Bellwood, Philip (1787-1852)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by Adam Dodds

PHILIP BELLWOOD was born at West Cottonwith, in the county of York, November 2nd, 1787. Of his early life we have no information further than that he was engaged in connection with his parents and family in the cultivation and management of a farm. His native village was favoured with the preaching of the gospel by the Wesleyans, and under their ministrations he was awakened, and became an earnest seeker of salvation. His conversion took place in his father’s house, after returning from a watch-night, held on New-Year’s eve, 1815. Next day he rode twenty miles, to tell others what the Lord had done for his soul. 

He then united with the people of God, and was very useful in the early period of his spiritual career. He and other young men frequently took excursions to the neighbouring villages, and held meetings for prayer and exhortation, in which they were gratefully received by serious persons, and were rendered instrumental in the salvation of sinners. They were well known for miles around as “the praying lads of Cottonwith.”

In 1819, the late venerable W. Clowes having extended his labours towards the north of England, brother Bellwood went twenty miles to hear him preach. He also invited him to his native village. Mr. Clowes’s zealous and successful labours in this and neighbouring villages greatly delighted brother Bellwood. After working on the farm during the day, he frequently rode several miles in the evening. to assist the Missionary. He also united with the infant cause, and laboured heartily to promote its interests. 

In October, 1821, he was called into the itinerant work, and laboured with considerable acceptability and success for seven years. He was employed in the Pocklington, Ripon, Guisborough, Upwell, Yarmouth, and Winlaton circuits. In the last-named circuit, which now forms part of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and part of Shotley Bridge circuits, he was well received and rendered useful in the salvation of several souls, some of whom are still living, and on their way to heaven. 

Towards the close of 1828, he ceased to travel, and located in the neighbourhood of Newcastle, residing principally at Annfield Plain, in the Shotley Bridge circuit. The cause of his leaving the itinerancy I am not fully acquainted with; but he frequently doubted afterwards whether he had done right in so doing. He, however, continued to labour as a local preacher. His preaching was highly acceptable; his views of religious truth were clear. He had a ready conception, and a remarkable felicity of expression. He was often the subject of heavy trials and of strong temptations; but he carried everything to the Lord in prayer, and found help in every time of need. Our brother was of a peaceable disposition, and remarkably patient under opposition and affliction. His humility was very praiseworthy. He was willing to take any part connected with the work of God; to be first, or in the middle, or last.

He was naturally of a strong constitution; but of late years did not enjoy good health, which lessened his labours in the church. For some years he was afflicted with a disease of the heart, and was more than usually indisposed for the last few weeks of his life; yet on the day that terminated his earthly existence he assisted in the regular department of labour. During this he was taken suddenly very ill, and was immediately removed to his chair; but was not able to speak, and in a few minutes breathed his last. He had been observed to be more than usually devotional during the few weeks immediately preceding, and his last meeting with the church was a good one. At the class-meeting he was very happy, and he remarked at the close, “If we meet no more below, we shall meet above.” He died May 20th, 1852, in the sixty-fifth year of his age. May his widow and family meet him in heaven! 


Philip was born on 2 November 1787 at West Cottonwith, Yorkshire. 

He married Elizabeth Dickinson (abt1801-1865) on 4 February 1828 at Chester-le-Street. Census returns identify six children.

  • William Dickinson (abt1829-1873) – a butcher (1861)
  • Elizabeth (1832-1887) – married William Ridley, an engiineman (1881), in 1855
  • Mary Ann (abt1834-1841)
  • Susannah (1837-1876) – married John Welch, a post master & grocer (1871), in 1870
  • Hannah (1840-1909) – married William Rutter, an architect (1871), in 1867
  • John (1844-1930) – a police officer (1871)

After leaving the ministry, Philip worked as a grocer. It is interesting to note that the date of his leaving the ministry appears to have coincided with the birth of his first child.

Philip died on 20 May 1852. He was buried in the cemetery of St Thomas the Apostle, Harlow, Co. Durham.


  • 1823 Ripon
  • 1824 Lynn & Gainsborough
  • 1925 Upwell
  • 1826 Yarmouth
  • 1827 Winlaton
  • 1828 Brampton
  • 1829 ceased


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1852/577

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Note: There is a baptism at Thorganby, Yorkshire dated 3 November 1785 of a Philip Bellwood, father John Bellwood. The birth date was 1 November 1875. It is likely that this is the record for Philip. The village is sometimes written Thorganby with West Cottingwith.

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