Butcher, John (1834-1913)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1886
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1913

Early years

John was born on 31 March 1834 at Sapiston, Suffolk to parents Henry and Mary. He was baptised on 18 May 1834 at Sapiston. Henry worked the land. John was an agricultural labourer in 1851 at Honnington, Suffolk.

John was converted on 11 June 1854 at the close of an evening service at Honington. Following his conversion, such were his labours and devotion, he came a mark for clerical hatred and persecution, and was at last driven out of the village, only to return later to continue his former way of life.

His first sermon came about when he accompanied a friend to a service the friend was due to take. The friend got as far as announcing the text and could go no further. John stepped in and preached his first sermon. He soon became a local preacher and was invited into the ministry.


John recorded some amazing statistics in his journals. Between January 1859 and July 1875 he walked a total of 25,790 miles. In his last appointment at Sandbach, in four years he walked 2,937 miles and ‘machined’ 3,261 miles. In 20 years he made 33,619 family visits and over 40 years preached 6,875 sermons. He saw an increase of 1,194 on his stations.

John’s obituary records that he belonged to the old school of evangelical preachers with a voice as clear as a bell, his meaning was never obscure or doubtful and with tremendous earnestness he sought to win souls.

In official matters he was strict and unbending, and was easily misunderstood. To those who knew him he was gentle as a child and kind as a mother.


John married Sarah Leech (1843-1918) in early 1862 in the Wellington Registration District, Shropshire. Census returns identify five children.

  • Rebekah Brothwood Mary (1863-1941) – married Robert Mayor, a mercantile clerk.
  • Hannah Jedidah (1867-1941) – a music teacher
  • Adah Ann Jane (1871-1936) – married John Brayton Scott, a shop draughtsman
  • Ida Henria Sarah (1874-1912
  • Eunice Eveline (1878-1902)

John died on 4 September 1913 at North Shields, Northumberland.


  • 1857 Worcester
  • 1858 Pontypool
  • 1860 Wrockwardinewood
  • 1862 Tunstall
  • 1864 Church Stretton
  • 1866 Minsterley
  • 1869 Congleton
  • 1871 Shrewsbury
  • 1873 Dawley
  • 1876 Birmingham l
  • 1877 Birmingham ll
  • 1878 Lichfield
  • 1881 W Bromwich
  • 1882 Barrow in Furness
  • 1885 Wigan
  • 1886 N Shields
  • 1889 Eyemouth
  • 1893 Sandbach
  • 1897 N Shields (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1886 (portrait); 1913/993

PM Minutes 1914/17

Primitive Methodist World 1900/472

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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