Jaquiss, James (1815-1909)

Transcription of Obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by George Cook

The death of Mr. J. Jaquiss, at the ripe age of nearly ninety-four, has removed one of the few remaining links with early Primitive Methodism in the Black Country. He was in several respects a remarkable man. He was born and grew up to manhood in Leicester, whence he removed into South Staffordshire where he became employed as a navvy on the railway. He was converted when about twenty-four years of age and joined the Dudley Circuit, where he soon became a local preacher. He became as pronounced for Christ as he had been for sin and Satan and by his zeal and fervour roused wide-spread interest in his services, his congregations increasing from month to month. Most encouraging successes crowned his labours. He was known as the “ Converted Navvy,” a name which invested him with special interest, because of the very degraded character of the navvies of that day. The doctrines of our Church commanded his firmest belief and he especially emphasised in his preaching the atoning work of Christ. He was sought after on all sides for anniversaries at which he was eminently successful

He thoroughly believed in open air services and laboured mightily therein. He prided himself in having enjoyed the intimacy of Hugh Bourne, whose characteristic sayings he delighted to repeat. After twenty years’ association with Dudley Circuit, he joined West Bromwich Circuit in which he continued until his death. Sixteen years ago through advancing years and consequent feebleness, he relinquished all appointments, but continued his earnest interest in the work of God. For some time previous to his death he was confined to his bed, but he retained his faculties to the last. While quietly and patiently awaiting the summons to depart, he manifested great peace and joy and frequently quoted verses from Wesley’s hymns and the Word of God with which his mind was richly stored. The end came peacefully and triumphantly. He was throughout his Christian life “a burning and shining light,” won many souls to Christ and left a name that will be fondly cherished by all who knew him for many years to come. “He being dead yet speaketh.”


James was born on 19 June 1815 at Coleorton, Leicestershire, to parents Samuel, a labourer, and Jane. He was baptised on 9 July 1815 at Coleorton.

Census returns identify the following occupations for James.

  • 1851 soda maker
  • 1861 labourer & grocer
  • 1871 grocer
  • 1881 general dealer
  • 1891 grocer

He married Ann Taylor  (abt1816-1882) in the spring of 1839 in the Dudley Registration District, Staffordshire.  Census returns identify six children.              

  • Mary (b abt1840) – a dressmaker (1861)               
  • Samuel (1844-1902) – a fitter (1871); a brewer’s traveller (1901)
  • Amelia (1845-1937) – married James Hingley Hughes, an iron worker (1881), in 1869
  • Ann (1847-1853)
  • Eliza (1849-1936) – married Frederick Hall, a clerk (1871), in 1871
  • Joseph (1856-1943) – a schoolmaster; headteacher (1911)

He married Mary Ann Smith (abt1833-1893) in early 1884 in the West Bromwich Registration District, Staffordshire.

James died in 1909 at West Bromwich, Staffordshire.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1909/496

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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