Mackenzie, Peter
1824-1895; e.m. 1859

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WM minister, born on 11 November 1824 at Glenshee, Perthshire, went to school at Leuchars, Fife. He worked as a farm laddie at Mildean and then in a dairy at Cupar before finding employment as a miner in Co. Durham in 1844. Converted in 1849, he became a local preacher the following year and his exceptional pulpit gifts led to his being accepted for the ministry in1858. He trained at Didsbury College. Although all but two of his ten circuits were in the North, he attracted large congregations throughout the country, bringing many people to faith. Conference then allowed him to superannuate in order to be free to accept invitations to preach and lecture more widely. His lectures, delivered with humour and dramatic effect, raised considerable sums for chapel building and missionary projects. One of his gifts was that of bringing alive characters from the Bible. Generous of his time, energy and money, he maintained a heavy schedule of engagements to the end. He died on 21 November 1895.


'Peter Mackenzie was one of the greatest natural orators of his century. He could rouse a crowd to uncontrollable enthusiasm. His epigrams, his eloquent periods, his dramatic effects, his wonderful wit and humour, his genuine originality of mind, his pathos, his stores of industrious reading, and his grand fullness of Evangelical Faith and Love, made Peter Mackenzie one of the most memorable religious forces for forty years of consecrated life.'

Dinsdale T. Young, Stars of Retrospect (1920) pp.46-7

'He must have been an embarrassment to his superintendent for he was more often out of the circuit than in it; and though his name might figure on the "Plan" as the appointed preacher at the chapel you attended on a given date, it was more than probable that a local preacher would arrive to take his place. Admittedly he was eccentric... [But] he was a great evangelist and winner of souls. Moreover, he was himself a great soul - tenderhearted to such an extent that he would empty his pockets to help the poor; interested not only in his own people, but the family of the cabman who drove him to the station, and of the porter who handled his luggage. Among men like those, there were few dry eyes when the news of his death reached the circuits where he had laboured.'

William Riley, Sunset Reflections(1957) p.73

  • Methodist Recorder, 28 Nov. 1895; Winter Number, 1892, pp.60-63
  • Joseph Dawson, Peter Mackenzie, his Life and Labours (1896)
  • Dinsdale T. Young, Peter Mackenzie as I knew him (1904)
  • George W. Davis, 'Rev. Peter Mackenzie … preacher and lecturer', in Journal of the Scottish Branch of the WHS, 28 (1998) pp.5-13; also Bulletin of the North East Branch of the WHS, 70 (Autumn 1998) pp.13-20


Entry written by: WDH
Category: Person
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