Regarding George Handford, Petty writes as follows; ‘Messrs. Benton, Wedewood, and Heath, appear to have been the first missionaries of the community employed in Leicestershire, where they met with less persecution than in the counties of Rutland and Lincoln, and were favoured with a large amount of success. Much good was effected at Loughborough, Coleorton, Whitwick, Marktield, Sileby, and numerous other places; many sinners were brought to God, and prosperous societies were formed. Mr. George Handford, a local preacher at Sileby, was the first preacher of the denomination who visited Syston, five miles from Leicester. Accompanied by a number of friends, he went thither on Sunday afternoon, January 18, 1818, and sang through some parts of the village till he reached the green, where hundreds of persons were soon collected. During the service he was interrupted by a clergyman, a lawyer, and another gentleman. The clergyman, with an assumption of great authority, ordered him “about his business,” adding, “we won’t have you here.” But Mr. Handford knew the law of the land respecting preaching better than either the clergyman or the lawyer—a wicked and profane man—and declined to relinquish his right to preach. After some conversation, in which the local preacher showed himself much superior to the professional divine and his friend the solicitor, the opponents left Mr. Handford in quiet possession of the field, and he delivered a discourse which was made a blessing to many. Among the results of this first service at Syston were invitations to visit Rearsby, Thurmaston, Leicester and other places, where the missionaries found an open door, and were made useful in the conversion of many sinners.’
George was President in 1820 at the first Primitive Methodist Conference.
I have not been able to identify George in online records. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
- 1819 Loughborough
- 1821 disappears
J Petty, The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, 1880, p74
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers