Cuthbert Harrison (1778--1852)
Methodist Lay Preacher, Weardale

Wearhead: Cuthbert Harrison preached in this area

Lacking any biography or obituary of Cuthbert Harrison, our view of him must be formed from other sources. We start with a couple of sentences taken from a biography of his grandson, Rev. John Watson:

His grandfather on the maternal side [Cuthbert Harrison] had no small share in forming his character in those days, and in cherishing the habits of study without which he could never have risen to the eminent Connexional position he now occupies. The grandfather was a man of considerable intellectual power and some culture, from whom several Wesleyan ministers of repute received their first lessons in theology.  [Robert Hind, 1896]

We know that Cuthbert was active in the Methodist church at an early date, as evidenced by the 1805 Hexham Circuit Plan. He had no fewer than 21 apppointments for that 8-month period.

3 August Allenheads
3 August Eastgate
10 August Frosterley
17 August Westgate
31 August High-house
7 September Wolsingham
21 September Rookhope
28 September Westgate
12 October Eastgate
26 October Westgate
2 November Wolsingham
16 November Frosterley
7 December Westgate
14 December Stanhope
21 December High-house
28 December Rookhope
4 January Eastgate
11 January Westgate
18 January Allenheads
8 February Westgate
22 February Wolsingham

How would he reach these widely-spread chapels? We may speculate that he travelled either on foot or on horseback. In particular, the trip over the mountain to Allenheads in mid-winter could not have been easy.

We find Cuthbert again on the 1825 Wolsingham Circuit Plan. In this four-month period, he was even busier, with 13 appointments:

13 March Stanhope
27 March West-Gate
10 April Burnhope
17 April Rookhope
24 April East-Gate
1 May Lane-Head
8 May High-house
15 May West-Gate
22 May Burnhope
29 May Rookhope
12 June Stanhope
19 June Lane-Head
26 June West-Gate

High House Chapel
High House Chapel

Elsewhere, a letter addressed to Cuthbert Harrison makes clear that he was a person of importance in the local Methodist church. The author was a former High House preacher, whom Cuthbert had invited to return to work with them.

His stature in local church affairs is further reinforced by his presence on the Board of Trustees of High House Chapel. Appointed a member in 1804, he remained until his death in 1852. It was he who handled correspondence with the solicitors engaged for the renewal of trustees and conveyance of the chapel in 1837.

Source #1: Durham Record Office, Correspondence to Cuthbert Harrison, refs. M/WE 277-8
Source #2: "High House Chapel, Register of Trutees", T. R. Milburn OBE, Weardale Museum
Drawing of High House Chapel: from "Weardale Chapels", Clack and Pattinson, Durham University, 1978
Postcard of Wearhead: Valentine

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