South Shields, and the colliery district lying between the Tyne and the Wear, were made into a separate circuit in September 1823, at the same quarterly meeting at which Sunderland and Stockton branches were made into a circuit; and this new circuit also made rapid advancement during the year. Three months after its formation, Mr Branfoot, the superintendent, writing to the editor of the Magazine, says: "I am glad to inform you that the work of the Lord is prospering here. This last quarter our increase of members is 140. We have now 551 members in the circuit. We have a large and commodious chapel, which seats near nine hundred persons, and our temporal concerns are in a good state."
Four or five months later he writes, — "The work of God in this circuit is greats glorious, and extensive. In all parts of it, the work has been very rapid, and some of the most depraved characters have been brought to the blood of sprinkling, and are now savingly acquainted with the Lord Jesus." A great work of grace was witnessed especially at Hebbum, a colliery a few miles from Shields. Mr Branfoot says, — "It is only a year since we first went to Hebburn, and now we have six classes and one hundred members." The society in the town also prospered greatly. On the 7th of March, 1824, a love-feast was held there, at which, it was supposed, twenty souls were brought into Christian liberty. At the quarterly meeting held on the following day, the town society appears to have numbered three hundred members. ''This is the second quarter day since South Shields was made into a circuit," says Mr Branfoot, ''and our increase for the half year is three hundred and forty. In South Shields town we have three hundred members."
From, ‘The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion from its origin, by John Petty, 1860, p173.