Sunday, October 30, 2005


Hugh Bourne's first funeral sermon

Hugh Bourne is, in effect, the "John Wesley" of the Primitive Methodists. Not alone, but as part of a team including William Clowes, though it is convenient to highlight Hugh Bourne.

The North Staffordshire hamlet of Ramsor (Ramshorn in official documents) was very important in Primitive Methodist history. (See our section in ) One incident narrated by Hugh Bourne is of special interest to my family. My Gt. gt. grandfather, Thomas Warrington, was born in Ramsor in 1822. Elizabeth Warrington, born in 1790, his aunt, died in 1810, a few months after Hugh Bourne led her to faith in Christ.

This extract from Hugh Bourne's article in the November 1824 edition of The Primitive Methodist Magazine tells the story.

[page numbers 245-248]


M A G A Z I N E,


Of a present Salvation

Mr. WESLEY was very zealous to promote the doctrine of a free, full and present salvation through and by faith. He laboured through a long course of years to establish it, both by preaching and writing.

When our connexion was in its infancy, we were very diligent to establish the same doctrine. We taught publicly, and from house to house ; and we carried this doctrine in all, and through all. Indeed the welfare of the connexion depended upon it; when it was promoted, the work rose; but when it was not promoted, the work declined.

Some of us were so fully acquainted with the nature of a free, full, and present salvation, that we many times succeeded in bringing persons into a state of repentance, while in conversation with them; and seeking souls were brought into liberty, either in conversation, or in praying, as circumstances suited.

Our family visits were often of great service: for [246 Anecdote Of a present Salvation] through our so intensely studying the nature of a full and present salvation, we grew into a habit of constantly waiting on the Lord, while conversing with the people. By this means we usually got into an exercise of faith, the unction from the Holy One attended the words ; and believers were greatly edified; their experience was enlarged, and they were built up in their most holy faith.

Those in a family who knew religion, joined with us in waiting on the Lord : faith united, and the experience came upon Matt. xviii. 19, "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” On such occasions, the scriptures beautifully opened, mourning souls were comforted, believers edified, and the whole family affected. These seasons were precious.

I shall now relate, by way of anecdote, a circumstance which took place on one of these occasions. It was on the 23rd of March, 1810, I was then at Ramsor ; and came, in the course of visiting, to the house of our very respected friend, Joseph Buxton, a farmer in that neighbourhood. He happened not to be in the house, but our sister Buxton was devoted to the Lord, and knew the mystery of faith; and so also did their daughter Dorothy.

There came in a young woman, who had just left her place in a farmer's service, on account of being unwell. Her name was Elizabeth Warrington; her parents lived in the same neighbourhood, and our sister Buxton was her aunt,

As we were waiting on the Lord, and as faith was in exercise, I began, in an agreeable manner, to speak to the young woman, and discoursed with her about turning to the Lord: observing that though her illness did not appear to be dangerous, yet she might go off; and if she should recover, still it would be best to turn unto the Lord. The word had effect; her heart was touched, and she expressed a willingness and desire to turn unto the Lord.

[Anecdote Of a present Salvation. 247] In the next place, I spoke at large, of all having sinned and come short of the glory of God; observing that she among the rest, had sinned, and had need of mercy. The power of the Lord was present, and while I was laying open these things, repentance was wrought in her heart, by the word and Spirit of God; and she acknowledged herself a sinner, who had need of mercy and pardon.

I then asked if she could give up all for Jesus Christ; if she could give up the world with its pleasures and prospects. While I was enlarging on these things, the word had effect on her mind, and she believed, or was concious that she could give up all for the Lord.

I next informed her tht she might as well find the Lord then as wait till a future time; that all things were then ready; and Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more. I then discoursed of his power to save at that very moment: and, while opening the scriptures, faith increased, grace descended, the Lord set her soul at liberty, and we were all edified.

I was very thankful to Almighty God for this manifestation of his mercy and goodness in Christ Jesus. But happening shortly after, to mention the circumstance to a religious friend, who was then unacquainted with the nature of a full and present salvation, he gave it as his opinion that it could not be, and argued much against a person being brought to the Lord in so short a time.

I might have considered that the Lord was able to do this; and should have had a satisfactory proof in the case of the malefactor on the cross. I might too, have remembered that such things do not depend on length of time, but on faith in the Lord; and, "That one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day:" and that when the Phillippian jailor was awakened, (Acts xvi) he was the same hour enabled to rejoice, believing in God with all his house. But with me this happened to be a time of weakness; I was [248 Anecdote Of a present Salvation] influenced by the conversation, sunk into unbelief, and gave up the thankfulness I had felt to Almighty God, for this token of his power and goodness.

The young woman's illness so increased, that in a short time she was mostly confined to her father's house. Many visited her, and she grew rapidly in grace. The last time but one that I saw her, was Monday, November 19, 1810; and I find this obervation in my Journal, "Such a growth in grace, in so short a time, I have seldom witnessed."

The last time I visited her was on Friday, November 23, 1810. And in my journal I find this remark. "She is now a woman of high grace."

On this occasion, I enquired at large of her experience: and she gave me a historical account of her life, and her whole experience. She observed that she once lived in a farmer's service, where there where preachings in the house: and, under these, she was often affected, had many good desires, and much seriousness, but did not fully close in with the offers of salvation. After this, living in places where she could not attend the means of grace, her good desires worn off, and she neglected her salvation, until the time I first spoke to her at her uncle Buxton's, and that then the Lord set her soul at liberty. And, to my no small surprise, she informed me that she never lost her confidence in the Lord from that time.

In hearing these things from her almost dying lips, I was fully convinced of my weakness and error, in sinking down into unbelief respecting what the Lord had wrought for her and in her, at that time.

In a few days after this interview, she died in the Lord. I preached her funeral sermon, the first I ever preached; and her experience and happy death had a great effect on the neighbourhood. Indeed it was allowed of all that she was a burning and shining light.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Camp Meeting 200 Anniversary

To comemmorate the 200th anniversary of the first Camp Meeting of 31 May 1807, some of us are planning a walk from Mow Cop to Ramsor. This is a route which Hugh Bourne may have walked from time to time between preaching appointments.

We hope to include services at the start and finish, as well as part way. This would reflect one of hugh Bourne's Sundays. But we will not start quite as early. he would perhaps have started at 6a.m.

Anyone wishing to remember the start of Primitive Methodism is welcome to join with us for as much or as little of the walk as you choose.

Since 31 May 2007 is a Thursday, we think that doing our walk on that day will avoid clashing with any weekend celebrations.

The details are to be finalised nearer the time. First guess at start time is 8 a.m. at Mow Cop, and hoping to finish about 7 or 8 p.m. at Ramsor.

It would be nice if we can produce a hymn book with some of the early Camp Meeting songs and a selection from the first Primitive Methodist Hymn Book, to use on this day.

Watch out for further details nearer the time, and spring 2007 we will include contact information if you want to get in touch.

For those seeing this post who don't know about Ramsor or Mow Cop or Camp Meetings, there is some information on and and books on Hugh Bourne and Primitive Methodism at


Blog newly created


The idea is to provide somewhere where I can post notes about what I am doing with my website which was set up to provide a record of some aspects of Methodist history.

Rather than wait until I have pages to upload, this will allow me to report any new material in the pipeline. It will also allow me space if I wish to post comments on things that are happening around the world if they relate to this web site.

Rewlach Methodist History website

The original idea behind this web site was to preserve some of the things which were being lost as Chapels close. In particular, a memorial to someone who was significant in Methodism in the last half of the 19th century. When Rewlach Chapel closed in 1998, the memorial was recovered and stored at the farm of one of his descendents. At least it was not broken up or cemented over as many have been.

Then the books started coming. I was lent one important history, published 1853, about Methodism in the Leek Circuit. I have been able to borrow, buy, or in some cases been given, other 19th century publications. When time permits, these get copied in a suitable form and uploaded to the web site. Unfortunately, I have not managed to upload many recently. One of the last items was the text of a lecture by Rev. David Leese at a Wesley Historical Society meeting, kindly supplied by the author.

I have enough books at hand to increase the library between 3 and 10 times by word count. Perhaps this winter i shall find time to copy and upload some of them.

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