Gleghorn, William (1823-1852)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by W.L.

WILLIAM GLEGHORN entered on the stormy ocean of life at Blyth, a small seaport town in the county of Northumberland, June 29th, 1823. His parents were strictly moral in their conduct, and early took him to the house of prayer, and dedicated him to God in baptism. About the age of nine years he was sent to a Sabbath-school, and through the instructions and prayers to which he listened there, he was brought under the enlightening influences of the Holy Spirit, convincing him of his evil nature, and drawing him towards God. To these gracious drawings of the Father he frequently adverted in after life, and with grateful emotions advocated the interests of Sabbath-schools.

When a youth he removed with his parents to Cramlington, where, under the ministry of the word among the Primitive Methodists, he was smitten with the two-edged sword of the Spirit, and began to seek the Lord in earnest. At length he received mercy, and his peace flowed as a river, and he immediately became a member of our Society.

Reading, prayer, and the means of grace were now his delight, and his profiting soon began to appear. His brethren conceiving that he would be useful to the church, brought him upon the circuit plan as an exhorter; and having proved himself acceptable in this capacity, he was appointed as a local preacher. About two years afterwards he was employed as a hired local preacher in the Hexham circuit, he being then twenty-two years of age. At the next Conference, 1845, he was received as a travelling preacher, and appointed to Durham circuit, where he continued a year. He travelled subsequently in Barnard Castle, Alston, and Shotley Bridge circuits; but his health failing, he was obliged to retire from the work towards the close of the year 1848. In the month of May in the ensuing year he entered into the marriage state with her whom he has left to mourn his removal.

A small book, in which he kept an account of the places where he preached, the texts he preached from, the number of souls that professed to be converted, the families he visited, and the miles he walked each day, contained in parallel lines, also affords brief notices of his state of mind under his labours, from which we will give a few extracts.

November 24th, 1846, he writes: “My desire is to love God with all my heart, and live to him alone. My greatest grief is that I am not more devoted to his service, and more happy in his love; yet he is my joy and song, my righteousness and strength. Jesus is the delightful theme of my heart and tongue. He is the centre of my hopes; yet I am often constrained to say,

‘Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love.’

“I  believe the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin; and while I lament my defects, I fly to this fountain with all my stains. By grace I claim an interest in Christ as my Redeemer, and long to awake up after his likeness. I feel I owe much to the people of God, especially the Primitive Methodists. I shall never think that I have sufficiently served them. I owe infinitely more to God, and can never do enough to promote his glory. Oh, what shall I do to make something like a suitable return! Had I the understanding of an angel, the eloquent tongue of an Apollos, the zeal of a Paul, and the heroism of a Stephen, all should be devoted to such a people and to such a God.”

Again, at the commencement of the year 1847, he writes: “If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God.” Cheering direction! if Task he will give me a little, and by making good use of that, he will give me more. Here, then, I, William Gleghorn, resolve in the strength of grace to love Jesus supremely, to serve him constantly, to follow him fully, to trust in him confidently, and to delight in him only, and to be his now, henceforth, and for ever. Oh, my God! help me, and make me holy and useful.”

Towards the close of the same year he again notes down: “I think, on the whole, my health is improved; but my mind is much cast down on account of having so little success in the conversion of souls to God. Therefore on this, the 3rd day of December, I humbly resolve, in the strength of Jehovah, not to rest satisfied until I see his power displayed in the salvation of sinners. Lord help me!” 

In April of the next year he states, “My soul is joyful in God; still I pray,

‘Open my faith’s interior eye,
Display thy glory from above,
And sinful self shall sink and die,
Lost in astonishment and love.’

This has been a high day to my soul; and after preaching, two persons professed to find the pardon of sin.”

In the month of November of this year he was obliged to resign his office as a travelling preacher. On the day he came to this conclusion he remarks: “In my affliction the promises of God are exceedingly sweet, especially these words, ‘Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me.’ ”

After he returned to his native air, and had less exercise in public speaking, he recruited his strength ; and after his marriage he settled in the place which gave him birth. Here our cause had become extinct, and preaching was withdrawn from the place; but through his efforts a society of nearly thirty members was raised up in less than two years, and a new chapel erected, with a good school-room underneath it, a durable monument of his praise-worthy exertions.

His affliction was protracted, and his sufferings towards the close of life were very severe; but grace sustained him, and enabled him to glorify God in the fires; and when death struck his prison-house of clay, the prisoner escaped with the shout of victory, “All is well! all is well! Hallelujah!”

“Our friend is restor’d to the joy of his Lord,
With triumph departs,
But speaks by his death to our echoing hearts;
‘Follow after,’ he cries, as he mounts to the skies—
‘Follow after your friend,
To the blissful enjoyment, that never shall end.’ “

He had his infirmities—and who has not? but let charity throw her mantle over them. My pen in this brief sketch shall not name them; rather would I urge survivors to imitate his virtues. His death took place October 24th, 1852. 


William was born on 29 June 1823 at Blyth, Northumberland.

He married Mary Bainbridge in the spring of 1849 in the Tynemouth Registration District, Northumberland. They had one daughter.

  • Ann Isabella (b1852)

William died on 24 October 1852 at Blyth, Northumberland.


  • 1845 Durham
  • 1846 Barnard Castle
  • 1847 Alston
  • 1848 Shotley Bridge
  • 1849 ill


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1853/133

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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