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James North (1725-99)

James North was born at Rothwell near Leeds, of Anglican parentage. He began to attend Methodist preaching in 1747 and was converted through the ministry of William Nelson, brother of the famous itinerant John Nelson. North succeeded in persuading his family to join the Methodists and they later founded the earliest Methodist society in Rothwell. They were instrumental in the erection of the first chapel.

For many years, North served as a local preacher, class-leader and chapel trustee. He was invited by John Wesley to join the itinerancy but declined on the grounds that he could do more good in his own neighbourhood.

North married in 1755 and fathered five children, three of whom survived him. He provided hospitality for visiting preachers and often preached himself to good effect in surrounding villages and as far afield as York.

He died suddenly in April 1799 while at his son's house in Wakefield, where he had arranged to meet his daughter to accompany her back to Rothwell.

Source: Methodist Magazine 1800, 197-202.

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