Arnold, James William (known as William) (1860-1945)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1928
with thanks to Marjorie Morgan
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1928

Early years

William was born on 30 December 1860 at Everdon, a village about thirteen miles from Northampton, to parents Matthew and Ellen. Matthew was a shoe-maker. William was one of fourteen children; family life was a struggle and William recalled that in those days he always felt hungry.

William started work as at six years of age scaring crows. He earned eighteen pence per week and his dinner on Sundays. There was no Sunday school in the village and the family did not attend worship at the Parish Church.

William overcame these early difficulties through religion and hard work. He entered the town, Northampton, in his teens and began by attending the services of the Established Church. Later he found his way to the Kettering Road, PM Church during the ministry of Rev George Parkin. At once he became a member and in a few years an official.

Business Life

William followed his father into the shoe-making business, working initially as a riveter. By 1901 William had become a shoe manufacturer,

Contribution to the Connexion

For twenty-one years William served as a Society Steward. He later became Circuit Steward.

William was Vice-President of Conference in 1927.

Contribution to the Community

William served on the Northampton Town Council as a Liberal candidate.


William married Elizabeth Harriet Walker (1860-1921) in late 1885 at Northampton, Northamptonshire. Census returns identify ten of eleven children.

  • William (1886-1978) – a boot and shoe manufacturer; father of Sir Malcolm Henry Arnold
  • Matthew (1887-1963) – a bootmaker
  • Thomas (1889-1940) – assisting in the family business (1911)
  • Harriet (1890-1982) – married Frederick Reginald Harris, an accountant
  • Harry (b1892) – assisting in the family business (1911)
  • Alfred Walker (1893-1955) –assisting in the family business (1911)
  • Annie (b1895)
  • James (b1896) – assistant in family business (1911)
  • Grace (b1899)
  • Ellen Joy (1902-1982) – married Clifford Rhodes in 1926

William married Susan Bennett Trotter (abt 1881-1952) in late 1921 at Ormskirk, Lancashire.

William died on 2 August 1945 at Northampton, Northamptonshire. William left an estate valued at almost £28,000.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1928/33

B A Barber, A Methodist Pageant, 1932, p284

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • William Arnold was my Great, Great Grandfather. His second oldest son, Mathew was my Grandfather’s Dad. Mathew and Minnie Arnold had three children- Ronald, Edwin and Mary.

    I have the privilege of being the keeper of a privately published book about William Arnold in which much of his involvement with the Church is described.

    By Nigel R.E. Goulding (21/02/2023)
  • Further information about Harry ARNOLD, born 16th March 1882. He was my father and he passed away on the 13th May 1968 in Bournemouth.

    By Harry William ARNOLD (03/07/2018)

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