Walmsley, William (1843-1914)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by R.H.A.

William Walmsley was born at Newport, near Brough, in 1843, and commenced work very early in life. For some years he followed agricultural pursuits, and it is interesting to note that in later years he became the occupier of a large farm, where he had once been employed as a servant. Despite his limited opportunities, he gave early promise of those qualities of industry and perseverance, by which he was enabled in later days to win for himself a good position among his fellow men. 

On leaving his native locality he settled for some little time at Normanton, where he worked as a colliery horseman. He afterwards became a bricklayer, and subsequently entered into partnership with his brother, the late Benjamin Walmsley, of hallowed memory. The brothers acquired, and developed successfully, large estates at Featherstone, Harrogate, Leeds, and Scarborough.

Some forty years ago William Walmsley removed to Leeds, and in the year 1879, largely through the influence of his wife and the Rev. George Parkin, M.A., became a decided Christian and a member of Rehoboth Church, for many years taking a great interest in its material and spiritual welfare. He was associated with his brother Benjamin in the building of the handsome orphanage, mission and school premises in Brudenell Road, Leeds, which have recently been handed over to the Connexion. The three brothers, John, William and Benjamin, also built and gave free of debt to our Church two beautiful chapels. William Walmsley was a strong Primitive Methodist of the old school, and a staunch supporter of the temperance cause. 

He fell asleep on Tuesday night, 13th January, 1914, after a distressing illness. A memorial service was held at Rehoboth Church, Rev. George Parkin, M.A., giving the address. His body was laid to rest in Lawnswood Cemetery on January 16th.


William was born in 1843 at Newport, nr Howden, East Riding, Yorkshire, to parents Benjamin Walmsley, a wire maker and rim turner, and Margaret Morritt. He was baptised on 27 November 1855 at Eastrington, Yorkshire.

Census returns identify the following occupations for William.

  • 1861 farm servant
  • 1871 bricklayer
  • 1881 master bricklayer employing 10 men
  • 1891 builder & contractor
  • 1901 builder
  • 1911 builder

He married Mary Harriet Bell (1844-1923) on 24 December 1878 at Londesbrough, Yorkshire. Census returns identify four of five children.

  • Herbert (1879-1957) – a builder (1911)
  • Robert Morritt (1880-1952) – building (joiner) (1911)
  • Walter Bell (1882-1958) – a farmer (1911)
  • Margaret Ann (1883-1919)

William died on 13 January 1914 at Leeds, Yorkshire. His probate records records his estate valued at £169.5k.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1914/572

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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