Coxhoe (1843)

Mary Porteus was in the Sunderland Circuit when Durham and several adjacent collieries were made into a distinct station in 1838, and she, with George Tindall as superintendent, was sent there. The collieries were mostly new ones, the roads were excessively bad in winter time, and after twelve months labour her health completely failed, and she retired from the work she had been so successfully engaged in for fourteen years. Many glorious revivals had taken place, however, during the year. Take the outbreak at Coxhoe as a specimen. When the colliery was first opened there, the Primitives very soon got a cottage to preach in and started a society. A noted sinner went into the service one Sunday morning. The man, unwashed, unkempt, seated himself behind the door, became serious during the service and lingered behind the congregation at the close. "We are going to hold a class-meeting, will ye stop? "This from the leader to the prodigal, who answered: "Aa think aa will." Before the members the man declared that he intended henceforth to serve God; and when he went home, he went straight to a drawer, drew out a pack of cards, and cast them into the fire. Not a word had he spoken to his wife, who, when she saw what her husband did, instantly threw a shovelful of coals on the fire, burying the cards, and exclaimed: "Aye, man; hoo s this come te pass?"

He told her he had been at the "Ranters meeting," and that he was going back again. She went with him in the evening, and in the fellowship meeting she said: "The Lord bless ye for what you've done for ma canny man." The conversion of this couple made a stir in the new village, for the man was the leader of a Company of sword-dancers. His mates went to chapel, most of them were converted, and numbers more were brought to the Lord. The swords used for dancing were sold (to be converted into "gully" knives) for the purpose of purchasing Bibles and hymn books.

Since that upheaval, there were other visitations of gracious seasons, notably in the autumn of 1857, when James A. Bastow and his helpers directed large numbers of penitents to the Saviour, and the converting work went on, there and in other parts of the circuit, for weeks.

‘Northern Primitive Methodism’ by W M Patterson, published 1909, page 284.

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