Cairns, Edward (1844-1918)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1903
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1903

Early years

Edward was born in 1844 at Wreckington, Co Durham to parents Michael and Jane. Michael was a coalminer. His parents moved to Coxhoe in 1848.

Edward joined the Primitive Methodist Church when aged twelve. He attributed his conversion and connection with the Primitive Methodists to the example of his mother and influence of a Sunday School teacher at Coxhoe. In 1860, the family moved to Sheburn, in the Durham circuit, and immediately opened their house for preaching services, which continued until a chapel was built. Edward was put on the plan by Joseph Spoor. On moving to West Stanley, the family home was again opened for preaching. Edward was appointed a class leader and was also one of the chief agents in securing a new chapel.


Edward’s first superintendent at Chorley was James Travis who greatly assisted him in the pursuit of his studies and the formation of ministerial habits.

As a preacher Edward was above average. His discourses gave evidence of careful preparation, and often sparkle with humour and apt illustrations. His sermons gave evidence of wide reading, but were thoroughly practical and evangelical, and calculated to stir both mind and heart.

During his ministry, Edward built several chapels and schools, and successfully grappled with heavy financial liabilities. He took a strong interest in education was twice a member of School Boards.


Edward married Jane Rollin Matfin (1838-1907) in the summer of 1871 at Durham. Jane was a daughter of John Matfin. Census returns identify two children.

  • John Matfin (1873-1898)
  • Mary Jane (b1874)

Edward married Mary Ann Dermont (1866-1917) in the summer of 1910 at Durham.

Edward died on 21 December 1918 at Sunderland, Co Durham.


  • 1867 Chorley
  • 1868 Blackburn
  • 1871 Knowlwood
  • 1872 Birkenhead
  • 1874 Chorley
  • 1877 Glossop
  • 1881 Peel
  • 1884 Knaresborough
  • 1885 Thornley
  • 1888 Alston
  • 1890 Knaresborough
  • 1893 Tunstall
  • 1895 Banbury
  • 1896 Richmond, Yorks
  • 1899 Port Talbot
  • 1901 Middleham
  • 1903 Halifax III
  • 1906 Durham (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1903/591

PM Minutes 1919/250

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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