Birch, Francis

Transcription of Extract from Petty’s The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, 1880

The success of Boston branch of Nottingham circuit during this year was likewise very encouraging. The following extracts from the journal of Mr. Francis Birch will illustrate the spirit in which he and his brethren prosecuted their missionary labours in this part of Lincolnshire, and the success with which the great Head of the Church was graciously pleased to fayour them.

“Sunday, September 24th. Spoke at Azlacby, then at Rippingale, and at night at Azlacby again to a large congregation. The power of the Lord came down, saints rejoiced, and sinners trembled, and some could not rest all the night, the Lord worked so powerfully with them.

“Tuesday, September 26th. Some of the Azlacby and Rippingale friends went with me to Hackarby, a dark place. While we were singing and praying, Satan’s servants shouted and hallooed; and while I was preaching they several times attempted to throw me down. When I had done, they swore they would kill me that night; but the Lord protected me, and though stones came after us like a shower of hail, none of us received any material injury.

“Wednesday, 27th. I rejoiced that I was counted worthy to suffer reproach and persecution for the sake of Christ. At night I spoke at Rippingale.

“Sunday, October 1st. Assisted at a camp-meeting at Spalding. During the praying service in the afternoon many were in distress, and some found liberty.

“Wednesday, October 4th. I was appointed to preach at Holbeach. Here our preachers had been ill-used; two were dragged off the chair while preaching, and were much abused. I was rather cast down at the prospect of ill-treatment; but while praying to God he took away all fear, and I went to the place willing to suffer or to die for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. I found people waiting for the service, and I preached in the streets to a large and well-behaved congregation.

“Thursday, October 5th. I had to preach at Sutton. Our friends had visited this place but once, and some of the inhabitants threw eggs at the preacher. I cast my care upon the Lord, and spoke by the light of a lantern to two or three hundred people, most of whom behaved well, and many of them wept. A few threw some eggs at me; but the Lord graciously sustained me, and opened the hearts of some of the hearers to receive the word preached.”

Similar extracts might be given from the same journal detailing the prosperity of the work of God at Boston, Friskney, Alford, Bilsby, Butterwick, &c.; but for the sake of brevity we close our extracts with the following:-

“Wednesday, December 11th, 1820, was the quarterly meeting of Boston branch. The travelling and local preachers were of one heart and one soul, and it rejoiced me greatly to hear how the work of God was reviving all over the circuit. The Lord is pouring out his Spirit in a wonderful manner.”


I have not been able to identify Francis in online records. Can anyone point me in the right direction?


  • 1821 Nottingham
  • 1822 disappears


J Petty, The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, 1880, p119

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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