Featherstone, John (1840-1896)

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

JOHN FEATHERSTONE was born at Wearhead, Westgate Station, in the County of Durham, March 25th, 1840, and died at Horncastle, Lincolnshire, March 3rd, 1896, in the 56th year of his age and the 31st of his ministry. He was converted in his seventeenth year. This event was not only a moral, but a mental awakening. The window of the mind was opened and he looked out on the whitened fields of knowledge, waiting for the reaper’s hand, and he eagerly applied himself to gather in the treasure. Especially did he give himself to the study of theology, which science had a fascination for him to the end of life. In a short time he became a local preacher, and in 1865 he entered the ministry of his church, receiving a call from the Hetton circuit, in the Sunderland district. He subsequently laboured in Gateshead-on-Tyne, Hexham (twice), Whitby, Westgate, Shotley Bridge, Crook, Stokesley, Eyemouth, Haverhill, Pickering, Leeds, and Horncastle. 

On several of these stations he had considerable success, and on all of them he did good honest work. His qualities as a preacher were substantial rather than showy. He brought a clear mind and a conscientious purpose to bear on his work. His conception of the Christian ministry was high, usefulness rather than ornament was his idea. He recognised that knowledge, conviction, faith were essential to character, and to produce these was his aim throughout. He was careful in all his work down to the smallest details. He excelled as a pastor. He moved freely amongst his people, not forgetting the humblest and poorest. In this work he was more than a religious functionary, he was brother and friend, entering into their joys and sorrows, their domestic and social trials, His presence in the home produced no reserve or fear, for he knew nothing of pomp or dignity, but was ever free, unconventional, kind; the humblest felt at rest in his presence, and without stint gave him their love and confidence. Ged only knows how many hearts he cheered and lives he brightened in this to him beloved work. 

As a Christian he was devout and trusting, never swerving from the faith of his youth. At 17 he found the Rock, and remained immovable. As a brother he was simple, affectionate, constant, as free from suspicion as a rose is from bitterness. His was indeed a beautiful spirit, and those who were permitted to know him can never cease to cherish his memory. In his domestic life he was most happy, reposing in the affection of wife and daughter; and dark indeed is the shadow which has fallen upon them. 

In November, 1895, while out in the country preaching, he was taken ill with an affection of the heart, from which he continued to suffer until March 3rd, 1896, when the call to rest came, and

‘He laid his burden down,
Down at Jesu’s feet.’

Family

John was born 25 March 1840 at Wearhead, Co. Durham, to parents William, a lead miner, and Mary.

John worked as a lead miner before entering the ministry.

He married Hannah Harrison (abt1844-1916) in the summer of 1869 in Weardale, Co. Durham.

Census returns identify two of four children.

  • William George (abt1872-1882)
  • Mary Eleanor (1878-1955)

John died on 3 March 1896 at Horncastle, Lincolnshire.

Circuits

  • 1865 Hetton
  • 1866 Gateshead
  • 1867 Hexham
  • 1869 Whitby
  • 1870 Westgate
  • 1871 Shotley Bridge
  • 1875 Crook
  • 1876 Hexham
  • 1880 Stokesley
  • 1883 Eyemouth
  • 1886 Richmond, Yorks
  • 1888 Haverhill
  • 1890 Pickering
  • 1892 Leeds I
  • 1894 Horncastle

References

PM Minutes 1896/15

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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