Revival Stories

The 1921 Fishermen’s Revival

In the years prior to the 1920’s, Scotland was devastated by the long years of death and war and disease. Men came back from the world war disillusioned, and many people were numb and weary in their faith. It was easy to seek comfort in the often ungodly entertainment and distractions of the world. Yet, there were those whose hearts did not waver. In many small villages in Scotland like Whinnyfold and Peterhead, Christians steadfastly gathered in church to pray for revival, often for hours every Sunday, early in the morning or late into the night.

To set Scotland on fire again with Holy Spirit, God used an unusual pathway by igniting spiritual flames first in the southeastern coastal town of Lowestoft in England. For years, Pastor Ferguson in Lowestoft had been grieved by how many folks had allowed their hearts to lose sight of their Savior. The town itself was growing secularized and seemed little interested in the things of God. Pastor Ferguson started a weekly prayer meeting that met on Monday evenings to seek God to release a palpable expression of His presence and power. For several years, almost a hundred townsfolk persistently sought the Lord each week.

In 1921, God orchestrated a series of Gospel meetings to take place on March 7th -11th in Lowestoft under the direction of Pastor Ferguson. Ferguson invited a minister from London, Douglas Brown, to speak at these gatherings. Pastor Brown had served the Lord for many years in London but initially resisted God’s urging to go out to preach the Gospel. He eventually surrendered completely to God to do whatever He asked. And now Brown found himself preaching at the small fishing village of Lowestoft. Over 700 gathered on that first Monday night, full of anticipation for God to move, and dozens of people gave their lives to the Lord. The Spirit of God caused larger and larger crowds to come each night. The meetings were extended to 3 weeks, but soon this revival spread out to other English towns, lasting many months and seeing many more saved.

In fall of that year, thousands of fishermen and their families made their way down from Scotland on their boats to the southeastern coast of England to catch the annual herring migration. Storms ravaged the coast that year, and the catch of fish was relatively poor and disappointing. But the workers would not be disappointed with the revival fire God had in store for them. A young evangelist named Jock Troup was working among the Scottish fishermen. God had prepared Mr. Troup by means of an encounter that resulted in total trust and surrender to the Holy Spirit. When the fishermen arrived in Lowestoft and Yarmouth, they stumbled onto full-blown revival ablaze in the towns!

Young Jock Troup partnered with Douglas Brown to preach the Gospel. Sometimes they would both be onstage, energetically and passionately calling for sinners to repent and find their Savior. There was great comraderie and unity of spirit among these revivalists. One evening in October, Troup was preaching in the open air marketplace. As the message reached its peak, the Spirit of God fell upon the audience, and huge swathes of the rough-and-tumble fishermen grappled with strong conviction of their sin. Many fell to the ground under the powerful moving of God. It was described like a battlefield of souls all around the marketplace. The very air was electric with revival fire, and in the coming days many trusted in Jesus Christ or re-dedicated themselves wholly to the Lord.

News of the revival among the fishermen quickly spread across the nation and back to the northern region of Scotland. By the time the boats made their way home and into the familiar Scottish harbors, one could hear the boisterous singing of Christian songs aboard the ships and among those waiting in the ports. The revival fires leaped from the boats to each of the towns of the fishermen, touching Port Seton, Wicks, Dundee and more. Revival meetings sprung up everywhere, even despite condemnation from some local clergy. As a result, thousands would find salvation. Addictions were broken. Pubs closed up. Gambling almost ceased. People eagerly talked of eternity, stepped out to share the Gospel with the lost, and encouraged one another as they met daily. The waves of awakening would ripple for almost 10 years in the region, immersing the nation in its transforming power.


  1. What has caused the church to feel great disappointment in recent days? Why is revival prayer so significant in these times? How are you joining in such prayer?
  2. Who do you see as being shaped and readied by God for the next great revival? What is God doing in your own life to prepare you to possibly shine for Christ in the annals of history?
  3. How did God magnificently set revival fire ablaze in one part of the United Kingdom and make the jump all the way to Scotland? Why were the fishermen the perfect channel of His Spirit awakening? Which neglected groups today might be the surprising channels of His grace and power for revival in the coming days?
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