Neville, William (1827-1914)

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

A link with the romantic days of Primitive Methodism was broken by the passing of Mr. W. Neville, of Norton Canes, on October 20th, 1914. One of his proudest memories was that Hugh Bourne had on two occasions stayed and slept at the home where he, as a young man, lodged. Born at Cannock Wood eighty-seven years ago, our brother early lost his father, and the widow was compelled to take her family of six children to Wednesbury workhouse.

Removing to Walsall, William went to work at the colliery. Converted in his “twenties,” he soon afterwards went to reside at Norton Canes, where, through his efforts, Primitive Methodism was introduced. Within the year a chapel was built, and he became the first teacher of the Sunday school which he founded. He taught himself to read, rising every morning at three o’clock to pursue his studies; became an acceptable local preacher, and subsequently filled most of the important offices of the Church. 

Many times he represented Lichfield Circuit at the District Synod, and was appointed delegate to Conference six times. Ten years ago he was elected a deed poll member. 

Greatly respected in the village and district, he was for twenty years entrusted with the guardianship of the very work-house in which he lived as a boy. A man of sterling worth and deep Christian piety, he was a Primitive Methodist to the core. He possessed a kindly nature which betrayed itself in continuous acts of surreptitious liberality and helpfulness. Frank and fearless in his criticisms of what he deemed to diverge from the right, he had the best interests of his Church at heart, and no sacrifice was considered too great for her weal.


William was born abt1827 at Cannock Wood, Staffordshire, to parents George and Hannah. He was baptised on 3 March 1833 at All Saints, Forton, Staffordshire.

Census returns identify the following occupations for William.

  • 1861 coal miner
  • 1871 charter master
  • 1881 farmer
  • 1891 coal miner
  • 1901 miner coal hewer below ground
  • 1911 farmer

He married Ellen Craddock (1834-1874) in late 1852 in the Walsall Registration District, Staffordshire. Census returns identify ten children.

  • Thomas (1853-1938) – coal miner (1871); district superintendent – Prudential Assurance (1901); estate agent (1921)
  • Mary (1854-1940) – married Abraham Shipley, a factory engine driver (1881), in 1877; emigrated to Australia in 1883
  • Samuel (b1856) – coal miner (1871)
  • William (1858-1881) – colliery clerk (1881)
  • Joseph (1860-1941) – baker & grocer (1911)
  • Daniel (b1862) – a carpenter (1881)
  • Edward (1865-1872)
  • Henry (1867-1892) – general labourer (1891)
  • Alfred (1869-1908) – a grocer shopkeeper (1901)
  • Ellen (b1872)

He married Ann (abt1817-1907) – I have not been able to identify a marriage record

William died on 20 October 1914 at Norton Canes, Staffordshire.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1915/248

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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