Edwards, John (1798-1886)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1880

Early years

John was born on 9 December 1798 at Lea Farm, New Radnor, Radnorshire, to parents Charles and Ann. Charles was a farmer. John was baptised on 22 December 1798 at New Radnor.

John was converted circa 1822 and within 3 months appeared in the plan as a local preacher, a position he held for 62 years.

Move to Kington, Herefordshire

When the Primitive Methodist church in Kington was nearly extinct, owing to the severity of persecution, John prevailed in the Quarterly Meeting not to take it off the plan, volunteering to go there himself and conduct a camp meeting, which he did and from that day Primitive Methodism took hold of that place.

John moved to Kington in 1828, established himself in business (as a wool merchant) and opened his warehouse for preaching services until the building of a chapel in Duke St.

When a later chapel was built in Bridge St, John paid all the bills as they fell due until it could be made connexional property.


John kept open-house for preachers. For 40 years he was the only class leader and at one stage had 70 members in his class. As a preacher he was scriptural, practical, homely and full of unction. In leading a procession and preaching at a camp meeting, it was always manifest that he was a mighty man of God.

John was elected a Deep Poll member of Conference in 1876.


John married Elizabeth Owens (1793-1865) on 11 April 1826 at Nant Melan, Radnorshire. Census returns identify one daughter.

  • Elizabeth (abt 1826-1910) – married John Norland, a carpenter

John married Martha Tomlins (1828-1895) in 1874 at Kington.

Correction: John married Martha Webster, nee Sankey, (1828-1895) in early 1872 at Newport, Monmouthshire. (See comments below.)

John died on 3 February 1886 at Kington, Herefordshire.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1880 (portrait), 1888/51

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


Comments about this page

  • Hi Geoff, Thanks for posting this biog and the picture of John Edwards. He is my great x3 Uncle: his sister Mary Ann is my great great Grandmother. I see you have identified his second wife as Martha Tomlins. This is what I thought, originally, but after reconsideration I think she was Martha Webster nee Sankey (fine Methodist surname!) who was widowed in 1869. Her first husband was John Webster who was a PM Minister, from Yorkshire, possibly the one in your records on a mission at Hoole. Martha’s sister, Mary Sankey, also married a PM Minister: William Gwillam (various spellings) and in 1861 Census recorded as a Preacher in her own right. This is all on my tree on Ancestry (Walker Family Tree) if you want to have a look. Best Wishes, Lindsay

    By Lindsay Walker (13/08/2013)
  • Lindsay, Thanks for your comment. On digging further based on your steer, the birth place of Mary Sankey at More, Shropshire fits with the Martha married to John Edwards. If that is correct, John and Martha married in Newport ,Monmouthshire in the first quarter of 1872. 

    I have corrected the page above.

    By Geoff Dickinson (13/08/2013)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.