Russell, Thomas (1806-1889)
1806-1889; e.m. 1829

PM itinerant, born at Middlewich, Cheshire on 21 December 1806. He began to preach at 19. By the time he was 23 he became known, along with John Ride, as the apostle of Berkshire, where they led a remarkable mission in the face of much persecution, especially in the vale of Wantage.In 1830 he was sentenced to three months hard labour in Abingdon gaol for preaching in the street at Chaddleworth, but the local WM and Nonconformist ministers intervened to secure his release. In 1832 he was beaten up by the mob while preaching in the market place at Wantage, and again at Faringdon and Shrivenham. From 1855 to 1862 he served in Irish circuits, beginning in Lisburn and later in Portadown. He was three times married, his first wife being his fellow itinerant, Elizabeth Smith, who shared in his pioneering work in Hampshire, but died in 1836. Although he died at Dover (on 3 January 1889), he was buried at his own request at Englesea Brook, close to his father-in-God Hugh Bourne.

  • Thomas Church (ed.), Gospel Victories or Missionary anecdotes of imprisonments, labours and persecutions endured by Primitive Methodist Preachers between the years 1812 and 1844 (1851) pp.83-7
  • Thomas Russell, Autobiography (1889)
  • Aldersgate Magazine, 1903, pp.203-7
  • H.B. Kendall, The Origin and History of the Primitive Methodist Church (1906) pp.331-5, 338-9
  • Joseph Ritson, The Romance of Primitive Methodism (1909) pp.129-31
  • W.M. Kilby, Yonder Country is Ours (2nd edn., 1986)
  • Robin Roddie, 'How Thomas Russell came to love Ireland', in Methodist Newsletter (Belfast), March 2007, pp.24-5