A transcription of the obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by J Barnes is attached. He records the following in respect of her time as a travelling preacher.
‘In 1833 she was stationed with the Rev. W. Garner, in the Barnard Castle branch of the Hull circuit. This branch was very extensive, including, as it then did, what is now Brough circuit. The distances to be traversed on foot could not be less than thirty miles. Brother Garner says, ‘‘The station was a very inconvenient one to work in the winter season. Barnard Castle was situated at the eastern extremity. In the centre for several miles there was no population; and with the exception of a tolerably good road across Stainmoor, one of the wildest and most exposed ‘Fells’ of Westmoreland, the district exhibited no indications of its ever having been disturbed by the hand of man. There were no trees, nor hedges, nor stone fences to shelter the traveller from the hurricanes of wind and rain which often swept, with terrific violence, over the bleak and solitary mountain. These long and fatiguing journeys were of frequent occurrence, but they were performed by our departed sister with a willingness and regularity which were truly surprising.
“In the exhausting toils which were then necessary, Rebecca Tims was one of the most willing and efficient servants of the connexion. In attending to her appointments she was, perhaps, seldom equalled, and never surpassed by a female preacher. If she was not run after and admired for her great talents, what was far better, she was beloved and honoured for her sterling piety, good sense, and exemplary deportment. She deservedly stood high in the estimation of the people, and many profited under her plain, sensible, and affectionate ministry. In church affairs she knew her place, and kept it. She sowed no seeds of discord. In her demeanour she was peaceful, benevolent, modest, and unassuming. We laboured together only one year, during which we had a small accession of members to our societies, and in financials we remitted to Hull circuit’s quarterly meeting a surplus of £37. I rejoice to hear that she held fast the profession of her faith without wavering to the end, and finished her course with joy.” ‘
Rebecca was born on 8 December 1803 at Leicester, Leicestershire, to parents James and Elizabeth. She was baptised on 17 December 1803 at St Mary de Castro, Leicester. Her brother, Jonathan, was also a PM minister.
The 1851 census return records Rebecca as a grocer.
She married John Pratt (abt1804-1849) on 23 June 1834 at Barnard Castle, Co. Durham. Census returns and birth records identify nine children.
- Catherine (1835-1849)
- John (b1836) – a carpet weaver (1951); a wholesale grocer (1871); not identified after 1881 census
- Elizabeth (b1837) – a bonnet maker (1861)
- Thomas Pattison (1838-1857)
- Rebecca (b1840) – a bonnet maker (1861); a housekeeper (1871); a lodging house keeper (1881)
- Isabella (b1841) – assistant lodging house keeper (1881)
- Margaret (1842-1843)
- Sarah Ann (1846-1849)
- Mary Jane (1847-1848)
She married William Brining, a PM minister, in 1863.
Rebecca died on 15 January 1866 at St Helens Auckland, Co. Durham.
- 1829 Preston
- 1830 Hull (4yrs 6mths)
- 1834 Pocklington (6 mths)
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1866/426
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers