Brewer, Henry (1849-1914)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by W.E.G.

Henry Brewer, who passed away on March 24th, 1914, was a notable figure in the religious and public life of Ryhope. Born at Cringle, Dorsetshire, he came, a mere youth, to our Ryhope Church, and rapidly rose to be its most conspicuous figure in the last forty years of his life. The ministry of the Rev. W. Gilbey was then at its height, and the Church witnessed perhaps the most remarkable revival Durham County has known. 

He filled a conspicuous place in public life. He was District Councillor from 1904 to 1910, and was re-elected in April, 1913. He was a member of the Sunderland Board of Guardians, of the Parish Council of Ryhope, of the Old Age Pensions Committee, and of the North-East Durham Education Committee, and was chairman of several other committees. A scheme for the erection of workmen’s dwellings, costing £22,000, was largely carried through by his advocacy, and at the last meeting of the Council he attended he advocated a further extension of the scheme to meet what is, locally, a house famine. 

He was a trustee and school superintendent, and class leader for some thirty-five years. He was a missionary enthusiast, and made many sacrifices to pay his annual gift of ten shillings. There is a romance behind his gifts and loyalty. He was a strong man, keen in debate, great in prayer, practical in business, and intensely devoted to all that belonged to our Church. 

He was laid to rest on Sunday, March 29th. The long procession included all classes, and it is perhaps the most notable gathering for such an occasion that has been held in Ryhope. The Rev. W.E. Goodreid preached the ‘In Memoriam ’’ service to a crowded church, whose esteem was evident.


Henry was born in late 1849 at Crendell, Dorset, to parents William Brewer and Charlotte Ann Manston.

Census returns identify the following occupations for Henry.

  • 1861 agricultural labourer
  • 1871 agricultural labourer
  • 1881 newsagent
  • 1891 newsagent
  • 1901 stationer
  • 1911 newsagent

He married Sarah Flemington (1847-1901) in the summer of 1975 in the Fordingbridge Registration District, Hampshire. Census returns identify six children.

  • Charlotte Flemington (1876-1917) – married Charles Seth Baker, a coal miner (1911), in 1898
  • Dorcas (1878-1961) – married James Bowmaker, a coal miner (1911), in 1900; married Marshall Summers, a colliery store man below ground (1939), in 1929
  • William (1880-1947) – a general labourer (1911)
  • Henry Flemington (1883-1949) – a railway locomotive stoker (1911); locomotive engine driver (1921)
  • Martin (1885-1918) – died in WW1
  • Danzy Sheen (1887-1948) – a general labourer (1911)

He married Margaret Ann Jeffrey (abt1854-1936) in early 1903 in the Sunderland Registration District, Co. Durham.

Henry died on 24 March 1914 at Ryhope, Co. Durham.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1914/575

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Note: henry was born at Crendell, Dorset, not Cringle as stated in the obituary.

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