Stephenson, John (1832-1912)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1894

Early years

John was born in 1833 at Adwick Le Street, nr Doncaster, Yorkshire to parents Thomas and Ellen.  Thomas worked the land. John was baptised on 10 June 1832 at Adwick Le Street.

In 1851, John was apprenticed to a shoemaker.

John had his first stirrings of religious consciousness when he was a child aged four or five, but at the time people did not believe in the conversion of little children. As a consequence, John lost his religion. He grew up a mischievous, frolicsome youth and was unrivalled in several sports.

John was converted aged 17. Two years later he was a local preacher.


John authored the following.

The Man of Faith and Fire, or, the life and work of the Rev. G. Warner, 1902


John’s first circuit was Market Rasen where he had mixed success. Lacking self-confidence he frequently ‘failed’ in the town pulpit and the town officials called him a ‘duffer’ and tried to persuade the Quarterly meeting to send him home. He was better received in the villages and the rural voice prevailed in the meeting.

As a preacher he developed to become clear and convincing, earnest and always practical. His sermons gripped the conscience and stirred the soul. He often gave more truth than comfort. His attacks upon sin in all its forms were so fearless and scathing there was never any need to wish him to be more emphatic.

John was President of Conference in 1893.

John was also president of the Association for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness from its origin. He was an Editor of ‘The Kings Highway’.


John married Mary Bailey (1830-1870) at Adwick Le Street in the summer of 1859. Census returns identify one child.

  • Edward Bailey Stephenson (1861-1933) – a cotton manufacturers agent (1911)

John married Sophia Johnson (1833-1890) in the summer of 1872 at Knaresborough.

John married Catherine Priestley (1837-1917) in July 1893 at Nottingham.

John died in 1912 at Nottingham.


  • 1855 Market Rasen
  • 1856 Hull II
  • 1857 Barton on Humber
  • 1859 Bridlington
  • 1861 Grimsby
  • 1863 Scotter
  • 1866 Hull II
  • 1869 Grimsby I
  • 1873 Scarborough
  • 1877 Gainsborough
  • 1879 Hull I
  • 1883 Hull II
  • 1886 Grimsby II
  • 1891 Nottingham III
  • 1897 Loughborough
  • 1900 Nottingham (S)
  • 1909 ceased


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1871/171 (Mary); 1894/1

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 2, p454

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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