Turner, Sampson (1794-1876)

Primitive Methodist Magazine
Englesea Brook Museum ENBM 1990.21.44

Early Years

Sampson was born on 1 May 1794 at Cannock and baptised on 8 June 1794. His father was also called Sampson. He was converted in 1812 at Cannock Lane.


In March 1819, Sampson commenced his missionary work at Bilston and was well received. The following day he went to Wolverhampton, but received much verbal abuse. The following day at Willenhall stones were thrown at him and he was obliged to depart. Sampson relates that this was not universal and in many places converts were made.

Whilst on a long ‘circuit round’, Sampson joined with John Wedgwood for three weeks in his ministry to Cheshire in 1819. (See an extract of his journal relating to that mission.)

Kendall relates that the Tunstall circuit had grown so large by the end of 1819 that in March 1820 a new circuit was formed based around Darlaston. The remaining circuit was split into six branches; Tunstall, Ramsor, Belper, Burton on Trent, Burland and Preston Brook. Organisation of the preachers had to follow. In two short months, Sampson Turner had to walk to appointments at places so far removed as Cannock, Burton on Trent, Macclesfield, Talke and Northwich. A better system emerged with preachers allocated to a branch for a period of time before being moved around.

In 1820 Sampson was sent to mission the area around Burton on Trent. He also preached in Lichfield on Whit-Sunday 1820.

Like many of his colleagues Sampson had his hardships. Of his visit to Tutbury he tells us that on entering the village rotten goose-eggs were thrown at him. He was so besmeared that he was obliged to borrow a coat in which he preached while his own was rinsed and dried. His own simple comment is, ‘Persecution raged in several places but the word of the Lord ran and was glorified, and many sinners were converted to God. To Him be all the glory.

Sampson was one of the 12 permanent members of conference named on the Deed Poll in 1830.

Thomas Bateman described Sampson as follows; ‘a plain, good preacher, not so noisy as some’.

Sampson continued his ministry covering much of the north of England during a forty year period, supported by his wife, before retiring in Sunderland in 1860.


Sampson married Mary Edwards on 31 January 1825 at St Modwen’s, Burton on Trent. She was born on 27 March 1802 and died on 20 November 1875. Mary was a local preacher in her own right and had briefly been a travelling preacher in 1822.

Census returns identify four of five children.

  • Sampson Edward (1826-1863) – draper
  • Mary (b1830)
  • John Garner (1832-1890) – tailor
  • Catherine (1834-1863)

Sampson died on 19 January 1876 in Sunderland.


  • 1821 Tunstall
  • 1822 York
  • 1823 Hull (1 yr 6 mths)
  • 1824 Burton on Trent (2 yrs 6 mths)
  • 1827 Ashby de la Zouch
  • 1829 Winster
  • 1831 Mansfield
  • 1833 Oldham
  • 1835 Hull
  • 1836 Sunderland
  • 1838 Alston
  • 1839 Westgate
  • 1841 Ripon
  • 1842 Thirsk
  • 1844 Ripon
  • 1845 Pateley Bridge
  • 1847 Hexham
  • 1849 Durham
  • 1852 Guisborough
  • 1854 Haltwistle
  • 1856 Kendal
  • 1858 Kendal(Sup)
  • 1860 Sunderland


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1829/217; 1855/513; 1876/546; 1877/302 (wife)

PM Minutes 1876/9

J Petty, The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, 1880, p81, p94, p96, p102, p114, p428

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 1, p169, p510, p519, p523, p539, p546, p549: vol 2, p21, p57

B A Barber, A Methodist Pageant, 1932, p89

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Author’s Note: The circuits recorded in Leary do not correlate with the location of Sampson Turner at the time of the 1841(Westgate) and 1851 (Easington) census returns. It seems likely that the stations for Sampson in the period 1833 to the mid 1850’s have been ascribed to Samuel Turner and vice versa. The above list of circuits has been modified to correct this inconsistency.

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