Holdsworth, James (1851-1899)

Transcription of Obituary In the Primitive Methodist Magazine by F.E. Thistlethwaite

JAMES HOLDSWORTH was born, at the village of Kelbrook, near Colne, March 11, 1851, and ended his earthly career at Burnley, July 26, 1899, at the comparatively early age of forty-eight years. He was one of the younger members of a family of eleven children, and was sent to the United Methodist Free Church Sunday School at Kelbrook, of which denomination his mother was a member, this being the only Nonconformist place of worship in the village.

When James was about ten years of age the family removed to Burnley Lane, a suburb of Burnley, and his mother became a member of what was then our Briercliffe Road Society, (now Colne Road Society, Burnley Second Circuit), and remained in membership with us until her death. Most of the members of the family attended our chapel and Sunday School, and when thirteen or fourteen years of age, James devoted his young life to God, and united in membership with our Church. The young life thus consecrated was made useful in the service of the Master, and Brother Holdsworth became one of the best workers in the society, and remained loyal to the Church of his choice to the time of his death. He enjoyed good health until his fatal illness, which was short and severe, and was borne with Christian fortitude. He succumbed to an attack of inflammation of both lungs, when in the prime of life and of service, and his demise came as a crushing blow to Colne Road Society and Sabbath School. At the time of his death he was superintendent of the Sunday School, and this was not his first term of service in that capacity. He was a trustee of the chapel, and had acted as chapel treasurer for the last ten years. He represented the trustees in the Circuit Quarterly Meeting, and was a representative of the society on the Burnley Free Church Council. When not the school superintendent he was for several years the teacher of the Young Women’s Select Class, and was in the habit of attending the school every Sunday. He was also the oldest member of the chapel choir.

Our brother was an intelligent and well-read man, and for many years took our “Quarterly Review,” and other Connexional magazines. He was good in debate, and delighted to converse on religious, social, and political topics. He was a Liberal and a teetotaler. His upright, manly character was beyond reproach. He rendered most faithful, willing, and efficient service, and never needed to be urged to do his duty. The loss of such a brother seems well nigh irreparable. To live and work with such a man was indeed a joy. He won the affection of those who knew him best, and gained the esteem of all. Amid every token of respect his mortal remains were laid to rest in Kelbrook Churchyard, on July 29, 1899. Prior to the interment a short service was held in Mount Zion Chapel, Colne Road, and was conducted by the Revs. J.E. Jones and F. E. Thistlethwaite, circuit ministers, at the close of which a large number of members and friends of the society, and the members of the choir formed in procession, and preceded the hearse to the outskirts of the town. On Sunday, July 30th, the Rev. F.E. Thistlewaite preached in Mount Zion Chapel, and made suitable reference to the decease of our brother. The “Dead March” was played by the organist, and the large congregations were deeply moved by the sad event. In the afternoon a memorial service was also held in the schoolroom, and was addressed by Brothers R. Ashworth and W, Shields. “He rests from his labours, and his works follow him.”


James was born to parents William and Ellen. William was a loomer in a cotton shed (1861)

Census returns identify the following occupations for James.

  • 1871 cotton weaver
  • 1881 butcher’s shopman
  • 1891 butcher’s shopman

James did not marry.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1901/620

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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