Greenfield, Thomas (1813-1894)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1862
Copy provided by Steven Carter

Early years

Thomas was born on 18 April 1813 at Ballast Hills, Newcastle upon Tyne.

About the year 1830, Mr Leighton, who had started the Ballast Hills Sunday School in 1829, invited a youth who was playing at pitch and toss to go with him to the Sunday School nearby. The youth yielded to persuasion kindly given and from that simple incident Thomas Greenfield was accustomed to date his conversion.


Thomas succeeded William Antliff as Principal of the Sunderland Institute in 1881 until it closed in 1884. He had been the Assistant Theological Tutor since 1877. Thomas was recognised as one of the foremost biblical scholars of the church becoming a scholar of Greek and Hebrew.

Ritson writes: ‘He had no taste for ecclesiasticism, and questions of Connexional legislation and Conferencial procedure interested him not; but he was a diligent student, and became amazingly learned in the Holy Scriptures. He was a wonderful preacher, and the ablest preachers and writers of the denomination delighted to sit under his ministry when opportunity afforded. His keen insight, his ripe scholarship, his deep knowledge of the Bible, and his sly, pawky humour, made him a preacher delightful alike to gentle and simple, learned and illiterate.’


Thomas wrote the following.

Expository Discourses on chapters 5-7 of the Epistle to the Romans, 1875 (with Colin C. McKechnie)


Thomas married Jane Crawford (1817-1876) of Darlington in 1840. Records identify five children.

  • Mary Ann (1841-1908) – married Thomas Hall, a pattern maker and later a sanitary inspector
  • John (1842-1924) – a teacher of classics, French and mathematics
  • Jane (1845-1890)
  • Elizabeth (1850-1926)
  • Sarah (1852-1890)

Thomas married Betsy Branfoot (1830-1897) of Sunderland in 1877.

He died on 18 April 1894 in Sunderland, Co Durham.


  • 1836 Westgate
  • 1837 Sunderland
  • 1839 Ripon
  • 1841 Whitehaven
  • 1843 Shotley Bridge
  • 1844 Berwick
  • 1847 N Shields
  • 1849 Haltwhistle
  • 1851 Sunderland
  • 1853 Westgate
  • 1855 Whitby
  • 1857 Shotley Bridge
  • 1860 Newcastle
  • 1863 Alston
  • 1865 Sunderland
  • 1868 Shotley Bridge
  • 1870 Gateshead
  • 1872 Darlington
  • 1875 Stockton
  • 1876 Durham
  • 1877 Sunderland
  • 1883 S Shields
  • 1884 Sunderland (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1862 (portrait); 1894/786; 1898/414

The Primitive Methodist, 1898/33

PM Minutes 1898/15

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol2, p191

B A Barber, A Methodist Pageant, 1932, p213

Joseph Ritson, The Romance of Primitive Methodism , 1909, p197

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


Comments about this page

  • Page updated on 16 May 2018 to add a transcription of an article in the 1906 Primitive Methodist Magazine.

    By Geoff Dickinson (16/05/2018)
  • Page updated on 22 November 2015 to add a transcription of an article in the 1913 Christian Messenger.

    By Geoff Dickinson (22/11/2015)

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