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Eyemouth

The Scottish village of Eyemouth on the east coast of Berwickshire was traditionally a centre of the herring fishing. In 1831 the Berwick PM Circuit was formally constituted, having briefly, but not permanently, missioned Eyemouth a year earlier. It was William Lister who finally established a PM cause here in 1834, the ‘old Barque’ chapel being opened in 1835. The society declined in the 1840s and abandonment was considered but a revival in 1859 under John Snaith firmly established the cause.. Following a further revival in the 1870s, it became an independent circuit in 1876. Eyemouth was one of a series of fishing villages, including Filey, Scarborough, Great Yarmouth and St. Ives, Cornwall, in which PM had a strong 19th century presence.

On Friday, 14th October 1881, 129 Eyemouth fishermen were lost in a terrible gale; 25 of these were PM members, and others were adherents; this left 19 widows and 90 fatherless children. Struggling to survive, in 1893 the church was forced to rejoin the Berwick Circuit. It was not until 1921 that Eyemouth again became a circuit; but a decline in the fishing industry resulted yet again in its becoming part of the Berwick PM circuit in 1926.

The present church, a gothic design, was formally opened in 1905 by the Rev. A.T. Guttery. In 2003 the Methodists joined the Scottish Congregationalists, having sold their building to that denomination.

A number of notable PM, preachers began their itinerant ministry at Eyemouth, including Hugh Gilmore and William Johnson, later principal of what became Hartley College (1903-1908). William Lister was responsible for the conversion of the Rev. Dr. William Landells (1823-1899), who came from Eyemouth and became one of the leading Baptist preachers of his generation.

Sources

  • W. Patterson, Northern Primitive Methodism (London, 1909)
  • Souvenir Booklet of Eyemouth Methodist Church: centenary celebrations, 1834-1934 (Eyemouth, 1934)
  • In Wesley's Footsteps: the bicentenary of Berwick Methodist Church 1797-1997 (1997), pp.34-6

Entry written by: DCD
Category: Place

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