Pickering, Martha (nee Atkinson) (abt1837-1899)

Transcription of Obituary In the Primitive Methodist Magazine by J.F. Sherman

OUR Tatham Street Church has sustained a heavy loss in the death of Mrs. Pickering, the beloved helpmeet of Mr. R. Pickering, the esteemed circuit steward of Sunderland Second Circuit. He is left to mourn the loss of a true wife, and her children of a loving mother.

She passed peacefully away to be with Christ on Sunday evening, March 27th. Early in life she gave herself to Jesus, and has loved Him and served Him gladly ever since. She was not a demonstrative Christian, but she was a true one, and served her Master in quiet places. Hers was not a sombre religion, but one of calm, confident joy. She was one of the foremost of the noble band of women who have served the interests of Tatham Street Church with an unsurpassed devotion. How her cheerful presence and liberal heart will be missed, we are afraid to think. How she loved the Church of her choice She lived for it; thought for it; toiled for it; prayed for it; she took pleasure in its very stones. She was the daughter of the late Rev. R. Atkinson. A daughter of the Manse, she took the keenest interest in the ministry, and in her departure the ministers have lost one of their truest friends. By every minister who has laboured on this circuit she was greatly beloved, and held in the highest respect. Friend after friend departs and so earth becomes poorer, and heaven richer.

Her beautiful spirit has gone to be with God, who gave it, and all that was mortal of her was laid to rest in Bishop Wearmouth Cemetery in the presence of a large company, who deeply mourn her loss. Revs. J.F. Sherman, G. Seaman, J. Tweddle, A.T. Guttery, R. Fenwick, and Mr. J. Trevvett took part in the funeral ceremony. Rev. R. Fenwick, who is enfeebled by advancing years, had travelled from Newcastle to show his esteem for the departed one. It brought tears to all eyes when in his prayer he recalled how he had seen her when but a girl in her teens, kneeling at the penitent form seeking Jesus.

Letters of condolence have been received by the sorrowing ones from Revs. J. Hallam, S. Horton, D. Sheen, R. Harrison, T. Butterick, B. Senior, John D. Thompson, G.E. Lloyd, J. Young, and many others; all of which bear testimony to her uniform cheerfulness, her true friendship, her unbounded hospitality, her worth to her Church, and her sweet Christian spirit.

Among the last things she did for her Church was on the last night of our recent mission, when she went into the inquiry room with a woman who was in distress on account of her sins, and lovingly pointed her to the Saviour.
“Sleep on, beloved, sleep and take thy rest;
Lay down thy head upon thy Saviour’s breast;
We loved thee well, but Jesus loved thee best:
Good night! Good night! Good night!”


Martha was born abt 1837 in Glasgow, Scotland, to parents Robert Atkinson and Elizabeth. Robert was a P.M. minister.

Martha married Robert Pickering (1836-1910) in the spring of 1865 at Sunderland, Co. Durham. Robert worked as a tailor and draper. Census returns identify three children.

  • Elizabeth Ada (b1866)
  • Robert Henry (1869-1942) – a tailor
  • Kate Lilian (1874-1950) – married Thomas Ladlay in 1920


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1901/470

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • Denise,
    Thanks for pointing out the error. I have made a correction to the page.

    By Geoff Dickinson (22/03/2023)
  • A little error in family section
    Martha’s father was Robert Atkinson not Robert Pickering. She married Robert Pickering.

    By DENISE CASSEGRAIN (21/03/2023)

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