Ashby, Harold (1886-1971)

Transcription of Obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

HAROLD ASHBY: born at Norton, Yorkshire, in 1886 and entered the ministry of the Primitive Methodist Church in 1918. Until he became a Supernumerary at the age of seventy he served in a wide variety of rural and urban circuits in an itinerary which, beginning and ending in East Anglia, took him to Leeds, the Isle of Man, Cheshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire. His conscientious ministry is remembered with gratitude, for his joy and humour as well as for the stirring preaching and pastoral care which proclaimed the encircling love of God in which, in his own anxieties during the long years of his wife’s delicate health, he found his strength and courage. Whether in his pioneering work among young people or in his entering eagerly into the wider life of a newly united Methodism; whether in caring for soldiers or standing by pacifists; whether in long, patient service in a wide country circuit or in the reading and studying “to show himself approved” he fulfilled his Ministry as a servant of the whole Church of God. His life and work as a Supernumerary were spent in the Harrogate Circuit where he was most active until failing health and almost total blindness confined him to his home. He retained his rugged independence, intellectual alertness and sense of humour to the end. He died in Thirsk hospital on 13th September, 1971, in the eighty-fifth year of his age and the fifty-fourth of his ministry.


Harold was born on 22 October 1886 at Norton, Yorkshire, to parents John, a shoemaker, and Sarah.

In 1901 Harold was working as a telegraph messenger. The 1911 census reports him as a PM Minister; more likely he was a hired local preacher.

He married Hilda Harriet L. King (1886-1966) in the spring of 1912 in the Knaresborough Registration District, Yorkshire. Birth Records identify 2 children.

  • Norman (1913-1998) – a student in holy orders – C of E (1939)
  • John C. (b1919) – a window dresser (1919)

Harold died on 13 September 1971 at Thirsk, Yorkshire.


  • 1918 Swaffham
  • 1922 Wisbech
  • 1924 Leeds VII
  • 1928 Peel
  • 1930 Chester I
  • 1933 Chester George St
  • 1934 Leeds Hunslet
  • 1938 Rothwell
  • 1941 Wantage &c
  • 1944 Chipping Norton
  • 1950 Buckingham &c
  • 1954 Watton &c
  • 1956 Harrogate (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 1972/172

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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