Clough, W.

Transcription of extract from Petty regarding the missioning of Berwick on Tweed.

Leaving the East of England and coming to the North, we next have to notice the missionary labours of North Shields circuit, at Berwick-on-Tweed. Mr. W. Clough was the first missionary sent thither. He arrived at the place on the evening of Friday, January 2, 1829. Next day he hired a room to preach in, near the Town Hall, capable of holding 300 persons, and gave publicity to his intention to preach in the open-air the day following, on Wallace Green, a large plot of ground near the barracks. According to this announcement he preached there on the 4th at half-past one o’clock; and, notwithstanding the coldness of the season, about 300 persons listened to him with attention and seriousness. In the evening he preached in the room before named, which was excessively crowded, and many returned from the door, being unable to obtain admittance. His congregation was composed of serious and attentive people, influenced to attend, perhaps, by a justifiable curiosity to ascertain his doctrines and observe his mode of preaching. Eleven persons remained at the close of the public service for conversation with him about the salvation of their souls, whom he promised to meet again for the same purpose on the Tuesday night following. 

The next day he went to Tweedmouth, obtained the promise of a place to preach in, and then invited the people to attend; but when they assembled the people were not permitted to enter it, and the preacher had to endure the disappointment as best he could. On Tuesday evening his congregation at Berwick assembled half an hour before the appointed time, in order to secure seats, and he felt freedom and help from above in addressing them. On Wednesday, the 7th, he went to Spittal, where a singular manner of making public announcements obtained. Instead of a regular crier, or bellman, a boy went through the place with a wooden trencher and stick, which he employed to arrest attention, and then made his announcements. Mr. Clough engaged him to publish his preaching in the evening, when, notwithstanding the coldness and the wetness of the weather, an encouraging number attended.

Mr. Clough also preached at Murton, a colliery three miles west of Berwick on the English side; Ord, a small village a mile south of Berwick; Burnmouth, a small fishing village in Scotland; Horncliff, a large village five miles west of Berwick ; and at Paxton, a small village in Scotland; at all which places he met with civility, and with attentive and serious congregations. 

But Berwick was the principal place of his labours, and here he addressed a large congregation from Sabbath to Sabbath in the open-air, at the Town Hall steps. On the 11th of January he preached there to thousands of persons of all classes,—gentry, clergy, and “the common people ”—all of whom listened with marked attention, and the ringers of the church bells had the courtesy to cease ringing lest they should disturb the audience. On the following Sabbath he addressed a still larger assembly. The windows of the adjoining houses on all sides were crowded with persons anxious to hear him, most of whom were favourably impressed with the truths he enforced. The room he had taken to preach in was usually crowded; many of the inhabitants invited him to visit and pray with them, and he had great encouragement in preaching several times to the prisoners in the jail. Mr. Clough, however, remained only three months at Berwick, when he was succeeded by Mr. W. Lister, who found a society of about twenty members, and an encouraging prospect of success.

Extract from the obituary of Rev. George Herod in 1863

For twenty-three years, Mr. Clough has been the training superintendent of “The Country Towns’ Mission,” which in the Home work employs about 200 agents. And during these years, many hundreds of young men have been by him put through a course of theology, house to house visiting, journal keeping, &c., fitting them for the missionary work. Some of these have become clergymen in the Established Churches of England and Scotland; others are Dissenting ministers; others are employed as missionaries to the heathen in Asia, Africa, Polynesia, and among the Papists in Spain and France. Mr. Clough was himself trained under Mr. Herod for seven consecutive years. He has, moreover, continued to exercise his influence privately and publicly favourably to the community and its operations, in which God converted him and fitted him for the work which he has so successfully and honourably conducted up to the present. Surely eternity only can reveal the wide spread and large amount of influence for good exerted by the operations and example of the Primitive Methodist community on the kingdom of Christ in the world; and while we gratefully refer to the facts, we render all the glory to God, as is meet; for all the good done in this world. He is the doer of it.


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


  • 1827 Newcastle
  • 1828 N Shields
  • 1831 Berwick
  • 1832 Sunderland
  • 1833 Malton
  • 1835 Leeds
  • 1838 disappears


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1863/193

J Petty, The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, 1880, p299 

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • Philip Thornborow has drawn my attention to the following.
    “In your post on W. Clough, in the PM ministry 1829-1838, you mention that according to George Herod’s obit, W. Clough was involved with the Country Towns Mission. Have you come across this pages about that organisation?

    By Geoff Dickinson (21/03/2024)

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