Sunderland and Stockton branches were made into one circuit at Hull September quarterly meeting, 1823, and made rapid progress during the next six months. Under date of October 15th, 1823, the superintendent writes, — "Scarcely a year has elapsed since our cause was introduced into the northern part of this circuit but though the period is short, yet abundant fruit has appeared. A glorious work has gone on for some time in Sunderland and the neighbouring collieries. In Sunderland and Monkwearmouth, on the opposite side of the river, we have nearly 400 members; and in Lord Steward's and Squire Lambton’s collieries we have near 400 more. Our congregations are immensely large, and some of the most abandoned characters have tasted that the Lord is gracious. It would do any of the lovers of Jesus good to see the dear colliers sometimes under the Word. On some occasions they are constrained to come unwashed to the preaching, or eke be too late for the sermon; and large tears rolling down their black cheeks, leaving white streaks behind, portray what their hearts feel. Their zealous exertions in the cause of God would make almost anyone love them." The colliers here mentioned lived south of the Wear, at New Penshaw, Penshaw Staithes, Shiney Row, Lumley, Philadelphia, Newbottle, East and West Rainton, Hetton, Easington Lane, &c.; and as great a reformation took place among them through the blessing of God on the labours of the missionaries, as was witnessed among the pitmen north of the Tyne.
In the town of Sunderland, the work of God also continued to spread, and numbers of sinners were turned from the error of their ways. Under date of March 16th, 1824, the superintendent writes to Mr Bourne, — “This last quarter we have had some blessed revivals in many places in this circuit; in Sunderland alone we have had an increase of one hundred and twenty-seven members. On the 1st of this month we had our quarterly meeting, when we found an increase of not less than three hundred souls. We have now nearly 1,300 members in this young circuit about seven hundred of whom have been added during the last half year."
From, ‘The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion from its origin, by John Petty, 1860, p172.