Tom and Hannah Townsend of Shipley

Obscure Provincial Lives

Cover of book by Kate Askew

Pavements and drains

‘I suppose what endears Tom Townsend to us is that he was a man whose religious faith issued in pavements and drains, in fair contracts and free education, in public probity and plenty of high tea with entertainments. He was a preaching puritan of whom it was said “He had that genial friendly spirit which always seemed to take a warmth and glow wherever he went”.

This is the concluding paragraph of a wonderful family history, thoroughly researched and delightfully written by Kate Askew.

Reading the story

This history was privately printed in 1996, and a copy is available through the West Riding library service.  You can read a copy (without the illustrations) by clicking on the link below.

People who appear in the history and their significance

Tom Townsend (1848-1903): attended Jubilee Chapel in Scarborough; trustee at Shipley Primitive Methodist Chapel; Liberal; member of School Board; Sunday School superintendent; Blue Ribbon Temperance Society manager; West Riding County Concillor.

Luke Townsend (1815-88): trustee of Primitive Methodist Chapel at Drighlington, Yorkshire; member of Oddfellows Lodge; Governor of the Free School.

Albert John Wigley: Primitive Methodist minister; married Elizabeth Townsend.

Hannah Townsend, nee Mortimer (1850-1925): first woman representative to Primitive Methodist Conference in 1899; founder member of Women’s Liberal Association; elected to School Board.

Elizabeth Mortimer, nee Grayshaw (1823-77): early Primitive Methodist women travelling preacher; founder of Shipley branch of Good Templars (temperance organisation)

Joshua Mortimer (1809-90): trustee of Primitive Methodist chapel in Shipley.

It is a wonderful history, which shows how Primitive Methodists lived out their faith through service to the community at every level, helping to combat poverty, care for those in need, fight against injustice, and practise equality.


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