Gittens, William (1837-1899)

Transcription of Obituary In the Primitive Methodist Magazine by W.F.

Our Church at Runcorn has sustained a great loss in the death of William Gittens. He was a native of Welsh Frankton, Shropshire, and a Primitive Methodist of the third generation. His grandparents‘ residence was the preaching-house. His parents were godly people, and frequently he would talk about them, and repeat passages of Scripture and verses of old hymns taught him in his early days. After the death of his mother, which occurred when he was about eighteen years of age, he and his brother decided to join the army. They went to Shrewsbury to enlist, when, to his surprise and sorrow, he was accepted and his brother rejected. He felt the separation keenly. Mr. Gittens served in India five years with the Royal Horse Artillery. He took part in several engagements in the awful mutiny, and being seriously wounded, returned to his native village. Shortly after, the Runcorn bridge was in course of construction, and he with many others, sought and found employment. He afterwards commenced business as a grocer.

On coming to Runcorn our brother began to attend the old chapel in Regent Street, and twenty years ago became a member. He held several important positions in the Church. For several years he was joint treasurer for the trust and senior society steward. He was a trustee for the chapel and schools in Greenway Road, and the mission hall in Ashridge Street. He was also an assistant class-leader; and during the erection of the new schools treasurer for the building fund. He loved the sanctuary, and esteemed the ministers and local preachers. He was accustomed to mark the text in his Bible on which they discoursed, and his recollections of their sermons were a source of joy and inspiration. Nothing afforded him greater pleasure than the properity of Zion. He regularly attended the services until prevented by illness. Our brother was a man of character, purpose, and fidelity. He was a devoted husband, kind father, genial friend, and won the respect of all who knew him. During his illness, which was borne with patience and fortitude, his hope centred in the Cross. He frequently repeated the hymns, “Jesus, lover of my soul,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Here we suffer grief and pain.”

On Nov. 5 he fell asleep in Jesus, in his sixty-third year. The large attendance at the funeral evidenced the esteem in which the deceased was held. The service was held in our Greenway Road Chapel, Revs. W. Fidoe and C. Finch officiating. On Sunday night an impressive memorial service was conducted by the Rev. W. Fidoe, who preached from John xi. 21, to a large congregation.


William was born in 1837 at Welsh Frankton, Shropshire, to parents Samuel and Sarah. Samuel worked the land (1841) and later was a boatman (1851).

Census returns identify the following occupations for William.

  • 1871 grocer
  • 1881 provision dealer
  • 1891 grocer and boot dealer

William married Emma Dalton (abt1843-1908) on 3 October 1864 at Manchester, Lancashire. Census returns identify three children.

  • Mary Ann (1865-1928) – married John Peck, a boat builder (1901), in 1891
  • William (1868-1960) – foreman, caustic department, chemical works (1911)
  • Samuel (1870-1872)

William died on 5 November 1899 at Runcorn, Cheshire.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1901/711

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Note: Most records have the surname as ‘Gittins’.

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