Sigston, James

Click to enlarge

Leeds organ caseProtestant Methodist leader, born on 11 December 1780, near Morley, Yorks. He ran a school, Sigston's Academy, in Leeds and was locally active in radical politics. Originally a WM local preacher, he was greatly influenced by William Bramwell, whose Life he wrote. He led a small revivalist secession, the 'Kirkgate Screamers', in Leeds in 1803, returned to WM in 1807, but with Matthew Johnson was a leader of the opposition in the Leeds Organ Case in 1827. He drew up a constitution for the Protestant Methodists, was their first President in 1829 (and again in 1833), and opened the first Protestant Methodist chapel. He was President of the WMA in 1839. He died on 26 January 1865.


'He was a noticeable, though not a distinguished-looking personage… He was an eager-eyed and wedge-faced personality, with mobile features and a penetrating glance, quick and sudden in his movementsand with an incisive and decisive tone, and the self-reliant look of one acustomed to lay down the law. He was best known to the Connexion as the bosom-friend and the biographer of William Bramwell, the revivalist, who died beneath his roof. This had thrown around him a certain hagiographic halo, and, along with his reputation for superior culture and intellegence, had invested him with considerable influence and popularity. Mr. Sigston had published a theological tractate which indulged in self-sufficient speculation, not restrained by Holy Writ, and this he had laboured hard to introduce into Sunday-school and other libraries. But both before and after 1827 he showed himself about as hard to work with as to deal with; and it was affirmed in Conference that for some years before the organ discords he had absented himself from Leaders' Meetings.'

Benjamin Gregory, Side Lights on the Conflicts of Methodism (1898) pp.66-67

  • Benjamin Gregory, Side Lights on the Conflicts of Methodism (1898), Chap. III