Sammy Hoyle of Norland

By Michael Haykin.

Sammy Hoyle (1800–1873) of Norland, an isolated village near Halifax in the West Riding of Yorkshire, was a Methodist lay preacher of the nineteenth century. Converted to Methodism from a life of gambling, he became a powerful lay preacher who was never afraid to speak his mind in the pulpit or out of it.[1]

On one occasion, a man in a local pub was heard to declare that “not a word in the Bible is true.” The publican sent for Sammy to reason with the man. When Sammy came into the pub, he went up to the man and immediately grabbed his nose and twisted it so violently that blood came spurting out. Sammy then quoted Proverbs 30:33 to the man, namely, “the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood.” “Nah then,” he said in his broad Yorkshire accent, “is that trew? Ay an t’rest on it is an’ all!”

In another version of this story, he used a pair of pliers to wring the man’s nose.[2] Needless to say, this is not a recommended method of apologetics!

P.S. I am indebted to Gervase Charmley for drawing my attention to the fearless Sammy Hoyle of Norland.

Michael A.G. Haykin Professor of Church History The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary


[1] See the account of his life in See David Whiteley, ed., Illustrious Local Preachers (Bradford: Thornton & Pearson, 1891), 254–262.

[2] See Whiteley, ed., Illustrious Local Preachers, 257.