Dent, William (1806-1884)

Primitive Methodist Magazine
Englesea Brook Museum ENBM 1990.21.40a

William was born in Weardale in 1806. He was converted at Westgate in 1823.


Petty records that the Ripon Circuit reported 336 members in 1834. With William as superintendent, this was increased to 450 in two years.

William, himself, remembered that “though he was quite destitute of thesinging gift, yet he used to walk in the front of the processions holding up his hymn-book as if he could sing with the best of us; thus showing, at least, what side he was on”[

Patterson writes;’ Well does the present writer remember “his spare form, ascetic, spiritual-looking face, and his quick bodily movements,” when something the preacher said touched him. In Nelson Street Chapel, in the early sixties, “the fire was down” upon a full congregation. William Sanderson was the preacher — it was an anniversary occasion; William Dent was on the rostrum. Mr. Sanderson had a good time with the great text, “When I consider Thy heavens,” and Mr. Dent’s body swayed like a rolling craft; ever and anon he thrust his arms above his head, his fingers, as they met, moving quickly as if playing upon a stringed instrument, the music for which he himself only knew.’


William authored the following.

‘Various views of the higher Christian life: practical discourses’ , 1876

Reminiscences of the Early History of Primitive Methodism in Weardale The Primitive Methodist Magazine, Vol. V / LXIII, 1882.


William married Mary Ann Taylor (1808-1854) on 29 June 1831 at Scarborough. Census returns identify six children.

  • Martha (b1832) – a dressmaker
  • Mary (b1834)
  • William Taylor (1836-1880) – a railway clerk
  • Elizabeth (b1838)
  • Thomas (b1842) – a clerk then general labourer
  • John Taylor (1845-1853)

William died on 17 March 1884 at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland.


  • 1827 Hull (6 mths)
  • 1827 Scotter (6 mths)
  • 1828 York (6 mths)
  • 1828 Hull (2 yrs 6 mths)
  • 1831 Malton
  • 1833 Pocklington
  • 1834 Ripon
  • 1836 Brompton
  • 1838 Sunderland
  • 1840 Newcastle
  • 1842 Ripon
  • 1844 Durham
  • 1846 Shotley
  • 1848 Westgate
  • 1850 Stockton
  • 1852 Newcastle
  • 1855 N Shields
  • 1856 Sunderland
  • 1860 Newcastle (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1852/192

The Primitive Methodist 1884/214

PM Minutes 1884/14

W M Patterson, Northern Primitive Methodism, 1909

J Petty, The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, 1880, p386

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 2, p146

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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