William Sanderson

Photo:Primitive Methodist Magazine

Primitive Methodist Magazine

Englesea Brook Museum ENBM1990.21.42b


By Geoff Dickinson

Early Years

William was born at Harswell, Yorkshire, on 2 February 1803.

William was apprenticed to a thriftless tailer and draper who also kept a public house. He was converted in 1820. Kendall writes; ‘ He attended a camp meeting in the Gravel Pits at Market Weighton in the summer of 1819, and in February, 1820, he found salvation in the Warter Wesleyan Chapel, where, at that time, our people worshipped.’


William made his first attempt to preach at Pocklington. It proved an inglorious effort. He wrote; ’As soon as I opened my mouth I shut me eyes, and when I opened my eyes I shut my mouth.’ Yet this nervous youth became one of the most distinguished PM preachers of his day. He is remembered as the ‘Silver-tongued Orator’. He was known to deliver a ‘glister’ – a bright or scintillating sermon, which was an incidental tribute to the piercing insight which held audiences spellbound.


William married Mary Charles Shaw (1802-1882) on 28 December 1826 at St Swithin, Lincoln. Census returns identify six children.

  • Mary Ann (1829-1912) – married Joseph Toulson, a PM Minister
  • Rebecca (1833-1917) - married Ephraim Talbot, a PM Minister
  • Flesher (b1835)
  • Sarah (b1837)
  • Moses (1838)
  • Lucy Hannah (1841-1841)

William died on 13 April 1874 at Kirton Lindsay, Lincolnshire.


  • 1822 Brotherton
  • 1825 Malton
  • 1827 Hull
  • 1834 Bradford
  • 1835 Scotter
  • 1839 Halifax
  • 1841 Hull
  • 1845 Scotter
  • 1848 Doncaster
  • 1850 Epworth
  • 1851 Gainsborough
  • 1852 Scotter
  • 1854 Scotter (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1823, p.69; 1840, frontispiece; 1874, p.683; 1894, p.851; 1899, p.350; 1913, p.534

PM Minutes 1874, p.10

B A Barber, A Methodist Pageant, 1932, p.125

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 1, p.400

Joseph Ritson, The Romance of Primitive Methodism , 1909, p237-9

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

This page was added by Jill Barber on 08/07/2012.

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