Blackburn, Richard Stead

Primitive Methodist missionary to Fernando Po, Equatorial Guinea. He was born at Pontefract on 5 November 1850, into a family belonging to the Horsefair WM Church. He was converted at 15 and at 19 transferred his membership to the Micklegate PM Church, attracted by their more positive evangelism and stance on the issue of temperance. He was soon placed on the circuit plan and showed himself to be an active and dedicated local preacher. Accepted for the ministry in 1875, he spent three years in the Bingley PM circuit, then responded to a call to serve in the new mission on Fernando Po. When his colleague, William Holland, was banished by the Spanish authorities, he found himself working in isolation and in the face of both a difficult climate and strong persecution. After only seven months, he died, probably of cerebral malaria, on 22 April 1879, while his fiancée was on her way out to join him. The first PM missionary to die on the field, he was commemorated by a memorial tablet transferred from the Micklegate chapel to it replacement after a disastrous fire in 1965.

  • Ralph Lowery, in D.C. Dews (ed.), From Mow Cop to Peake 1808-1932 (Leeds, 1988) pp.73-78