp. 564-565

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BURKS (BUIRKS), Mary (1796-1837)

Mary was born on 2nd February 1796 into a poor, but industrious family. The eldest of four children, she often attended an Independent chapel with her mother. She was converted and joined the PMs in 1818, soon becoming a local preacher and going on to be a travelling preacher in 1822. It was said that because of her tall stature (apparently over six foot), her powerful voice and forceful personality she was a very impressive figure. Local records and the PM Minutes indicate that, by 1834, Mary was far from well and indeed she retired from the active itinerancy in 1836, returning to East Stockwith, Lincolnshire, where she lived with her father. Here she acted as a class leader and took services as a local preacher wherever her health permitted. She was reported to have petitioned the Hull Quarterly Meeting (1828) to buy her an ass to ride to her appointments! Mary died on 22nd January 1837.

1822 Scotter
1823 Lincoln (3 years)
1826 Grimsby (half) Hull (half)
1827 Hull (2 years)
1829 Lincoln (half) Hull (half)
1830 Louth
1831 Louth (quarter) Malton (three quarters)
1832 Malton
1833 York
1834 Hull (2 years)

PM Mag. (1837) p. 451f.

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Nothing further is known, except that she was pledged by Louth Circuit (1834) and her removal expenses to Bolton amounted to 10s. 8d.

1834 Bolton

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BUTTERY, Fanny (1823-?)

Nothing is known, except that she was pledged by Wrockwardine Wood Circuit (1842), and had to retire through ill health after travelling for three years.

1842 Newtown and Welshpool
1843 Wrockwardine Wood

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