Denham, Francis (1821-1876)
Francis Denham was born at South Side, in the County of Durham, in the former part of the year of our Lord 1821, and died at the same place , April 15, 1876. He lived as do the generality of boys until he was fourteen years of age, at which time a revival of the work of God broke out in the neighbourhood in which he lived, when he amongst several youths was brought to the saving knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus Christ, and for some time lived in the enjoyment of saving grace. But having to leave his home, and the presence, example, and influence of his praying mother he was drawn aside from the good way. After he got married his mind again became seriously impressed, and he sought earnestly the mercy of God in Christ and found it. He at once united with the people of God, regularly attended the means of grace, erected a family alter, and showed by a consistent deportment the genuineness of the change wrought in his heart by divine grace.
After some time the officials of the church saw in him elements of usefulness, and appointed him to the offices of class leader and local preacher, and those offices he sustained with honour and success until the day of his death. He was very punctual in attending to his appointments. Neither weather nor distance could prevent him from being at his post; when duty called he obeyed. He was thoroughly loyal to the Connexion and to its laws and constitution, and was always ready to assist in carrying out its discipline. For this he sometimes incurred the ill-will of those who were not so upright and loyal as himself, but he feared no frowns and courted no smiles, but stood firm in his integrity and in doing what he felt in his conscience to be right. Through life he enjoyed a fair share of health, until a few months before his death he was afflicted with rheumatic fever and inflammation, during which affliction he had a hard fight for life, but at length he seemed to pass through the crisis and began to rally, and to all appearances he was regaining his wonted health, until the morning of April 15, when he arose as usual, made a hearty breakfast, and sat down to write. He was suddenly seized with a fit, and in a short time with a second, and then he was taken home to God.
His brother John, who is a respectable local preacher of long standing amongst us, visited him during his affliction, to whom he said how glad he was that he had got religion and enjoyed its comforting influence and its sustaining power. His end, though sudden, was triumphant. In his death the St Helens Auckland Station has lost a useful official, the church at South Side one of its best members, his widow, son, and daughter their best earthly friend. But our loss is his gain.
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1877/744
Francis worked as a shoemaker. He married Margaret Brownbridge (1815-1902) in 1843. They had three children, one of whom died in 1869. See also John Denham, his brother, for further family background.