North Shields - Primitive Methodists (1822)

At South Shields also, a large room, nearly thirty yards long, was taken by the society, which Mr Clowes opened for Divine worship on Sunday, October, 20th, 1822. It was crowded to excess; the congregation was deeply moved; and despite some disturbance, created by the curiosity of certain persons, two souls found peace through believing. Temple Town, Jarrow, Pallion, Hylton, Monk Wearmouth, and many other places South of the Tyne, were likewise visited with great effect; and Percy Main, Howden Pans, William Pit, Benton Square, and many other places North of the Tyne, besides Newcastle and North Shields, were visited by the missionaries, and favoured with showers of blessing. The societies newly formed in this mission were early taught the duty of liberally supporting the cause which they had espoused, and almost from the first became self-sustained. The societies north of the Tyne, including Newcastle and North Shields, were made into a separate circuit containing 335 members, before the Conference of 1823, and had three travelling preachers stationed to it by that Conference.

A blessed work of grace was carried on among the pitmen, and a striking reformation was apparent in their conduct. The effects produced by the labours of the missionaries in this district, are thus described by Mr W. Lister, an influential minister, himself the fruit of their preaching, “When the Primitive Methodist missionaries first visited Newcastle, North Shields, and the places in the immediate neighbourhood, the cause of true religion was in a languid state among Christians generally, and wickedness was rampant among multitudes of the inhabitants, especially among the pit-men and keel-men near the banks of the Tyne. These two classes of men were then proverbial for drunkenness and its attendant vices. Large numbers of them used frequently to assemble on Newcastle Town Moor and at other places, to engage in bowling matches, foot-races, cock-fighting, pugilistic contests, and other vicious practices. But the preaching of the earnest and zealous missionaries among them was attended with uncommon power and resulted in the most blessed effects. Many of the strongholds of vice were shaken; an extensive revival of religion took place, and hundreds of the most profligate were converted to God. Scores of youths, too, who were beginning to run in the same vicious courses as many of their seniors, were happily rescued from their evil practices and induced to consecrate the morning of their day of life to the service of their God and Saviour. Deep emotions, loud responses, and sometimes faintings and convulsions, attended the preaching, and other religious services among the pitmen. Not unfrequently persons were so powerfully wrought upon that they could not stand, but fell to the ground, or fainted on their seats. But the genuineness of the work was proved by its fruits. A general reformation of manners was witnessed. Sobriety, industry, and peaceable behaviour, took the place of drunkenness, indolence, and brawls and contentions. Masters of collieries could not but observe the change. One of them said, when applied to for aid towards the erection of a chapel, "O, yes, I will help you, for your preachers have done so much good amongst our men, that we have much less to subscribe for policemen, and for trials for misconduct."

From, ‘The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion from its origin, by John Petty, 1860, p145

Additional Information

Location unknown. It seems to have been generally in the area of North and South Shields.

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