Spark, John (1844-1913)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by J.R.

Brother John Spark was a typical dalesman: physically strong and robust, mentally alert, intense in convictions, deeply spiritual and fervent, with a passionate love for Primitive Methodism. He was born at Elia, Stanhope, on April 7th, 1844. From there the family removed to High House, and then to Birkshaw. As a boy he worked upon the farms, and then entered the lead mines. 

He was engaged as clerk to Messrs. Bell Bros., in the Parson Byers Quarry, and eventually became manager. For several years he served the public as an Urban Councillor and Overseer of the Poor. In his church he exulted and gloried, and was never so happy as when in a powerful prayer meeting. For thirty years a class leader, he was also one of the few remaining trustees of the church. He served in the Sunday School, Band of Hope, and C.E. Society and was beloved by the young. 

A year ago he was stricken down by a complication of diseases and after the decease of his daughter, Mrs. Walton he gradually sank, and entered into rest on October 26th, 1913, aged sixty-nine years. His funeral service in Stanhope Cemetery, was conducted by Revs. T.C. Showell and G.K. Fawell.


John was born on 7 April 1844 at Ella, Stanhope, Co. Durham, to parents John Spark, a lead miner & farmer of 13 acres (1851), and Jane Collins.

Census returns identify the following occupations for John.

  • 1861 lead miner
  • 1871 lead ore smelter
  • 1881 timekeeper limestone quarry
  • 1891 limestone quarry timekeeper
  • 1901 limestone quarry manager
  • 1911 limestone quarry manager

He married Mary Renwick (1844-1920) in early 1869 in Weardale, Co. Durham. Census returns identify five children.

  • Mary Jane (1869-1948) – married Jacob Burns, a railway porter (1911), in 1900
  • Elizabeth (1874-1913) – married John Featherstone Walton, a railway engine stoker (1901), in 1896
  • Annie (1877-1927) – married John Ralph Gardiner, a locomotive engine driver at limestone quarry (1911), in 1902
  • John Joseph (1883-1948) – an engine fitter (1911)
  • Thomas William (1887-1979) – limestone quarry clerk (1911); managing secretary, Stanhope & Weardale Co-op Society (1939)

John died on 26 October 1913 at Stanhope, Co. Durham.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1914/159

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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