Hirst, John (1803-1898)

Primitive Methodist Magazine | Englesea Brook Museum ENBM 1990.21.17b
Primitive Methodist Magazine
Englesea Brook Museum ENBM 1990.21.17b

Early years

John was born on 11 May 1803 at Barwick in Elmet, Yorkshire to parents, James and Mary. He was baptised on 12 June 1803. He was converted at the age of eighteen and was a Local Preacher for four years before he became a travelling preacher in 1823.


John married Ann Hopkinson Howson on 13 June 1831at St Peter, Leeds. She was born 11 June 1809 and died on 10 June 1890. Ann belonged to a Quaker family, the Howsons of Darlington. She became associated with the primitive Methodists in her teens, which caused her bitter persecution from within her family. The family were bitterly opposed to her match with John, to the point where they imprisoned her in her own home for six weeks. She escaped through the cellar grate and took the stage coach to Leeds, via York, to meet up with John. From Hull, in 1831, John and Ann went to Nenthead in Northumberland. One week, when John was trapped away from home by a snow storm, rather than abandon a service Ann read a sermon and then began to expound herself. She was soon put on the plan and became a very popular ‘special’ preacher. She preached for over 60 years.

John and Ann had nine children.

  • James (1832-1905) – a sub-postmaster and stationer
  • Mary Anna (b1832)
  • John Henry (b1839) – a draper and grocer
  • Elizabeth (1842-1920) – married William Schorah, a music teacher. Both Elizabeth and William were blind.
  • Sarah Ann (b1843) – married William Mullins Graham, a town missionary
  • Joseph Howson (1846-1921) – a draper and milliner
  • Robert Frederick (1847-1915) – a silversmith and grocer
  • Emily (1849 – 1935) – a church visitor
  • William 1852-1925) – a draper

John died on 30 September 1898 in Sheffield.


  • 1827 Hull (6 mths)
  • 1827 Scotter (6 mths)
  • 1828 Thorne
  • 1829 Hull
  • 1830 Leeds
  • 1831 Hull
  • 1834 Pontefract
  • 1835 Malton
  • 1837 Nottingham
  • 1839 Chesterfield
  • 1841 Boston
  • 1844 Horncastle
  • 1846 Nottingham N
  • 1847 Derby
  • 1849 Rotherham
  • 1850 Leicester
  • 1852 Belper
  • 1854 Chesterfield
  • 1856 Sheffield
  • 1857 Sheffield ll
  • 1858 Ripley
  • 1860 Uttoxeter
  • 1861 Sheffield l (S)
  • 1886 Sheffield V


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1852/fr;  1892/690 (wife); 1899/306

PM Minutes 1899/12

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 2; p519

Joseph Ritson, The Romance of Primitive Methodism , 1909, p155

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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