Great Yarmouth: Notices of the work of God in Great Yarmouth Circuit, 1836

From the Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838

Palling was missioned by the praying labourers and local preachers; and a considerable concern for salvation was manifested among the people.  This place is on the sea-coast, and was very destitute of religion, yet the Lord has saved some even here.

The case of one man illustrates that scripture, “Nothing is too hard for God.”  His sea-faring companions called him Pout eye.  He was among the first class of sinners; but, on attending a few of our meetings, he was deeply convinced of sin, and his burden became intolerable.  And one day when his companions were lounging in a shed on the beach, as is customary when not at sea, this poor man’s distress was so great, he could conceal it no longer.  So he fell on his knees in the midst of them, and began to call mightily on God, with strong cries and tears, to pardon and save him.  His companions fled in all directions, though they had often listened unmoved to his horrid imprecations.  But penitent W. George, (for that was his name,) wrestled on; and after a long and severe struggle, God spoke peace to his soul, the darkness passed instantaneously from his mind, and the light of life shone forth with heavenly radiance through his inmost powers; and he had the witness that his sins were pardoned, and himself accepted in the Beloved.

When the heavenly fire which had descended into his soul, had begun to return   to its native Source, in humble love and fervent praise, he began to look for his partners; but they were fled about half a mile off.  So the wicked flee when no man pursueth.  Many have watched for his halting, but happily they have been disappointed, he is still prosecuting his journey to the skies.

In the spring of 1836, and some time after, we were in great want of labourers, both travelling and local; and there was a mighty praying that the Lord of the harvest would thrust them out into his harvest: and the answer was remarkable; persons in different parts of the circuit, began to speak in the name of the Lord, and to warn sinners to flee from the wrath to come; and some we had no thought of.  Their talents blazed out in all directions, insomuch that an intelligent friend said, “The Spirit of prophecy was come down on the circuit”

The following is an instance of the zeal of these new beginners: — A warm-hearted man, a member at Hemsby, felt it much on his mind for Horsea to be visited.  And on a sabbath morning he applied plied to two speakers where he lived, earnestly persuading them to go.  But not being able to prevail, he gave up the thought; but it recurred to his mind how bad he should feel on the morrow if no one went.  So he set out himself.  He had never before addressed a congregation; but meeting some children at the entrance of the village, he told them a Primitive Methodist preacher was going to preach.  He spoke to the people, and preaching has been continued there ever since, and souls have been saved.  Thus our conquering Lord hath prospered his word, And made it prevail; and in many instances, by the least of his servants, hath mightily shaken the kingdom of hell.

His arm he hath bar’d,
And a people prepar’d,
His glory to show,
And witness the power of his passion below

So that when we came to make up our accounts for the district meeting, we had a clear increase of three hundred souls.  To God be all the glory.  Amen.

Early in May, on the way to my appointment at Upton, I called on Bro. G. Wright, who could, as it were, see the cliffs of Zion through the chasms of his falling tabernacle.  It is about twelve months since T. W. crossed Jordan out of this house.  Thomas was brought to God soon after I came to Yarmouth, where he was for his health.  Having frequent opportunities of seeing him, I urged him to secure an interest in the Saviour.  He sought the Lord earnestly; and at a Saturday night’s prayer meeting, under a particular influence, I laid my hand upon him, and told him there was salvation for him forthwith.  He said he felt something go right through him.  And shortly after, in his closet alone with God, he received the change in a very clear and satisfactory manner.  He was frequently found rejoicing in the Lord, when the preachers visited him.  And on one occasion while I was praying with him, it was awfully grand.  He appeared on tip-toe to be gone, and his mother was overwhelmed with the weight and majesty of the Divine presence.  Indeed we felt as though fully let into the most holy place.  This young man, twenty-four years of age, often prayed that he might die shouting; and he was highly favoured; he said he saw Jesus descending into his room, when his joy was unutterable; and though for a fortnight he had not been able to lift up his arms, yet when departing, he raised his hands above his head, and with a load voice exclaimed, “I’m a-going — I’m a-going — Good bye, good bye;” and instantly entered the joy of his Lord.

George Wright was taken ill about the time of Thomas’s death, and has continued tending towards the house appointed for all living.  He has been a consistent member at Upton for some years.  In the former part of his pilgrimage, he was the subject of strong and grievous temptations; and was even tempted to suicide.  But this temptation was finally overcome at a missionary meeting held at Midsummer, 1835, when the glory of the Lord was revealed to him in a most remarkable manner; and a powerful application of the blood of Christ to his conscience, took away all his stains; and he was filled with prayer and praise.  He was diligent in recommending religion to all his neighbours and friends; and he did not appear to despair even of any.  Once a man in a state of inebriation, came into the meeting house; and our Bro. began to tell him of the danger he was in; and pressed on him the necessity of leading a new life; and the man has not forgot it to this day.  He gave up his wife and children, and all transitory things long before he left this vale of tears; and devoted himself to the work of recommending the Saviour to all that visited him; and he exhorted all his companions in sufferings to persevere.  He said the company were waiting, and Zion’s King smiling, and they should see each other again in a happier clime.  A few days after I left him, he took his flight from the foot of the cross, (where he had loved to keep for about six years,) to the throne, to triumph with his Master.  And since then two of his children have set out in the good way, that they may meet him again where death shall he done away, and bodies part no more.

The last sabbath in May, 1836, I attended a Camp meeting at Beyholt, in our Ipswich branch.  This was the sabbath after Whit suntide.  Preaching was given up throughout the branch, and the congregation was very numerous, and the power of the Highest was present.  About eleven o’clock, when I was called upon to preach, I told the people I would preach them a Pentecostal sermon, as that season was so recently passed.  I announced my text, Acts ii. 17, and enforced a present salvation with all my might, calling the attention of listening hundreds, to the promise of the true God.  The time fixed — the latter day — assuring them, with the utmost confidence, that the Holy Ghost was then coming on that assembled multitude; and the influence became so great, that I was obliged to give over.  There was a very great trembling, and the leader, Bro. Walker, got up and directed the people to fall back and form a very large ring, and began to exhort the mourners to come in to be prayed for.  One man stepped forward, and kneeled down an the midst, and appeared like a condemned criminal, which produced an astonishing effect; and the penitents immediately rushed in on every side; some literally fell flat on their faces into the ring.  This prayer meeting did not close till one o’clock, and we thought near twenty souls were liberated on the spot; and others were set at liberty at the lovefeast in the evening.

Monday, Branch quarter-day.  The cause is rising, especially in the Essex part At the watch-night in the evening, several more were set at liberty, and some fully sanctified.  I spent a week with the brethren in this branch; and at the various meetings they thought not less than thirty were made partakers of the Divine nature.  “O Jesus, ride on, till all are subdued.”

At the September quarter-day, the Ipswich branch was made into a new circuit, with three hundred and twenty members.  It has been a good branch; and I have no doubt, with care and labour, it will be a flourishing circuit.  This is the second circuit Yarmouth has made; and if this circuit keeps up its missionary spirit, it may be a blessing to all the country round.

While in this part the following was related to me.  When one of our missionaries, Brother L. first visited Ipswich, a man and his wife, who afterwards became members, then kept a public house, with the good Samaritan for their sign.  The woman got converted, and eventually her husband.  And finding the two interests so incompatible that both could not be successfully followed, they first closed the house on sabbath days; next the beer barrels were heaved down, and lastly down came the sign; and what had been the sign of the good Samaritan was trans formed into two excellent collecting boxes for our preaching room, to which honourable use they are likely to be devoted for some time to come.

A Dwarf converted.

About April, 1837, having to visit Ditchingham, I had an interview with Maria Murray, concerning whose conversion I had heard with peculiar pleasure.  She is now turned twenty-two years of age.  At the early age of three years and a half, she was let by her mother to a backsliding Methodist for the purpose of exhibition, at the rate of seven shillings a week.  The child had been in the show about six years when her mother was taken ill, and began to draw nigh the confines of the grave.  But in her last illness, she was brought to God by means of our people preaching in the open air against her door; and she died in the faith.

After the Divine change was wrought in her soul, the disposal she had made of her diminutive daughter lay heavy on her conscience; and she used all the means in her power to extricate the daughter from the situation she was in; but the exhibiters thinking that the mother’s death would give them a stronger claim to hold the child, instead of sending her home, withdrew with her into Wales; and when death had severed the parent from all things below, they claimed the diminutive child as their own.  But her grandmother, to whose care she had been bequeathed by her expiring mother, acting in accordance with the advice of the Mayor of Yarmouth, invited the party to Bungay fair; at the expiration of which, she requested that her grandchild might visit her and tarry for the night.  With some hesitation this was granted; and Maria was taken away never more to return to the scene of vice.  She was carried home in a basket, covered with a green cloth.  The basket I saw, and took its dimensions, which were twenty-one inches and a quarter, by ten and a half.  She was then eleven years of age; and had been announced on the showman’s bills as being eighteen inches high.  During her migratory life the exhibition visited most parts of England and Wales; and once she was presented to the royal family, in a little green box.  She was graceful in form and features, remarkably straight, and of exact symmetry and proportion.  After her return home she was proud and vain, delighting much in dress, &c., which formed a barrier in the way of her salvation.  But about four years ago she had a paralytic stroke, which left her somewhat deformed, and gave a blow to the root of her pride.  And in the summer of 1836, she heard Bro. Rust, one of my colleagues, preach in the open air, and the Spirit of God sealed the truths on her conscience.  The anguish of her soul was great, but not of long continuance; for the same preacher, being at prayer in the grandmother’s house, Maria’s distress became intense; and being shortly left in the house alone, she fastened the door, and retired to call upon HIM who seeth in secret.  She knocked hard at mercy’s door, and God graciously opened the kingdom of heaven in her heart, filling her with joy and peace through believing.  The following lines were applied with light and energy to her new-born soul:

A second look he gave, and said,
I freely all forgive;
My blood was for thy ransom paid,
I died that thou mayst live.”

And the old lady on her return found her grandaughter rejoicing in a sin-pardoning God, and singing with a loud voice, the songs of Zion.  May she be kept by the power of God unto eternal life. — Amen.

Some circumstances that have transpired in this neighbourhood, have produced serious thoughts, and have made a favourable impression in the public mind towards our-Connexion.  One man after listening a while to one of our preachers, went away, using very improper language; and in a fortnight he passed from time into eternity, leaving a wife and ten children.

A woman who had threatened to set some boys to stone Brother Wainwright, and who declared if they would not, she herself would give him what she termed “a right good mobbing,” was that same morning taken ill, and has never been well since, and it is the opinion of some that she never will recover.  So the preacher held his open air worship in quiet, the persecutor being confined to the sick chamber.  May the Lord have mercy upon her and save her.

At Mundham the awful death of poor C. F. shocked me very much.  He was perhaps about sixty years of age, good natured, intelligent, knew much of the scriptures, and of religion theoretically, but practised nothing.  He also made the way of his partner very uneven, who, I believe, is striving to get to heaven.  About three months before he died, his finger was bit by a well-known dog.  Fears were entertained that the animal was mad, and he was shot the same day. — C. F. had medical advice, and the wound appeared to be healed; but he had many, doubts concerning it.  In the interim he went to hear Brother Walker preach; and he preached as one who knowing the terrors of the Lord, was persuading men, 2 Cor. v. 11.  During Divine service, C. F. got up to go away; but his confusion was so great he could not open the door.  Another relieved him from his embarrassment, and he left the chapel, and vowed he would never enter it more.  And, alas! it was true! — He shortly after became unwell, and lingered from Friday until Monday, when he left this world.  During his illness, a neighbour (one of our members), was called in to speak to him.  The dying man said, “O, Mr. Canham, that I had taken your advice twenty years ago!”  To his wife he said, “If you were to die you would go to heaven; but where am I going?” — After a pause he said, “Why to hell! where should I go?”  On one occasion he said, “Where is Mr. Walker?  I want to see him.”  And he added, “Depend he was right, and I was wrong.”  All the time his conversation was perfectly rational, though frequently barking much like a dog.  And he made regulations relative to his funeral, his family, and his effects.  At the close of life he seemed more composed, and prayed very mightily to God for pardon.  And some entertain a hope that he obtained mercy from the Lord.  But may none of my readers venture on such an awful precipice.

Another man in the neighbourhood was buried a day or two before, who was bit the same morning by the same dog.

An Awful death.

In the year 1832, an impression was made on the minds of three of our local brethren to mission Reedham, a village situate on the river Yare, ten miles from Yarmouth.  On opening their minds to each other, and finding each alike impressed, they without hesitation proceeded.  And Oct. 7, Bro. Bitton with a few to aid in prayer and singing, visited the place, and met with a little success.  The following sabbath, Bro. Stannard, with two or three others to aid in like exercises, went to sow the seed of eternal life; and he observes, “If ever a man was filled with God, I was that day.  We prayed all the way thither, and several times on our knees.  On our coming to the village, we went to a house to which we had been directed; and finding no one at home, I took a wheelbarrow, that was in the yard, and bringing it to the top of an eminence, I invited the scattered few to draw near, and soon about two hundred were assembled.  I took for a text, Luke xiv. 17, ‘Come, for all things are NOW ready.’

“Turning my eyes towards the river, I beheld several barge-men dressed in long white frocks.  It reminded me of Joshua taking Ai, for as soon as the priests blew the trumpets, and the Israelites shouted, the king marched with his army out of the city to pursue Israel; but the ancient Conqueror being with Israel, the king was taken, and his army defeated.

“As the men in the white frocks drew nigh, I perceived mischief was their design.  They soon surrounded us; and one more zealous than the rest, they had made king of the bankers.  These men were called bankers on account of their being employed in cutting a large river from Reedham to Lowestoft.  And to this king of theirs, they had given the name of ‘Flying Tommy.’  This man placed himself directly opposite me, stared me in the face, and began to use the worst language I had ever heard.  And in the presence of all the people, he laid various dreadful crimes to my charge; and I being a stranger there, thought the people might suppose the charges were true, and I felt exceedingly tried.  I, however, told him he had better give over, for Jesus Christ would surely conquer him.

But he drew nearer, and commenced such a horrid course of swearing, for some minutes, at could scarcely be equalled.  I expected to be struck by him every moment.  But the Holy Ghost was upon me, and a mighty power rested upon the people.  I continued to get firmer hold of the arm of heaven, and my feelings, as far as I can describe them, were the deepest sorrow, the greatest joy, and the most love, I had ever felt.  At the same time a weeping influence fell upon scores, and a mighty trembling seized many of the bankers.  I soon saw Tommy’s countenance change, his teeth chattered, and his flesh turned to be of a mixture of black, blue, and yellow.  The people beheld, and were alarmed.  I continued to tell him that he had better come over on our side, for hell was moving from beneath, to meet him.  His companions entreated him to leave, and told him he was dying.  His knees smote together, and he could not speak for some time.  But when he recovered a little, he heard me saying, that the earth, the gold and the silver, and the cattle on a thousand hills, were the Lord’s.  He replied, in a low voice, ‘that’s a lie, he has not a bullock his own.’  At this I was really afraid lest God should strike him dead before us.  My feelings became indescribable, and I felt an inward urgency to utter what appeared to me to be truly awful.  But having a conviction it was of the Lord, I durst not remain silent.  I therefore cried, ‘Poor Tommy, I have one thing more to say.  It’s a message from God unto thee.  There is salvation or damnation for you within three weeks.  The one is offered, and if refused, the other is certain.

“He stood speechless, and hundreds were weeping all around.  We sung a verse, and stepping from the stand, I kneeled down at Tommy’s feet, prayed for him and concluded.  I then took him by the hand, and begged of him to turn to God.  He said he would not for me.  I heard some people say he retired into a vale among some bushes, where he was heard to groan, as if dying, and never found rest afterwards.

“I went to a cottage and took some refreshment.  I was requested to preach at half-past six in a house at the foot of the eminence, on the top of which eminence I had preached in the afternoon.  The house was soon filled, and a mighty terror sat upon every countenance.  I preached from 1 Cor. vii. 29.  The work of the Lord broke out powerfully; many believed, and were saved.  Four or five villages catched the flame, and it is running to the present

“Shortly after I heard that one H——e a B——n had given poor Tommy half a gallon of ale to do this dreadful deed of touching God’s little ones.  Soon after this H——e became much disordered in mind; so terrified that he could rest no where.

“Tommy had waded through three weeks in a wretched manner; and being very drunk one night, swimming over the river, he sunk to the bottom, and was immediately after taken out dead.

“H——e, his wife and children, with all his live flock, even from a cat to a horse, were plagued with lice; and he himself frantic.”

R. G. Stannard.

The foregoing is an awful account of poor T., and the worst, I suppose, cannot be described, as several of the members say it is impossible to describe the state of the man when the hand of Divine Providence arrested him.  Such was the introduction of P. Methodism into Reedham.  But what is opposition to the moving of the Almighty? — Who will set the briers and thorns before him in battle? — We have now a good new chapel, and a flourishing society of forty members.

Who the victory gave, The praise let him have,
For the work he hath done, All hon­our and praise to Jesus alone.”

An instance of Present Salvation.

I have received a communication on this point from Bro. Diboll, local preacher.  He says: On Sunday, July 6, 1835, a Camp meeting was held at Mundham, at which were displayed striking instances of the power of God to save.  New causes for rejoicing were ever and anon presenting themselves from morning till night.  And the lovefeast was grand beyond description.  The meeting had been opened but a short time, when it was as if a cloud of divine glory burst upon it.  I left the pulpit and went among the people, when my attention was arrested by the singular appearance of a man about forty years of age, who stood in the middle of the place holding his hat before him with both hands, gazing upon a scene in which he appeared entirely uninterested.  I asked him if he knew the Lord; when with a vacant smile he said, “No.”  I asked him if he would like to have his sins pardoned.  And with the same apparent unconcern, he answered, “Yes.” I then said, “On your knees directly.  It is either pray or perish NOW.”  We kneeled down together, I prayed, and in about two minutes he was stretched apparently lifeless on the floor.  Some mighty praying labourers came up and engaged with the Lord on his behalf; and in about ten minutes he was enabled to rejoice in the love of a sin-pardoning God.  This is as clear an instance of present salvation as I ever witnessed:

Joseph Diboll.

January 30, 1837, I (J. Smith), called to see William Walpole, and found him in the agonies of of death, unable to speak.  He was in his sixty-ninth year, and had been brought to God upwards of two years.  He was stirred up to seek the Lord by the regular attendance of two of our members at the house of God, who in their way thither constantly passed by his door; and, being neighbours, he followed to see where they went, attended with them, became alarmed for his soul, sought the Lord; but being almost in despair of ever finding him, he retired, as he thought for the last time.  But hope revived, he resolved not to get off his knees till his burden was removed; and after a little more than an hour his soul sprang into glorious liberty; and he died in the Lord.  It was his practice when any thing unpleasant occurred, to retire and pray.  On his death-bed he said to his wife, “The Lord has called me, I shall soon be gone.  I can see the angels waiting. Glory! Glory!”

An answer to Prayer.

Benjamin Joddard, was the son of the two individuals whose conduct induced W. Walpole to attend the means of grace.  Benjamin joined our society at Yarmouth, and walked uprightly several years.  He then declined for a time, but afterwards united again, and after some months was visited with a consumption.  He groaned under a spirit of bondage.  His pious mother became so concerned for the safety of her son, that she sought the Lord with importunity in private.  And one night her agony in prayer became so importunate that like Jacob she said, “I will not let thee go, unless thou bless me.”  And before day-break she obtained victory, and felt that salvation was come to her son.  When her husband rose, and was going out early to see their son, she informed him that he would find Benjamin rejoicing in God, for she knew Christ had saved him.

Accordingly, before the father could get up stairs, the son cried out, “Father, I am happy, God has pardoned all my sins.”  He continued happy his remaining days, and died in the faith.

A fellowship meeting.

In the spring quarter of 1837, we had a fellowship meeting in Yarmouth, and some of us had been expecting God to save.  The meeting opened with power and liberty.  I ventured to join the people with regard to a present salvation meeting; which I had no sooner done than the attack of the powers of darkness commenced both on my own soul and on others.  The speaking became dull and heavy; until in some a degree of carelessness was evident, and the suggestion ran through my mind, There will none be saved — the meeting is getting worse and worse.  This blow was so heavy it seemed to make me stagger, and I began to feel for my shield, and got into the best posture of defence I could; the light suddenly shone, and I clearly saw we were beleaguered by the powers of hell.  My mind was instantly supported by a powerful application of Isa. xxviii. 6, “And for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.”  I stated to the meeting the cause why there was no more liberty in the speaking, and urged the people to persevere.  But still we did not obtain the full victory until we got to prayer, when the enemy was routed in every direction, and deliverance proclaimed to some seekers.  A friend pointing to a woman said, “That woman wants saving.”  I did not go to her directly, but set myself to believe for her; and in a little time, faith in her behalf so fully rested, that I forthwith approached her, as she stood with eyes suffused with tears, and said, “Woman, you will be saved; you will be saved.”  She fell on her knees, earnestly imploring mercy; and in a few minutes was rejoicing in gospel liberty.

At a little distance sat a man with rather a strange appearance.  I went to him and began talking with him.  A L. preacher said, “He cannot speak” I said, “Never mind, God can make him feel.”  Keen distress came instantly upon him; he wrung his hands, smote on his breast, and the tears ran in profusion down his sorrow-depicted countenance.  Grief, desire, and prayer, might all have been read in his looks.  Faith and prayer were offered up in his behalf; and in a short time, the transition was remarkable; the gloom vanished as the shadows before the meridian sun: a heavenly joy beamed in his face, he smiled, rubbed his hands, then his breast, and rejoiced; showing as much joy by his looks and gestures as any liberated slave could do.  After this he regularly attended the various means of grace, and was usually present at two classes in the week.  May he continue faithful unto death; and then, I have no doubt, he will receive a crown of life.

A Class raised. — In the Spring of 1835, my wife was appointed to raise a class.  She commenced with three unconverted members.  But the Lord smiled upon them — their number multiplied, until in the year 1837, there were thirty members in this class, who knew that the Son of man had power on earth to forgive sins; several of whom also, were eminent witnesses that the blood of Christ cleanseth from all sin.  May they be preserved unto eternal life.  Amen.


Hickling. — This place was opened by N. Walsham circuit, and a chapel commenced rather prematurely.  But, falling into difficulties, the place and its chapel became attached to Yarmouth circuit before I was stationed in it.  I found the building in an unfinished state, but after harvest, it was completed, and it was opened about Michaelmas ; and gradually one difficulty after another was surmounted; and in March, 1837, the last difficulty was got over, the chapel secured to the Connexion, and placed in good circumstances.  We have a large congregation, and an increasing society.  It is an excellent country chapel; and within its walls have often assembled more than two hundred souls.

Hemsby. — A chapel was built in this place in 1830, designed for our use; and some money collected in behalf of it, by one who then had a place among us, and a name on our plan.  But the building was private property; and after some time the owner began to entertain other views of divine truth, which caused him to favour another society, whose creed was widely different from ours; in consequence of which much trouble arose, and time after time the quarter-day agreed to relinquish the chapel and occupy a cottage.  This was on account of the dissention caused by opposing doctrines being preached in the same chapel; but something always took place which prevented it.  In this state matters were when I first visited Hemsby; and for some time there was little amendment.

I opened this chapel in 1830, being then stationed in Norwich circuit and I now found some who received good at that time, still pursuing their way.  And a more lively interest began to he manifested by the friends at the place; the society increased, and towards the close of 1835, we purchased the chapel for sixty pounds, and the taking up cost six pounds, ten shillings, it being copyhold.  It is a neat chapel, and will contain near two hundred people. The society also is doing well.

Caistor was re-missioned during the Summer of 1835, with a fair prospect of success; and in 1836, we purchased land, and began to rear a house for the Lord.  But before its completion the infant cause received a deep wound.  Still the building was gone on with and finished, which is thirty-three feet long, by twenty-one wide, and and ten high to the square.  It was opened in Autumn, 1836; and notwithstanding we had to address a small audience for some time, the congregation is now gradually increasing; and perseverance will, no doubt, make this a fruitful part of our Zion.

The last quarter-day I attended in this circuit we received from Halvergate, one of the villages, an account of the society’s progress during the quarter, stating that there had been twelve converted and ten joined, one of which was the clerk of the parish.  The deliverance of one of these converts was singular and striking.  She was a wife and a mother, and considerable pains had been taken, and many prayers offered up to heaven in her behalf.  Nevertheless, some weeks previous to her conversion, she appeared to get worse and more wicked.  But the Lord made use of a local preacher in the parish, powerfully to awaken her; and shortly after, several of the friends went to her house; and after some hours of severe conflict, the Lord saved her, to the no small joy of this little company of Christian warriors; and especially her husband, and even the children rejoiced.  And she herself in giving an account of the struggle, said, “I saw the enemy of souls and two of his agents, drawing very near to me, as though they intended to tear my guilty soul away from flesh and earth; and whenever the friends ceased praying, these wicked spirits drew nearer.  So I begged of (the friends) to cry mightily to God for me; and, at length Jesus appeared, — the wicked one fled, — my soul ventured on the man transfixed on Calvary . I felt he suffered, and that for me.  I believed, and heaven sprung up in my heart.”

In the work in this village, God has used the weak, such as exhorters, preachers on trial, and the praying people at the place.


During the three years I spent in Yarmouth circuit, notwithstanding some places continued low, and never were otherwise, and a few others, from various causes, rather declined, and about thirty members died in the faith, besides various removals, &c., yet the Lord added to our number six hundred and fifty souls.  So that taking number for number, during three years, Yarmouth circuit was not second to more than one circuit in the Connexion.  ToGod be all the Glory.  Amen.


john   smith.


Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1838.  Pages 14-18; 64-69.

Comments about this page

  • David,

    Thank you for your post above. Can you give me the name of your great grandmother? Was she the person referred to in applying for membership of the Friendly Society?

    I have done an initial search of stationing records of the PM conference in the late 1830’s and have not been able to identify anyone who was stationed at Fakenham and then went on to Donington.



    By Geoff Dickinson (23/10/2017)
  • I’m trying to find some of my history and where this was left off is some information I’d like to find out about.   My great grandmother wrote a book and included in was:


    Having a desire to enter the Primitive Methodist itinerant Friendly Society,  I beg leave to lay the following statements before you. 

    I was born September 9th 1816 and converted to God April 20th 1835, Received as an accredited Local Preacher by the Quarter Day of the Yarmouth Circuit held in March 1836, and commenced my Labours as itinerant preacher on the Farkenham Circuit,  where I continued 1 Uttar and 10 months and then was given to the Donington Circuit.  

    and there’s more. 

    can you assist me with some information?  Your records seem impeccable. 

    Thanks from America, 

    David Rathbun

    By David Rathbun (22/10/2017)

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