Saul, Esther (nee Thornborrow) (1838-1864)

Transcription of obituary in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by W. Saul

Died at Cutler’s Hall, near Shotley Bridge, July 8th, 1864, aged twenty-six years, Mrs. ESTHER SAUL.

Her dear mother, who was brought to God under the ministry of the  Rev. William Fulton and who ever since has been deeply devoted to his fear, embraced every available opportunity to instruct her daughter in the things of God. The happy effects of her pious solicitude were speedily apparent in the early conversion of the dear departed, in whom the fear of God was visible in the vigour and uniformity of her character, it being her constant endeavour to be useful, and to adorn the religion she professed by the cultivation of what was excellent and praiseworthy. Her piety was at once enlightened and ardent; she had, indeed, an uncommon clearness of apprehension and accuracy ofjudgment in the things of God, and could express her views and feelings in language the most feeling and appropriate.

She was married in the year 1857, and, as a true helpmate for her husband, with all the ardour of her soul she entered into the work of God in the respective circuits where he was stationed,—a work in which it was her highest delight to spend and be spent. The affliction which removed her from the Church of Christ on earth was occasioned by her self-sacrificing perseverance in collecting for the missions. Up to January she had never suffered affliction in her person, and her complaint was of so deceitful a nature, that while her friends could not but entertain fears that its progress would not be arrested, yet hope from time to time still cheered her, by holding out the possibility of her recovery. Indeed, it was not till within a month of her dissolution that either she herself, or her friends, gave up the hope of her recovery.

In the training of the children in the ways of God, she took great pains to give them “line upon line, and precept upon precept,” as soon as they were able to understand. In the immediate prospect of leaving them, and while they were standing round her bed, she repeated what, indeed, had frequently been the subject of mutual conversation and prayer: “God knows,” she said, “that, although it seems hard for me to leave them, I do so in confidence and hope. I have never desired anything for them so much as that they might be rich in faith and holiness; the rest I leave to him who has hitherto been so exceedingly kind to us all.”

Adverting on another occasion to her husband’s absence on duty, and returning earlier than she expected, she exclaimed in accents of tearful surprise, “I am glad you have come. I wished to tell you that I have had such an assuring view of my personal interest in the Great Atonement. It’s my refuge from every fear.”

Reviewing her life, she said, on another occasion, “The Lord knows that ever since I have enjoyed his salvation, though I accuse myself of numberless faults, I have never done anything knowingly and wilfully to displease him, but have always loved him, and always had his fear in my heart.”

After a period of great physical prostration, and when to appearance no strength remained, she addressed herself to her husband as he stood beside her: “My dear, we have endeavoured to live together in the love and fear of God, and to help each other in the good way; for this purpose we were united, and for this we have lived, and have been happy, —happy together; and if departed spirits are permitted to interest themselves in behalf of those they loved on earth, how happy shall I be to watch over you and my dear children.”


Esther was born in 1838 at Thorney Gale, a farm on Stainmore, the youngest child of George and Elizabeth Thornborrow. George farmed 134 acres. She was baptised in Stainmore on 16 September 1838.

Esther married William Saul, a P.M. Minister, on 12 July 1857 in Brough under Stainmore, Westmorland. William was the P.M. Minister in Brough.  They had four children.

  • Norman Paul – born 1859 on Alderney and died in the 2nd quarter of 1884 in Gateshead, where he was employed as a land agent’s shorthand clek.
  • Eva Elizabeth – born 1860 on Guernsey and died 1 November 1892 in Doncaster
  • Ada Margaret – born 1861 in Durham and died 1864 in Shotley Bridge
  • Sarah Maria – born 1st quarter and died 2nd quarter of 1864 in Stokesley

Esther died on 8 July 1864 in Shotley Bridge, County Durham.

Esther’s mother, Elizabeth Thornborrow (nee Liddle) had been widowed in 1855, and she lived with Esther and William, supporting her son-in-law and grandchildren until her own death of 13 May 1868 in Stockton-on-Tees


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1866/769

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • Thank you for pointing this out. She died on the 8th July

    By Philip Thornborow (26/08/2020)
  • Two dates of Esther’s death are given, top of page is 8th July and bottom of page given as 7th July, which is correct?

    By Ian Fraser (26/08/2020)

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