Anderson, Capt Edward

A farmer's son from Kilham on the Yorkshire wolds, born at West Lutton. After a period working for his father as a shepherd, at the age of 18 he went to sea, eventually becoming master of the 'Jemima', trading between London and Lisbon. He had many escapades, including shipwreck, capture by French privateers and seizure by the press-gang. Influenced by the preaching of his brother Henry Anderson (1766-1843; e.m. 1791), WM minister at Pitt Street chapel,Liverpool, he returned to Kilham, was converted by the testimony of a blind basket-maker during a class-meeting and became a local preacher, an anti-slavery advocate and temperance reformer.

Two letters he wrote in 1804 and 1805 described his dissatisfaction with the growing worldliness of the Wesleyans and are now at Englesea Brook museum.

Hearing of the Primitive Methodists, he attended the first camp meeting at Mow Cop in 1807 and it was he who extemporized and raised a flag to direct people to the ground. Eventually he settled in Hull, joined the Mill Street PM society. He wrote an autobiographical poem The Sailor and Experience, which he recited at the camp meeting. He afterwards wrote an eye-witness account of it entitled Reflections on the camp meeting held upon Mow…. (Warrington, 1807). He died in Hull on 20 August 1846 and was buried along with other members of his family in Kilham churchyard.

  • W. Sanderson, 'Remarks on the Life and Death of Captain Anderson', in PM Magazine, 1848 p.49
  • Frederick Ross, Celebrities of the Yorkshire Wolds (1878), pp.21-2
  • Henry Woodcock, Piety among the Peasantry, being sketches of Primitive Methodism on the Yorkshire Wolds (1889), p.141
  • Valerie Tonks, The Andersons: the history of a Kilham family (Hull, 1986)
  • Kay Laister, 'Captain Edward Anderson', in Journal of the Yorkshire Branch of the WHS, Spring 2007 pp.11-16
  • Methodist Recorder, 11 March 2010
  • 'Edward Anderson (1763-1843: sailor, poet, and Primitive Methodist', in

Ranters Digest 13 (Spring 2016), pp.16-24