Brownhill, John Justice (1840-1915)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by J. Mainwaring

The Walsall Circuit has sustained a great loss through the death of John J. Brownhill, which occurred on Saturday, June 26th, at the age of seventy-five years. For twenty-one years he was circuit secretary, and society steward and treasurer of the Stafford Street Church. 

He was a born Primitive Methodist. Both his parents were preachers in the early days of the Connexion. Indeed, his mother, when only sixteen years of age, became a travelling preacher and laboured on a number of circuits, her name then being Elizabeth Johnson. The subject of this memoir was one of a family of ten—a family which became very well known in Walsall, three brothers becoming Mayors of the Borough.

Unlike these, John J. Brownhill took no prominent part in municipal affairs. He will ever be remembered for his unfailing loyalty, his deep devotion, and his unstinted service in behalf of Primitive Methodism. When the new church was being built in Stafford Street he threw his whole energy into the undertaking. The funeral service was conducted in Stafford Street Church by Revs. J. Mainwaring and F. R. Brunskill prior to the interment in  Ryecroft Cemetery.


John was born in late 1840 at Bilston, Staffordshire, to parents Wiiliam Brownhill, a blast furnace manager (1851), and Elizabeth Johnson.

Census returns identify the following occupations for John.

  • 1851 scholar
  • 1861 machinist
  • 1871 iron founder employing six men
  • 1881 iron founder
  • 1891 iron founder
  • 1901 proprietor brickworks
  • 1911 retired iron founder

He married Mary Holland Baker (1859-1939) in late 1886 at Walsall, Staffordshire. Census returns identify six of seven children.

  • Beatrice Mary (1887-1893)
  • Elizabeth Kate (1888-1974) – a manufacturer’s clerk (1911)
  • Arthur John (1890-1904)
  • Gladys Mary (1895-1974) – a teacher (1921); married Herbert H Preece in 1922
  • William Edward (1897-1973) – a clerk (1921)
  • Harold James (1898-1973) – a draughtsman (1921)

John died on 26 June 1915 at Walsall, Staffordshire.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1915/828

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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