Woolhouse, John


Kendall (p290) quotes the following extract from John’s journal.

“September 27th, 1820: went to Howden and borrowed a lantern and a chair. I hung up the lantern against a wall, and began to sing, pray and preach in the open-air. A large company soon gathered together, and were very serious, excepting one or two. I had a good time.”

Kendall (p370) relates the following in respect of the Woolhouse family in the context of the first plan of the Hull Circuit in 1819.

‘Old plans are not history, but they throw considerable light on history: they are documents pour servir. Given a modicum of knowledge to start with, there is a good deal to be learned from the study of an old plan like this first one of the Hull Circuit. For example, we already know something of the Woolhouses, and so we notice that no less than three members of this family have their place on this first plan. Mrs. Hannah Woolhouse’s name stands, appropriately enough, immediately after that of Sarah Harrison, whom we knew as Sarah Kirkland. Hannah Woolhouse, therefore, takes rank as the first local preacher. But Richard Woolhouse, her husband, who seems to have been more anxious that his wife should preach than that he should preach himself, has been induced to try his modest gifts, and his name is first of those who are local preachers on trial. John Woolhouse has his place next after his mother, but in 1821 we miss his name; the fact being that in that year he commenced his labours as a travelling preacher, and is on the stations for Grimsby. His itinerant course was only a short one, but while it lasted it seems to have been marked by considerable energy and success. We have already seen him preaching by the light of a lantern at Howden, and in November, 1820, we find him at Knottingley along with Sister Armstrong. Says he in his Journal . “Having spoken a little on what the damned souls would have to endure in hell, I sat down for two or three minutes for them to consider whether they would go to heaven or hell.” From this brief record we may gather that John Woolhouse was a man very much in earnest, and no stickler for stereotyped methods of conducting religious services. Obviously there is a limit to what the study of old plans —as a kind of fossilised history—can teach us; and so we often rise from our study of them feeling that we would like to know more. They pique our curiosity only to tantalise us. We would, for example, like to know more about the Woolhouse family, and how it fared with them in the after years. Hitherto, research in this direction has been baffled; but it is just possible that another old plan furnishes a useful clue. On the Leicester Circuit Plan, for 1827-8, we find, side by side, the names of R. and H. Woolhouse ; and we cannot but conclude that the earliest befrienders of Primitive Methodism in Hull had removed to Leicester, with which town we know Richard Woolhouse had business connections; and from the position of the names on the plan —Nos. 23 and 24 in a list of 55 names—we infer that the removal must have taken place some considerable time before 1827. There was yet another member of the Woolhouse family who made herself useful in the early days. Mrs. Woolhouse, junr., was a Class-leader, and is said to have conducted a class for children at her own residence. The class was held on Thursday afternoons, at three o’clock, that being the hour when children were loosed from school.


I have not been able to identify John in online records. Can anyone point me in the right direction?


  • 1821 Grimsby
  • 1822 disappears


H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 1, p289, P370

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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