Guy, John (1811-1887)

Primitive Methodist Magazine
Englesea Brook Museum ENBM 1990.21.39b

John was born on 28 October 1811 at Freshford, Somerset to parents Thomas and Mary. he was baptised on 17 November 1811.


Petty records the progress made in Hertfordshire by John Guy and his colleagues in 1845. In particular, he records that they were able to open Hitchin. This success enabled the Hertford station to be divided into two stations from 1847 with John Guy being appointed to Baldock.

In reference to Baldock, John writes, ‘When our people first missioned this neat little town, containing about 2,000 inhabitants, Norton End, commonly called Hell End, on account of the general immorality of its residents, became the scene of their labours. In the autumn of 1844 the word began to take effect, and in a few weeks about sixty persons were converted to God.’ A chapel, converted from two cottages was opened for worship in April 1847.


John married Catherine Mary Sargeant on 7 July 1840 in Reading. Catherine was born in 1819 in Binfield, Berkshire, daughter of Richard and Mary. She died on 15 July 1849. They had three children.

  • Mary (1841-1902) – a governess
  • John (1845-1926) – a PM Minister
  • Jabez (1848-1930) – a grocer

John married Elizabeth (b1826) . They had a further four children.

  • Hannah (b1851) – a schoolteacher
  • Daniel (b1853)
  • Eva M (b1854)
  • James (1855-1934) – a PM Minister in New Zealand

John died on 5 January 1887 at Barton Regis, Gloucestershire .


  • 1833 Frome
  • 1834 Blaenavon
  • 1835 Shefford
  • 1837 Reading
  • 1842 High Wycombe
  • 1844 Hertford
  • 1847 Baldock
  • 1850 Buckden
  • 1852 Canterbury
  • 1854 Canterbury & Ashford
  • 1855 Maidstone & Ashford
  • 1856 Chelmsford
  • 1861 Maldon
  • 1867 Barrow in Furness
  • 1869 Spalding & Holbeach
  • 1873 Redhill
  • 1874 Rochford
  • 1875 St Albans
  • 1877 Buckingham
  • 1879 Wallingford (S)
  • 1882 Pillowell
  • 1886 Swindon


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1839/462; 1849/647 (wife); 1888/369

J Petty, The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, 1880,  p 348, p366, p463, p518, p524

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • i am researching this family James Guy for my son-in-law. He married a “Fisher’ in New Zealand. I have this NZ family tree

    By Kathleen Lee (21/10/2018)
  • I stumbled on this very interesting article by chance whilst researching my family tree. One of John Guy’s younger brothers was Thomas (1824-1897) and he was my Great Great Grandfather. Thomas’s son, Frank William Thomas Guy (1868-1951, my Great Grandfather) lived for most of his life in Melksham, Wiltshire where he was connected with the Baptist Church in Old Broughton Road. Thomas was employed in the cloth manufacturing industry for most of his life and Frank likewise for a short time before he joined the Avon Rubber Company in Melksham where he stayed for over 40 years.

    By Guy Vincent (13/01/2014)
  • John Guy certainly seems to have played a full part in the growth and development of Primitive Methodism in Hertfordshire. Of the Hertford Mission, Petty (p.462) says that “the zealous and enterprising labours of Mr John Guy and his colleagues were crowned with the Divine blessing”. Regarding Hitchin, Petty (p.464) records considerable persecution of open-air preachers in 1845 but says that “notwithstanding these things, five persons have been converted, and have joined the society; and we have obtained a house to preach in, and have the prospect of extended usefulness.” However, 55 years would pass before a PM chapel existed in Hitchin, the building in Nightingale Road only opening in 1900. The subdivision of the Hertford mission came about because of the growth of the society at Baldock. More about the formation and development of the PM chapel in Baldock, as well as the important role it played in the history of Primitive Methodism on the eastern side of Hertfordshire can be found here. It seems, however, that the skills John Guy possessed that enabled him to make such a success of his time at Baldock must have deserted him by the time he returned to Hertfordshire in 1875. He was stationed at St Albans at the very time when the PM chapel there, the first to be built in Hertfordshire, was relinquished by the society in circumstances that are as yet unclear. Petty (pp.462-463) refers to the building of this chapel as “an imprudent step” and one which “unhappily involved the trustees and the society in serious difficulties. A succession of disasters ensued, which rendered this chapel case one of the most painful and distressing which the connexion ever experienced, and which greatly impeded the progress of the mission. At the conference of 1850 there were only twenty-six members on this station.” It may be that John was sent to St Albans to try to revive this failing society but, ultimately, even he, with all his skills, was unable to prevent the loss of the chapel. In the event, he only stayed for two years, moving on the year after the chapel had been sold. More about the history of the St Albans chapel can be found here. Reference Petty, John, The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, from its Origin to the Conference of 1860, the First Jubilee Year of the Connexion, revised and enlarged by James Macpherson, (London, 1880)

    By David Noble (01/12/2012)

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