Burks (or Birks), Mary

PM preacher. She was born on 2 February 1796 at East Stockwith, Lincs, of poor but industrious parents and attended an Independent chapel with her mother. She went into service at 14 and was influenced by a WM revival in the village. She was converted in Hull under the PMs, who recognized her 'strong constitution and considerable mental power, associated with vigorous and growing piety'. She became a local preacher and then, in 1822, a travelling preacher in the Scotter Circuit. She was described as 'strong and compact' in figure, with 'an air of resolute determination in her manner'. She was said to be over 6 ft. tall, with a powerful voice and forceful personality and is said to have (unsuccessfully) petitioned the Hull Quarterly Meeting in 1828 to buy her an ass to ride to her appointments! Taken ill during her last circuit appointment (Hull, 1834-1835), she retired to her native East Stockwith in the Scotter Circuit, where she was a class leader, taking services as a local preacher when her health permitted. She died after a three-week illness on 22 January 1837.

  • PM Magazine, 1837 pp.451-52
  • John Davison, The Vessel of Beaten Gold, or a Memoir and Correspondence of the late Miss Mary Burks (Grimsby, 1840)
  • H.B. Kendall in Primitive Methodist Leader, 5 December 1907, p.843
  • E. Dorothy Graham, Chosen By God (1989)


See also

Entry written by: EDG
Category: Person
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