Watson, Featherstone (1844-1904)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1903

Early years

Featherstone was born on 24 October 1844 at Burtreeford, nr Wearhead, Co Durham. His maternal grandfather was one of the earliest Primitive Methodists in the Dale and a trustee of the Wearhead Chapel built in 1825. His father died when Featherstone was aged four. In consequence of this loss, his school days ended at the age of nine.

Featherstone was converted at the age of eleven. This was a new beginning, bringing with it a thirst for knowledge and self-improvement. At the age of seventeen he became a local preacher and within three years was recommended and accepted for the ministry. He had hoped to spend a year at Elmfield College but was appointed direct to circuit work.


As a preacher, his sermons were instructive, helpful, and surprisingly models of careful preparation: logical, luminous, and living they were indeed words of light and life.

As a pastor, Featherstone was ever welcome in the homes of his people, and was no stranger there, sharing in their sorrows and joys, and understanding well hoe to order his speech to comfort those who mourned.

Five new chapels were built during his superintendency at St Helens Auckland. Featherstone served as District Sunday School Secretary, District College Committee Secretary and District Building Secretary.


Featherstone married Rachael Bainbridge (1850-1925) in the spring of 1871 at Stokesley, Yorkshire. Census returns identify three children.

  • John William (b1872)
  • Frederick Bainbridge (1875-1963) – a lecturer in mathematics (1911)
  • Lily (b1880) – a secondary schoolteacher (1911)

Featherstone died on 5 May 1904 at Stokesley, Yorkshire.


  • 1866 Guisborough
  • 1868 Stokesley
  • 1870 Newcastle
  • 1874 Thornley
  • 1875 Middlesborough
  • 1879 Shildon
  • 1884 St Helens Auckland
  • 1889 Westgate
  • 1893 Staithes
  • 1898 Middleton
  • 1902 Stokesley


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1903/843; 1905/490

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers



Comments about this page

  • This page was modified on 25 April 2018 to add a transcription of Featherstone’s obituary, published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine 1905.

    By Geoff Dickinson (25/04/2018)

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