Brodie, Thomas (1841-1886)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by T Elliott

THOMAS BRODIE, son of John and Mary Brodie, was born at Shotley Bridge, in the county of Durham, July 5th, 1841. His parents were loyal members of our church, and brought up their children in the fear of God. He spoke of his home as the place where his first and deepest impressions for good were received. He says, ‘One thing that constituted it happy was that a Supreme Being was acknowledged. The Scriptures were read and prayer and praise were offered morning and night, and all through life I have felt a powerful influence arise from those early associations.’ He received a good education, and was apprenticed to a butcher in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and, after serving his time, returned to his native village. 

In 1862 a great religious movement took place, conducted by Mr. John Lowrey, of Gateshead, in which our brother was converted. The change was real and striking. He gave his all to God. Here began that intense thirst for knowledge which increased with his years to the very last. It was soon evident that he was endowed with rare gifts for service in the church, and his name was placed upon the plan. Soon after he preached his trial sermon he was asked to enter the ministry. The call came to him unexpectedly, and though he felt a strong yearning to accept it, he also felt, as all true men do, the vastness of the charge and his own weakness. After much thought and prayer he consented, and the Conference of 1865 appointed him to the Penrith Mission, where he laboured one year, and removed to the Barrow-in-Furness Mission. The rest of his ministerial career was spent on the Crook, Brough, South Shields, Stanley, Hartlepool, and Newcastle-on-Tyne First Circuits. 

In Newcastle his health gave way and in 1884 he had to seek superannuation. He removed to Shotley Bridge. All was done that medical skill and faithful nursing could do, and for two years, in which hope and despair of recovery mingled strangely, he fought a hard battle for life. He bowed his strong will to God, as the following words in a letter to the Rev. J. Hallam testify, ‘I must wait patiently the issue; meanwhile, I am wonderfully quiet and contented in my mind. I seem to realise  God more than ever before, and for me that stands for an immense deal. It has come to be a settled conviction, I think, that whatever comes will be as it ought to be.’ 

The long hard winter told upon him severely, and all hope was given up of recovery. And on February 26th, 1886, he passed away to the higher and better life and service. He was interred in Benfieldside Cemetery, March 1st, 1886, amid a crowd of sorrowing friends. In his death we have lost a preacher of the first rank. He took a comprehensive view of all subjects, and sought to put them before men in a way that appealed to intellect and conscience alike. He ever sought to lead men to true manhood in Christ. He had great ability in dealing with men, was tolerant and large-hearted with the sincere, but made short work of sham and pretence; and few men could see the real as soon as he could. As a friend he was true and helpful; his heart went out to men in difficulty. Ail who truly knew him esteemed him highly, and many a heart was sad when it was known that he was gone. His strong will and great courage somewhat shaded his sympathy from those who were not intimate with him, but still it was there, for he was tender of heart and loved God and man fervently. 

In 1870 he married the eldest daughter of the Rev. E. Rust, one of our ministers, who proved to be a wife fitted to her position. Through his long and weary affliction she patiently did all for him that could be done. She and five children are left to mourn their loss. He lived to see a business commenced in which we hope his wife and family will prosper.


Thomas was born on 5 July 1841 at Shotley Bridge, Co. Durham, to parents John, a tailor & draper, and Mary.

He married Emma Rust (1845-1918) in the summer of 1870 in the East Ward Registration District, Westmorland. Census returns identify five of six children.   

  • Kathleen (1871-1959) – a music teacher (1891); married Edward Garrett Robinson, a steel worker (1911), in 1897
  • Dora Elizabeth (b1872) – a school teacher (1891)
  • Rhoda (1873-1898) – a draper’s assistant (1891)
  • Oscar (1877-1936)  – a commercial clerk (1918)
  • Mabel (1880-1950) – a school teacher (1901); married Thomas Garbutt Boyd, a school master (1939), in 1918

Thomas died on 26 February 1886 at Shotley Bridge, Co. Durham.


  • 1865 Penrith
  • 1866 Barrow in Furness
  • 1868 Walsingham
  • 1869 Brough
  • 1871 S Shields
  • 1875 Stanley
  • 1879 Hartlepool
  • 1881 Newcastle I
  • 1884 Shotley Bridge (S)


PM Minutes 1886/10

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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