Andrews, William (1841-1868)

Transcription of Obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by Thomas Swindell

Was born at Cookley, in the county of Suffolk, March 5th, 1841. In the absence of reliable information no details of the days of his childhood can be given, except that he attended the Sabbath-school of the Church of England in his native village. Subsequently he removed to Aldborough and became a scholar in the Sabbath-school belonging to the Baptist denomination. When about twelve years of age, he went to reside at Great Yarmouth, and was “soon apprenticed to Mr. Taylor, confectioner.”

He was early the subject of deep impressions touching the necessity of the new-birth. Though his impressions were not sufficiently powerful to lead him to immediate decision to seek the salvation of his soul, yet they were of an abiding character, and exercised a salutary influence on his spirit and deportment; they restrained the evil propensities of his moral nature, checked his ardent thirst for worldly pleasures, and contributed to that divine change through which he consciously passed in the sixteenth year of is age.

The circumstances of his conversion were as follows. In the autumn of 1856, the Rev. W. Booth was holding a series of revival services in the Methodist New Connexion chapel, Yarmouth, and William went one evening, to hear him. The arrow of conviction pierced his conscience, and he left the place very unhappy. Several months afterwards he heard the Rev. M. Gunns in our Priory Plain chapel, when his convictions were deepened, and his unhappy spirit became more disquieted within him. He stayed to the prayer-meeting but no comfort came to his troubled heart. The following evening, a revival service was held in the school-room; he was present groaning beneath his load of sin, and while the friends were singing,

“Just as l am, Thy love unknown
Has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, and Thine alone
O Lamb of God, I come.”

He said, “Lord, I come.” Thus he believed in Jesus and “passed from death unto life.” His transition was immediateand his joy abundant. He now regularly attended the means of grace, frequently engaged in prayer, and evinced anxiety for the conversion of sinners. About this time a revival broke out among the children of the Sabbath-school, and he took an active part in the meetings held for the purpose of giving conservation and extension to the good work among them.

Feeling it his duty to call sinners to repentance, he, in the summer of 1857, and ere the authority of the church had been given him, held an open-air service at a small village; and on the following Sabbath, he addressed an assembly of juveniles, announcing for his text – “We love him, because he first loved us.” These proceedings were informal, and subjected him to official treatment; he was, for a time, prohibited exercising his talents in public speaking. But presently the way opened for his name to appear on the station plan, as a prayer leader, and he soon gained the position of an accredited local preacher; this he sustained till called to enter the itinerant ministry. His name first appeared on the Minutes of Conference in 1862, when he was appointed to the Aylsham station, where he laboured with credit to himself, satisfaction to the authorities, and acceptance to the people; yea, “the hand of the Lord was with him,” and many “believed, and turned unto the Lord.” The conference of 1863 stationed him at Cambridge, where he travelled two years. He read much, studied diligently, and made respectable attainments in religious and general knowledge. His ministry was instructive, influential, and successful. During his second year he had for his colleague and superintendent the Rev. W.H. Meadows, who says, “His genial disposition, cheerful spirit, and happy turn of mind made him an agreeable companion. He was truly a lovable young man, and stood high in my esteem both as a colleague and a Christian. He was a diligent student and an earnest worker in the vineyard of Christ. He prayed much and thought much. The result was a deeper piety, clearer views of the word of God and Methodist theology, and marked ministerial. In the public and private means of grace, he eagerly sought out the mourning soul and the weeping penitent, and was useful in leading them to the feet of Jesus for comfort and salvation. He was successful in the work of soul saving, and many will be the crown of his rejoicing in the day of the Lord.” He was highly esteemed by the officials, the members and the hearers throughout the station, and on his removal, he received valuable tokens of their appreciation of his character and services.

“His name here,” says Mr, Barton,” is as ointment poured forth. His affectionate manner to young and old won the esteem of all that knew him. He was a good, holy, devoted young man; and numbers on this circuit can testify that he did not live nor labour in vain.” By the conference of 1865 he was appointed to the Thetford station, and resided at East Harling, though his labour extended to the entire circuit. Here he laboured two years. Large congregations attended his ministry – sinners were converted from the error of their ways, and additions made to the church. While on this station, he was received into the list of approved preachers; and on Thursday, July 5th, 1866, he was united in marriage to Miss Ives, of Yarmouth: many congratulations greeted them, and a long and happy union was anticipated for them. His new relationship brought with it new duties and obligations which he felt himself bound to perform; but there was, apparently, neither abatement in his devotedness to God, nor diminution in his earnestness in the work of God. The estimation in which he was held may be inferred from the subjoined testimony of the circuit-steward, Mr. R. Nurse. “His conduct was most exemplary and becoming a Christian minister. He gave unmistakable evidence of conversion, and entire dedication to God. The salvation of souls seemed the chief object for which he lived. I always found him respectful to the officials, attentive to his general duties, and, as a family visitor, has set such an example as all young ministers would do well to imitate.”

His next station was Colchester. He regarded his appointment to this circuit with more than usual approbation, believing it was in harmony with the will of the Great Head of the church. He also rejoiced in the prospect of having for his colleague and superintendent so excellent a man as the Rev. W. Hammond. The Colchester friends gave him a hearty welcome, and the aspect of affairs was quite satisfactory to him. Still, he anxiously desired a better state of things, and to accomplish his object, he endeavoured to secure the co-operation of the people, in carrying out his plans for making the aggressions on Satan’s kingdom; telling “them that he felt all that he preached to them;” and he was hopeful in his expectations of the future. Subsequently he experienced some very painful exercises of mind, arising from the bad conduct of certain parties officially connected with the cause. But to preserve the purity of the church, and to give a higher tone to her spiritually, as well as to secure an increase of members to her fellowship, he unsparingly employed all his powers. He preached with more than his wonted energy; visited more extensively than he had been accustomed to do, and exerted himself in other ways, to bring persons to the public ordinances of the sanctuary, and, ultimately, to Christ for salvation; and success crowned his efforts. In confirmation of these remarks, the following letter from the above named minister is appended:-

“St. Ives, January 7th, 1869.

“My dear Swindill, – In reference to the late Rev. W. Andrews, I think there could be only one opinion. Without doubt, he was decidedly pious. His whole life seemed to be devoted to the great work in which he was engaged, and in which he so much delighted. His object was to do good, to benefit his fellow creatures, to save them from death and from the pains of hell; and if these were not realized, it was a source of grief and dissatisfaction to him. He lived to be useful; and many will have to praise God through endless ages that ever they heard from his lips the joyful news of salvation, through faith in a crucified Redeemer. As a preacher, he was generally well received, especially with the young – warm, loving, full of sympathy, zealous, and intelligent – he was sure to attract and gain their attention. He was rather remarkable for family-visiting. He would be among the people – all sorts and all classes shared in his pastoral calls. This secured him a number of friends, not only in our own society, but in other communications, who respected and loved him for his kind, affable, and genial disposition. He was naturally of a lively temperament, very excitable, and a little incautious. This sometimes threw him off his guard, and led him to extremes, but he meant well – his heart was right. He loved God, and sought with zeal and fervour to promote his glory, and extend his kingdom. He gloried in the doctrine of the Cross. Christ dying as the ‘Lamb of God to take away sin,’ was his only plea – his only foundation – his only hope. I have no doubt of his eternal safety. If faithful, I shall meet him in a higher region – a happier clime, where all is spotless, purity, undisturbed repose, unbroken friendship, perfect rest. Yours affectionately, William Hammond.”

Our personal knowledge of Mr. Andrews dates from July, 1863, and henceforth we had his confidence and friendship. We likewise directed his studies till the close of his probation, and had him for our colleague on two stations, for a period of three years. We had, therefore, many opportunities of ascertaining the qualities of his character from various standpoints; and, fully indorsing all that Messrs. Meadows and Hammond have said of him, we beg to add that, as a friend, he was sincere in his attachments, tender in his attentions, prompt in his reciprocations, and profound in his sympathies. As a Christian, he possessed a deep acquaintance with spiritual and experimental religion ; and, in corrobation of this statement, the following extracts are transcribed from his journal:-

“I have been in great trial; the devil has flung in every direction his ‘fiery darts,’ yet, by earnest believing supplication, he has been defeated, his designs frustrated; and my soul, by conquering through Christ, has been filled unspeakably full of glory and God.” –

“I have enjoyed much of the presence of the Lord, especially in secret devotion. My closet has been the gate of heaven. ‘I cried unto God with my voice; even unto God with my voice, and he gave ear unto me.’ My darkness is passed, the rainbow of promise encircles me, and I feel it good to draw near to God.”

“I have been assailed by the devil wonderfully; also have been much perplexed at the low state of piety in professors, and grieved on account of the hardness and wickedness of sinners; and have frequently wept my way to Christ.”

“But amid changing scenes, toils, and cares, I catch God’s smile, see his finger, feel his wrapt-wing, and, in accents all sweet, hear his voice, saying – ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’”

“And while endeavouring to invoke God’s blessing on others, my soul has been mightly baptised. I have waxed strong in faith, and enjoyed communion with God.”

“I have received largely from the Lord’s hand, and in his strength gloriously triumphed.”

“I pray that purity of heart, word, and life, may ever be my portion, Amen.”

The fact, that these entries were made in his diary without any idea of their appearing in print, adds considerably to the interest and importance of them, in this biographic sketch of his life. As a colleague, he was exceedingly agreeable, thoroughly confidential, and invariably obliging. As a preacher, he delivered his sermons with such animation, energy, and eloquence as gained for him a high degree of popularity on his several stations. At times, his bursts of eloquence were surprising, his pathos melting, and his appeals powerful, producing blessed effects, the arousing of lukewarm professors, and the quickening of dead sinners. He was firmly attached to the connexion, and constantly manifested a zealous concern for prosperity in all its departments; nevertheless, he had a true Christian regard for other sections of the church of Christ; indeed, his largeness of heart and catholicity of spirit, admirably fitted him to fraternise with them in any general movement for extending the kingdom of God in the earth. But “faults mingled with his excellences,” and he knew it. Read his own words, – “The longer I am in the ministry, the more need I see of seriousness of life, and holiness of heart. I look backward and see many failings in my history.” For these things he had much sorrow of heart, and bowed in unfeigned humiliation before the Lord.

His ministerial day was short, but he worked laboriously, effectively and incessantly until the shades of night came down upon him and bade him prepare for permanent rest in the bosom of his Lord. On the 5th of March, 1868, he complained of being ill, and though his illness daily increased upon him he would not relinquish his beloved work until complete prostration of his physical nature compelled him. Entire relaxation from duties and a change of air being recommended him, he went to Yarmouth, where it was fervently hoped he would speedily re-establish his health; but week after week passed, medicine after medicine administered without the desired effect, yet “he was always better.” Pulmonary consumption had firmly seized him, and defied the best efforts of medical skill, and the unremitting attentions of domestic solicitude. His pallid countenance plainly showed the progress of the disease, and his violent cough certainly told his days were numbered. When, however, his medical attendant gave no hope of his recovery, and advised him to prepare for the issue, he instantly and emphatically informed that gentleman that “‘he had long ago made his peace with God.” In the early part of his affliction he was very much tempted; he had three severe battles with the devil, but he achieved perfect victory over the “roaring lion.” He said, “I do not fear him, for I am on a sure foundation – the Rock of Ages which cannot be moved.” To a brother minister he said, “My heart is fixed, fixed on Christ, laid on the altar, bound there.” He desired to live for “the sake of the Church, and his wife and child,” but grace gloriously triumphed, and he was enabled to bear a noble testimony to the faithfulness of his God and the sufficiency of Divine grace even in death, submitting with a marked resignation to the painful and mysterious dispensation. He frequently said –

“If my Lord would come and meet me,
My soul would stretch her wings in haste,
Fly fearless through death’s iron gate,
Nor feel the terrors as she passed.”

He often repeated:

“Jesus, Thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress,
‘Midst flaming worlds in these array’d,
With joy shall I lift up my head.”

And even to the last he delighted to sing as best he could:

“Jerusalem, my happy home!
Name ever dear to me!
When shall my labours have an end,
In joy and peace in thee.”

On the morning of Thursday, October 1st, 1868, in the twenty-eighth year of his age and the seventh of his ministry, he fell asleep in Jesus.

“Asleep in Jesus! Oh, how sweet,
To be for such a slumber meet!”


William was born on 6 March 1841 at Cookley.

He married Eliza S Ives on 5 July 1866 at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

William died on 1 October 1868 at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.


  • 1862 Aylsham
  • 1863 Cambridge
  • 1865 Thetford
  • 1867 Colchester


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1869/235

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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