Ritson, Elizabeth (nee Edgar) (1843-1909)

Transcription of Obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by G.J.S.

Mrs. Elizabeth Ritson was born at Coanwood, August 5th, 1843, and died at Ninebanks, on February 20th, 1909. The whole of her married life was spent in that picturesque corner of Northumbria, known as West Allen. Converted in her teens she enjoyed through all the subsequent years the assurance of being “accepted in the Beloved.” Immediately she became a Christian worker. The Church at Coanwood met in a cottage,and she led the singing. In 1863 she was married to John Ritson, of Ninebanks, and here for forty-six years she rendered most devoted service to Primitive Methodism and the cause of Christ. Her home was-ever open to the preachers. She used to await the arrival of the ministers with supreme interest—she was loth to see them depart. She gave them of her best.

The little wayside chapel nestling in the dale at Corry Hill was to her what it would have been to Bunyan—“a palace beautiful.” She loved it very much. Whoever might be absent from its means of grace she never, if able to attend. Starting in good time she enjoyed the best part of a quarter of an hour in silent meditation waiting for the hour of worship to strike. Her ear was attuned to the Word: “Our feet are standing within thy gates,O Jerusalem.” All the interests of the little Sanctuary were dear to her. Many of its fixtures were due to her solicitude. She laboured to keep its finances in good condition. She secured preachers for its anniversaries. She smoothed the creases out of every difficulty that arose. She exemplified the truth, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.”

In the religious life she was “far ben”; no outer court sufficed her; she talked with her Master face to face. She had a joyous confidence in God. She loved the spoken Word, on the written Word she fastened tenaciously. Indeed she was never out of the New Testament. Recently she read and re-read Baxter’s “Saints’ Rest,” and only laid down the volume when she entered that blissful state. Once in her last illness her face became illuminated, and she exclaimed, “Open the gates as high as the sky!”

She was laid to rest at High House, on February 23rd. Rev. E. Mortimer conducted the service, and an address was given by Mr. John James Allison, who had known her for over forty-five years.


Elizabeth was born on 5 August 1843 at Coanwood, Northumberland, to parents John, a farmer, and Barbara.

She married John Ritson (1838-1890), a carpenter, on 26 August 1863 at Haltwhistle, Northumberland. Census returns identify three children.

  • Anna Eliza (1865-1938)                       
  • William Edward (1867-1936) – a joiner & cartwright (1911)
  • Mary Jane (1870-1949)

Elizabeth died on 20 February 1909 at Ninebanks, West Allen, Northumberland.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1909/488

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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