Hawksworth, John (1781-1862)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by George Normandale

JOHN HAWKSWORTH, the subject of this sketch, was born at Burton Grange, near Barnsley, December 23rd, 1781. Little is known respecting his early life, but his moral training seems to have been neglected. On attaining to a proper age he was bound apprentice to his uncle at Woolley, a few miles from his native place. Nothing remarkable occurred during his apprenticeship, save that he indulged freely in youthful follies, and occasionally fell into sins’ of intemperance. Soon after the termination of his apprenticeship he entered into the marriage state, and in a few years became the father of a rising family; but instead of reflecting upon his increased responsibility, he still sought the gratification of his appetites and passions, and became a confirmed drunkard.

About the year 1810, however, it pleased the Lord to awaken him to a consciousness of his guilt and danger; he then sought mercy through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and was enabled to rejoice in the God of his salvation. At this time he united with the Methodist New Connexion, at Ardsley, where he had then taken up his abode. For some years he continued a useful and acceptable member of this branch of the Christian Church; when, sad to relate, he again relapsed into intemperate habits, and he remained for two years a miserable backslider.

In 1820 the Primitive Methodists found their way to Barnsley and the adjacent places, and the Lord graciously owned their labours. Brother J. Pollard, to whom we are indebted for the foregoing particulars, remembers with gratitude the entrance of our people into Ardsley. The Rev. W. Taylor was the preacher who missioned the village, and after he had sung up the street,

“Stop, poor sinner, stop and think,” &e.

he conducted service in the open air, in the presence of a large assembly. Our late Brother Hawksworth was present on that occasion, and it was under an arousing sermon then preached from Genesis xix. 17, “ Escape for thy life,” &e., that he was again smitten with deep conviction, and led to sorrow after a godly sort. A class of three members was shortly formed, and Brother Hawksworth became the leader. A new era in his history now commenced, and he gave evidence of his zeal for God and of his love to souls, by cheerfully consecrating his all to the Redeemer’s cause.

Some months after his conversion he began to exhort sinners to flee from the wrath to come, and in due time he became an accredited local preacher. The Barnsley Circuit was then wide, embracing many places which now belong to other stations, and frequently would our deceased brother walk above twenty miles on a Sabbath to preach the glad tidings of mercy. His preaching abilities were not of a high order, but his labours were always acceptable and useful. His punctuality secured him the confidence of his congregations, for he did not allow either distance or bad weather to prevent him from fulfilling his appointments. In our lovefeasts he was usually one of the first to bear his testimony for the Lord; and as he was the oldest local preacher in our station he was much respected by his brethren throughout the circuit,

For about two years previous to his death his strength had begun gradually to decline; but he was always ready to take an appointment when he had strength to do so. In his last affliction, which was of short duration, he rested fully on the great Atonement, and spoke of his death as his departure to his future home. This event occurred on the 10th of August, 1862, and was improved by Brother J. Pollard, on September 7th, in our chapel at Barnsley, from Psalm cxvi. and 15, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints,” when many felt it good to be there. 


John was born on 23 December 1781 at Burton Grange, nr Barnsley, Yorkshire.

John died on 10 August 1862. He was buried on 13 August 1862 at Ardsley, Barnsley, Yorkshire.

I have not been able to unambiguously identify John in online records. Can anyone point me in the right direction.


  • 1825 Ramsor (6 mths)
  • 1825 Oakengates (6 mths)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1863/266

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Note: The obituary makes no reference to anytime spent as a travelling preacher. Has Leary identified the correct obituary for this travelling preacher?

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