Local preacher and buckle-maker, born at Kirby Overblow, Yorks, he was nicknamed 'Old Chapter and Verse' because of his ability to quote scripture. Convinced of sin under the preaching of William Grimshaw in 1751, he found peace with God and cleansing from sin in 1762. He was a simple but effective preacher in the Leeds Circuit and as far afield as North Lincs, Hulland the North and East Ridings, but declined to become an itinerant or an Independent pastorate. In York from 1782, he became the leader of a large class. His son John Burdsall and his grandson John Lyth both entered the ministry.
John Burdsall (c. 1776-1861; e.m. 1796) came under suspicion in 1805 of being heretical on the doctrine of original sin and received a letter from the Conference warning him of the consequences of 'unscriptural notions on this and other essential points of doctrine connected with it'. From his continuation as a Methodist preacher it can be assumed that he was able to satisfy the Conference of 1806 of his orthodoxy. But it was clearly his case which persuaded the Conference of that year to authorise the drawing up of a 'Digest of Methodist Doctrine' He edited the Works of Daniel Isaac (3 volumes, 1840-1841),