Ride, John (1790-1862)

Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838
Copy provided by Steven Carter. Digital copy available online in Google/More/Books.
Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1909, p208

Early Years

John was born at Turnditch, Derbyshire in 1790. He was baptised at Muggington on 4 April 1790. His parents were John Ride and Hanah Winson.

John was converted under Eleazer Hathorn and received his first class ticket at the same time as Sarah Kirkland. He began to preach around 1816. In 1820 John, and his family, emigrated to the United States. There he lost his wife and soon returned to evangelistic work in Derbyshire.


John was soon employed on the Cheshire mission. He opened Wrexham and found his way to Liverpool, where he was imprisoned for preaching in the open air. After being stationed in Tunstall, he soon moved on to pioneer work in the Brinkworth district, where he became known as the apostle of Wiltshire. He later went on to mission Berkshire with Thomas Russell.

At Mitcheldever in 1834, John Ride and Edward Bishop were imprisoned for holding a missionary meeting on the charge of leading and heading a riotous mob, being armed with bludgeons and obstructing the thoroughfare. When the case eventually came to trial in Winchester it broke down, and the magistrates were reported to be glad to get rid of them!

John was appointed as a visitor of the Home Missions in 1845. Among the regulations for his guidance was one which required him not to arrange work which could not be executed by any man of ordinary mental and physical energy.

After his stay in London he moved to Australia where he continued to work with zeal as a missionary. Eventually failing health necessitated his superannuation.

John Ride was a man of immense energy and zeal for his work. A crude measure of his importance to Primitive Methodism can be simply gauged by the number of references to his work found in Petty and Kendall (see below).

Regulations for PM Missionaries

John sent a copy of the regulations for missionaries in the Shefford Circuit to the PM Magazine in 1834. They give a fascinating insight into both the way of life and how the Primitive Methodists were successful through sheer hard work.

  1. Missionary shall preach eight sermons per week and as many more as he chooses
  2. If one missionary is sent out, he must take up eight places, so as to cover a given area.
  3. He must preach one sermon a week at each place, mostly in the open air, winter and summer.
  4. After preaching he must endeavour to obtain a house in which to hold a prayer meeting.
  5. He must diligently visit from house to house which will open his way, for he is expected to live on his mission.
  6. As soon as the work breaks out, he will form societies, and use every means to cultivate the minds of the people.
  7. He must meet the classes after preaching and bring forward all he can to pray.
  8. By and by praying companies will be formed, and planned to hold meetings at different places on Sundays – and this is a ‘nursery for local preachers’
  9. When the missionary has preached a quarter at his eight places, he makes a general collection at every place in support of the mission – this seldom fails to pay for his salary and sometimes it does more
  10. If at any place there is grievous persecution, it is made known through the circuit, that prayer may be made for that place.


John first married Martha Riley (1793-1820) on 10 August 1812 at Duffield, Derbyshire. They had two children, Hannah, born in 1815, and John (1820-1824). Martha died whilst they were in America.

John married Martha Doncaster, an Itinerant Minister, on 18 March 1824 at Oakengates. Martha ceased as an itinerant minister in her own right when she married but continued as an active preacher working with John. She died on 12 November 1873 in Brighton, Victoria, Australia. Martha was stationed in Tunstall (1822), Darlaston and Ramsor (6 mths each in 1823) and Oakengates (1824) before her marriage.

John and Martha had eight children.

  • Mira (1826-1904)
  • John (1827-1912)
  • Priscilla (1829-1890)
  • Mary (1830-1902)
  • Edwin (1833-1906)
  • William (1837-1882)
  • Jabez (1839-1852)
  • Mark (1840-1841)

John died 15 January 1862 in Benella, Victoria, Australia.


  • 1822 Tunstall
  • 1823 Oakengates
  • 1825 Darlaston
  • 1827 Frome
  • 1828 Brinkworth
  • 1832 Shefford
  • 1837 Reading
  • 1844 London
  • 1848 Hammersmith
  • 1849 Port Philip, Australia
  • 1850 Victoria
  • 1851 Geelong
  • 1853 Melbourne (S)
  • 1860 (Benalla)


PM Minutes, 1862, p.5

Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1823, p.69; 1824, p.134; 1838, fr; 1862, p.449; 1875, p.553 (wife); 1913, p.616

J Petty, The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, 1880, p112, p143, p166, p200, p259, p341, p353, p361, p418, p485, p534

B A Barber, A Methodist Pageant, 1932, p.69, 113

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 1, p178, p198, p.518, p535, p551; vol2, p265, p297, p314, p320, p342, p403, p427

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

Joseph Ritson, The Romance of Primitive Methodism, 1909, p211

England 1841 Census and Births, Marriages and Deaths Registers.

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