Giles, James (1831-1909)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1910

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by E.E.F.

Bro. Giles, a member of our Friar Street Chapel, Reading, who passed away on November 14th, 1909, at the age of 78 years, was born at Hungerford, Berks. He was converted when a lad of 15 years of age, and soon evinced ability and enthusiasm, which marked him out for useful service. About two years after his conversion our brother was placed on the preacher’s plan, and became known all around as the boy preacher. As a mere youth he created a big impression at a huge camp meeting held at Hungerford Downs, at which, in spite of considerable opposition at the outset, many souls were saved. 

During one portion of his life Bro. Giles worked in close association with Joseph Arch, on behalf of the agricultural labourers.

In the year 1879 our brother removed to Reading, and at once became a member of our Friar Street Church, with which also his numerous family have ever since been associated. Here he devoted himself most whole-heartedly to the work of preaching the Gospel.

The eventide of our brother’s life has been clouded with much affliction. For several years he has been laid aside from active labour through continued ill-health.

The funeral took place on November 19th, 1909, and was conducted by Revs. W. Raistrick and E.E. Fisher.


James was born abt1831 at Hungerford, Berkshire, to mother Susan. He was baptised on 28 August 1831 at Hungerford. Census returns for 1841 and 1851 suggest that he was brought up by his grandparents, William, a bricklayer (1841), and Jane.

Census returns identify the following occupations for James.

  • 1851 agricultural labourer
  • 1861 no occupation
  • 1871 labourer
  • 1881 labourer at biscuit factory
  • 1891 general labourer
  • 1901 no occupation

He married Elizabeth Hobbs (abt1837-1907) in late 1855 in the Newbury Registration District, Berkshire. Census returns identify twelve children.

  • Jane (b1856) – a servant (1871); married William Cox, a timber porter (1891), in 1879
  • Elizabeth Ann (b1857)             
  • James (1858-1862)
  • William (1861-1943) – a boot repairer (1911)
  • Rena (abt1863-1945) – married John Simmonds, a general labourer, in 1883               
  • Edward (1865-1931) – a domestic coachman (1901)
  • Charles (1867-1925) – a tin box maker (1911)
  • Sarah (b1870) – a domestic servant 91891)
  • Frederick (1872-1881)
  • Matilda Mary (abt1874-1962) – married Walter Charles Marshall, a licensed victualler (1911), in 1896
  • Henry John (1875-1958) – a general painter (1911); a fireman (1939)
  • Edith (1877-1958) – married William Frederick Lusted, a lift driver (1911), in 1897

James died on 14 November 1909 at Reading, Berkshire.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1910/234

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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