Downes, Sarah (nee Pruden) (1818-1899)

Transcription of Obituary In the Primitive Methodist Magazine

The Eaton Society in the Wrockwardine Wood Circuit has suffered a heavy loss in the death of Mrs. Sarah Downes, wife of Mr. John Downes, local preacher, who for over fifty years was a devout and consistent member of the Church.  Her death occurred on July 17th, 1899, and she was interred in the Primitive Methodist Cemetery, Edgmond, the service being conducted by Revs. T. Sowerby and R. Wycherley. An appropriate and sympathetic address was given by her friend, Rev. Dr. Ferguson. Mrs. Downes was born at Edgmond in 1818. Her parents attended the Episcopal Church of England, but her father, in the early days, heard our missionaries and decided for Christ and became an earnest Primitive Methodist. Mrs. Downes accompanied her father, and heard the Word, but did not accept  Christ as her Saviour until two of her had been called away by death, Her heart followed her dear ones, and she soon found the Lord as her Shepherd. Her conversion was real, her children and all who came into contact with her bearing testimony as to the genuineness of her life and faith in God.

For nearly sixty years her house has been the home of the ministers of our Church. John Petty, Prosser, Tillotson, Dr. Ferguson, and a host of younger ministers, found generous hospitality beneath her roof. It was her joy to minister to the necessities of the servants of God, and many will never forget the counsel and kind words of our departed sister and her dear husband.

Dr. Ferguson says: “The fortnightly visit of the ‘Round Preachers’ was a time of joyous expectation and happy re-union.”

Mrs. Downes was a loyal member of our Church, contributing not a little to the strengthening of our Society at Eaton. The interests of the Connexion were dear to her. To the last she eagerly read the reports of our work, and it was her chief joy to hear of conversions to God. The work of our Orphan Home and Rev. T. Jackson, and of Dr. Barnado, was a work in which she took keen interest, never failing to give that generous help which told of the place such service has in her heart. One of her last acts was to prepare a box of clothing, to be sent after her death, for the “poor children.” Many of her neighbours also speak of her quiet charity, which helped to lighten their suffering and need. Our missionary cause also suffers by her death. Her box was always one of the largest handed in during the missionary services. To help the cause of Christ in this way was a real joy to her. Often when suffering keenly from affliction she was restless to be about the “Master’s business.” The last few days of her life were days of weary pain and suffering borne with much patience and yet longing to be with Christ. Her end was peace. Her husband and family, all of whom are held in high esteem in the Circuit and neighbourhood, have received many expressions of sympathy and assurances that “all is well.”


Sarah married John Downes (1820-1901), a miller, on 8 February 1841 at Edgmond, Shropshire. Census returns identify ten children.

  • Elizabeth (b1842)
  • William (b1845) – a coal merchant’s clerk (1881)
  • Joseph (1850-1933) – an engine fitter (1881)
  • George (b1851) – a steam tug engineer (1891)
  • Robert (1853-1862)
  • Alfred (1856-1913) – a miller (1881); a stationer (1911)
  • Sarah Ann (1858-1932) – married William Edmund Andrews, a domestic gardener, in 1886; emigrated to Canada in 1921
  • Selina (1860-1912) – a housekeeper (1911)
  • Josiah Ebenezer (1863-1937) – a carpenter (1881); a flour miller (1911)
  • Eliza (1866-1954) – married John George Hamlet, a schoolmaster, in 1902


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1901/710

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • Thanks for posting this on the internet. We have only discovered Josiah Ebenezer Downes in the last month or so, he is my great grandfather father and we now know more about the Downes family. Do you have any further information regarding John Downes? If so, could you please share it with us

    By stevedownes (26/02/2017)

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