Banks, Eliza Jane ('Sister Jeanie')

The daughter of Matthew Banks (1798-1878; e.m. 1826), a missionary in the West Indies, she served as a Sister with Peter Thompson in East London for eight years before transferring to the Wesley Deaconess Order in 1896. She was the first to be designated by T.B. Stephenson as a 'Deaconess Evangelist'. She concentrated on evangelistic work, preaching and conducting many very successful missions throughout England and from Shetland to Northern Ireland. Her nursing experience proved a great advantage in her visiting homes. In 1912 she became the first Wesley Deaconess to superannuate. She died on 11 January 1932.


'Small in stature - a "shrimp" between two stalwart fishermen, as she described herself - but with every feature and action indicative of life and energy, she at once impressed her hearers with her personality … On Sundays she preached twice to crowded congregations, nearly all of whom were men, and on other days of the week tended to the injuries of the bodies of the much-exposed fishermen and girls. "The doctor woman's" popularity there is consequently great.'

Methodist Times, quoted in Highways and Hedges, 1899 p.138

  • E.D. Graham in R. Sykes, Beyond the Boundaries (Oxford, 1998) pp.94-102
  • E.D. Graham, Saved to Serve: the story of the Wesley Deaconess Order 1890-1978 (2002) pp.57-64