Crossfield, Elijah (1845-1916)

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

In the passing of Mr. Elijah Crossfield, Otley Church and Circuit have lost one of their noblest characters. He was one of the finest types of Primitive Methodists. Born of Christian parents, in Armley, Leeds, seventy-one years ago, he at the age of sixteen, gave his heart to the Lord Jesus. And never was consecration more complete. As a Sunday school teacher, we should imagine that his record has been seldom equalled. Never once late during the long term of fifty-four years. Never once absent without providing a substitute. The outstanding feature of his life was his genuine, wholesome religiousness. Religion to him was the one thing in life. How he loved the services of the sanctuary! How he enjoyed a real live prayer-meeting! How he revelled in a homely testimony meeting!

Another feature in him which was much admired was his child-like confidence in God. His faith found continuous expression in marked generosity. His gifts to the Church were neither meagre nor few, and were never heralded in the market-place. When urged to retire from business, he pleaded: “If I retire, I shall not be able to give as much to the Church.”

He was an upright employer of labour. No man must use unclean speech in his presence. No man must scamp work in his shop. He was faithful in all his dealings. He was a devoted husband and father. He has left ten children and grandchildren—a heritage of the highest value. And most of them are not only connected with the Church—they are workers and officials therein. As a citizen he won honour and esteem. This was notably evident at the memorial service held in our Otley Church prior to the interment, which was attended by the M.P. for this division and other leading townsmen.

Twelve months before his death he was suddenly smitten down with a sickness which prevented all further attendance at public worship. And yet there was no murmuring, no complaining. The faith that sustained him during: days of vigour and health, was sufficient in the day of trial.

The memorial service, held on December 23rd was conducted by the circuit ministers, a most chaste address being delivered by the Rev. Jackson Harding, a former minister of the circuit, and a friend of the Crossfield family of many years standing. All our thoughts of him are grateful and inspiring.


Elijah was born in late 1845 at Armley, Leeds, Yorkshire, to parents Timothy Crossfield, a woollen spinner (1851), and Ann Wilson.

Census returns identify the following occupations for Elijah.

  • 1851 scholar
  • 1861 moulder of iron
  • 1871 iron moulder
  • 1881 iron founder
  • 1891 iron moulder
  • 1901 printer’s engineer
  • 1911 foreman iron moulder

He married Elizabeth Davison (1847-1919) on 2 April 1866 at Bradford Cathedral, Yorkshire. Census returns identify ten of fourteen children.

  • Ann (1867-1935) – a dressmaker (1891); married Arthur Bartle, a foreman fitter (1911), in 1894             
  • Joseph Wilson (1869-1940) – printer’s engineer iron turner
  • Helena (1871-1941) – married Henry Crowe, a draper (1911), in 1892
  • Timothy (1874-1939) – iron founder (1911); emigrated to Australia in 1922
  • Edith Hannah (1876-1916) – married William Henry Renwick, a joiner & wheelwright (1901), in 1899               
  • John (1878-1926) – company secretary (1901)
  • Clara Ethel (1882-1956) – married John Wilson Briggs, an iron moulder (1911), in 1908
  • Lilian Elizabeth (1884-1950) – died in Australia
  • Wilfred Elijah (1886-1978) – a railway clerk (1911)
  • Henry Davison (1889-1961) – an elementary school teacher (1911)

Elijah died on 21 December 1916 at Otley, Yorkshire.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1917/657

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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