Blythe Hurst  1806-1882



Born 6 July 1806 the son of Robert Hurst, blacksmith & Susannah Gibson. He attended  Winlaton school but was sent to work in one of the local smith’s shops when he was only 7 years of age, although he continued to attend Archdeacon Thorpe’s Sunday school until he was fifteen.By the age of eighteen he began to think seriously about religion, joined the Winlaton Methodist Chapel and became a  preacher, he said that he sometimes spoke to crowds of up to 800 people.Despite a long working day as a blacksmith he was determined to further his education. He bought a book on Greek grammar and wrote the grammar on a stone that he could read as he worked and so learnt his declensions off by heart, beating the words into his head as he worked at the anvil. He continued in this vein learning Latin, Hebrew and Syriac. 

When he was about 30 years of age he joined the Methodist New Connexion continuing as a preacher. In 1840 one of Robert Owen’s socialist missionaries lectured in the village and Blythe wrote a pamphlet entitled “Christianity No Priestcraft” in reply to these lectures. He was unable to sell the pamphlet but it was brought to the attention of Revd. Henry Wardell of St Paul’s Church. He sent a copy to the Bishop of Durham who on reading it requested to know about Blythe Hurst’s life and on the suggestion of the Bishop, Blythe entered the Church of England. The Bishop had an interview with him in Newcastle and in 1842 he went to Bishop Auckland and after passing the necessary examinations he was ordained a s a Church of England minister. He was presented with a purse of gold from the village of Winlaton as a mark of the esteem in which he as held. He was as appointed as curate to Garrigill near Alston, then Slaley and then in 1854 he was appointed Vicar of Collierly with an income of £300 per year. 

He continued with his studies and became a linguist of the highest order and in recognition of his scholarship he was awarded a Ph.D. by the University of Rostock in Germany. He was acquainted with modern European languages and a master of Hebrew, Syriac, Sanscrit, Chaldaic, Persian, Arabic and other languages of antiquity and delivered lectures on Semitic Inscriptions and Egyptian Hieroglyphics.

He married Euphemia Hurst at Holy Cross, Ryton in 1827 and they had seven children. Revd.Blythe Hurst died on 24 January 1882 age 76 years leaving an estate of £214.4s.7d. He is buried in the cemetery of St. Paul’s Church, Winlaton.

In affectionate remembrance of the

Rev. Blythe Hurst M.A. Ph.D.

Vicar of Collierly,in the County of Durham

Who died 24 June 1882 age 76 years.


History of the Parish of Ryton by William Bourn  1896

Illustrated London News No.2254,Vol LXXXI p56 15 July 1882



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