This story is about the events that happened in Newark-on-Trent in the English Midlands around 1816. A Primitive Methodist preacher, William Lockwood, began to preach in the centre of the local market-place, using a gig (a two-wheeled cart pulled by a horse) as his pulpit. However, the opposition were ready for him.
A local clergyman had arranged for a barber, (who interestingly also manufactured fireworks), to take out the town fire-engine. The barber was told to pour water on the preacher, William Lockwood. As he began to preach, Lockwood was drenched, and the bottom of the gig was filled with water. He continued to preach, and finally said to his enemy “You cannot quench the fire within!”
Hearing these words, a number of bystanders, boatmen by trade, took out their knives and cut the fire hose to pieces. William Lockwood finished his sermon, and many returned home having been deeply moved in their spirit.
However, the case was taken to court and the boatmen were taken before the magistrate to answer for the damage to the hosepipe. When it was discovered that it was the clergyman who had authorised the removal of the town fire-engine, he was compelled to pay damages.
A few weeks after this, the barber was making fireworks, when they ignited, and a violent explosion sent him through the shop window, and he was killed. After this, violent opposition to open-air services in Newark ceased, and the Primitive Methodists formed a large society.
Abridged from “Biographical Sketches of some Preachers of the Primitive Methodist Connexion”, p295-296 originally published in 1855 and republished 2002 by Tentmaker Publications 121 Hartshill Rd, Stoke-on-Trent (www.tentmaker.org.uk)