Hugh Bourne

Hugh Bourne (1772 - 1852)

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Hugh Bourne
Born in Ford Hay Farm, nr Stoke on Trent, Staffordshiremap
Brother of
Died in Bemesley Green, Norton, Staffordshiremap
Profile last modified | Created 20 Mar 2014 | Last significant change: 6 Feb 2019
08:07: Gillian (Platts) Causier edited the Biography for Hugh Bourne (1772-1852). (very small correction to wording (that instead of the)) [Thank Gillian for this]
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Categories: Notables.


Hugh Bourne is Notable.

Hugh Bourne was born on 3 April 1772 at Ford Hayes Farm,[1] Ford Hayes Lane, Bucknall, near Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire.[2] He was the third son and fifth child of Joseph and Ellen (nee Steele). [3] He was christened on 19 April 1772 at Bucknall cum Bagnall.[4]

Hugh was initially schooled at home (due to the remoteness of the farm and the family's economic position) but when he was 7, and as he was a quick learner his father sent Hugh to Mr Cooper's school at Werrington, in Caverswall Parish - a 2 mile walk each way.[5] This was possibly with a view to have Hugh "brought up for a parson". Hugh was later sent to the church endowed school in nearby Bucknall, although work on the farm often kept him away from his lessons. Finally, all thought of him becoming a parson "evaporated into the air" and his father took Hugh out of school to train him in his own trades as farmer and wheelwright. [6]

When Hugh was 17, the family moved from Ford Hay farm to Bemersley in 1788 [7] and soon after Joseph Bourne ceased working in the timber and wheelwrighting trades. Hugh now worked for his uncle, William Sharratt, at Milton (3 miles from Bemersley) and although he was "never fond on wheelwrighting" he became proficient in engineering.[8]

Another advantage of working for his Uncle, was that Hugh was now exposed to a wider range of people. He was a natural people watcher and "his native rusticity received a polish from his observation of persons and things." His Uncle's large business also meant that Hugh had to travel, by foot, some considerable distances and so he began to see more of the world, whilst having plenty of time to think.[9]

Hugh was always a great reader and believed strongly in self-improvement, he read widely about all subjects, including works about the Quakers, and text by Wesley and others on Methodism. The Bourne family practice had been to attend the "established church" (ie Church of England) but since Hugh began reading the methodist magazine, he attended the methodist preaching service with his mother and brother James.[10]

In June 1799, Hugh joined the Wesleyans, and attended preaching with zeal, but struggled to remember the content afterwards.[11]

1800 saw Hugh working in and around Mow Cop in the Staffordshire moorlands and he was shocked by the "immorality and ungodliness" of the residents. It was rare for a stranger not to be assaulted or at least insulted in the area. This effected him so much that the following year he returned to the area and built a chapel. [12] There was a blacksmith in the area that Hugh often worked with and their conversations often turned to religion. On August 17th 1800[13] Hugh wrote of his own conversion and gave this to the smith. Later the smith in conversation with another local man, a poacher called Daniel Shubotham (who was also a distant cousin of Hugh) referred to this and the impact this had on Daniel was enormous. He went to Hugh to learn more... Hugh's own diary explains that he was sorrowful that he had not been able to express himself as well as he had hoped. The following day he met Daniel again and this time he was able to preach in such a way that Daniel changed his behaviour so much people believed Hugh had driven him mad. [14]

Daniel's conversation was the first of many, but perhaps more significantly for Hugh, it was Daniel who convinced him that he should start preaching. "Our chapels were coal pit banks ... we preached gospel to all, good or bad, rough or smooth." [15] These soon became organised prayer meetings,[16] however Hugh wanted teaching classes to take place too -but the demand was to hear him preach and so at 2pm on Sunday 12 July 1801 he made hist "first attempt" worrying that he may "injure the cause of God" and expecting only a dozen or so people; but so many turned out that the house he planned to use soon filled up and overflowed, so he preached outdoors on what became "the perfect day."[17]


The 1851 census records that on the night of 30 March that year, Hugh was visiting James and Harriett Broad at their home on Park Street, Congleton. Hugh is described as a 79 year old, unmarried Licensed Primitive Methodist teacher, born in Stoke on Trent, Staffordhsire.[18]

Hugh died on 11 October 1852 aged 80 1/2 years, the cause of death being "old age and infirmity"[19] although "died from a mortification of his foot " is often quoted.[20][21] He is buried at Englesea Brook Chapel [22] his grave is also listed on [23] His headstone reads "Sacred to the memory of the venerable Hugh Bourne chief founder of the Primitive Methodists"


  1. The farm is known as Ford-Hay, Ford Hay or Ford Hayes in different publications.
  2. [ Wikipedia
  3. Walford, 1854, p10
  4. "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 2 April 2015), Hugh Bourne, 19 Apr 1772; citing BUCKNALL CUM BAGNALL,STAFFORD,ENGLAND, reference ; FHL microfilm 873,640.
  5. Walford, 1854, pp18-19
  6. Walford, 1854, pp19-20
  7. Walford, 1854, p21
  8. Walford, 1854, pp22-23
  9. Walford, 1854, pp23-24
  10. Walford, 1854, p 39
  11. Walford, 1854, pp42-44
  12. Walford, 1854, pp45-48
  13. Walford, 1854, p56
  14. Walford, 1854, pp58-31
  15. Walford, 1854, p62
  16. Walford, 1854, pp 64-69
  17. Walford, 1853, pp76-78
  18. "England and Wales Census, 1851," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 November 2017), Hugh Bourne in household of James Broad, Congleton, Cheshire, England; citing Congleton, Cheshire, England, p. 17, from "1851 England, Scotland and Wales census," database and images, findmypast ( : n.d.); citing PRO HO 107, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.
  19. Death Certificate HC 930464 (Hugh Bourne) copy dated 25/4/2003
  20.,_Hugh_(DNB00) Page 938 in the book version referenced by Ancestry
  21. "England and Wales, Death Registration Index 1837-2007," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 March 2015), Hugh Bourne, 1852; from "England & Wales Deaths, 1837-2006," index, findmypast ( : 2012); citing Death, Leek, Staffordshire, England, General Register Office, Southport, England.
  22. Englesea Brook Chapel & Museum
  23. Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 27 January 2019), memorial page for Hugh Bourne (3 Apr 1772–11 Oct 1852), Find A Grave Memorial no. 26463663, citing Englesea Brook Chapel, Englesea-Brook, Cheshire East Unitary Authority, Cheshire, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8)

Walford, John. (1854) Memoirs of the Life and Labours of the late venerable Hugh Bourne: By a member of the Bourne family. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. (ISBN 978-1-108-02498-3) "This volume, first published in 1854 and written by Bourne's nephew John Walford, contains a detailed biography of Bourne."

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Hugh is 49 degrees from Jelena Eckstädt, 30 degrees from Theodore Roosevelt and 33 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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