Atkinson, William (1878-1950)

Transcription of Obituary in Minutes of Methodist Conference

Born at Shildon, Co. Durham, in 1878, He entered the Ministry in 1905, and received his training at Hartley College. Most of his ministry was spent in the Northern Counties, though in his earlier days he spent four years in the South Midlands. His great triumphs were won in Co. Durham, where the miners and their families held him in high respect.

Wherever he went he gave of his best, and circuits were strengthened and men and women cheered and inspired. His was a thoughtful ministry. He had no place for the cheap and gaudy, nor would he offer unto the Lord that which had cost him nothing.

In his prime he took great interest in District business, and in the Sunderland and Durham District, prior to Methodist Union, he held important office. His brethren held him in high esteem.

Retiring in 1942, he took up his residence at East Boldon in the Sunderland North Circuit. Here, up to the limits of his strength, he joined in the work and worship of our Church, and many of those who enjoyed his friendship found him to be a most reliable guide and counsellor.

He was a wide and discriminating reader, and his pulpit power only waned as his physical strength declined. All the fruit of his thirty-seven years in the active Ministry of his Church has not yet been gathered. In circuits such as Houghton-le-Spring and Thornley, in each of which he spent five years, there are many who thank God for him, and in Burnopfield, which he superintended for six years, his name is still revered.

His home-life was ideal, though his wife, who predeceased him by some years, was a great sufferer toward the end of her life ; but in her earlier years her work amongst the women of the churches was of the highest order.

He passed to higher service on 2nd February 1950, in his seventy- second year and the forty-fifth of his ministry.

©Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes 1950


William was born on 30 January 1878 at Shildon, Co. Durham, to parents William, a railway engine driver, and Jane.

William worked as a railway joiner before entering the ministry.

He married Mary Albina Todd (1879-1952) in the summer of 1909 in the Auckland Registration District, Co. Durham. Birth records identify two children.

  • Sarah Annetta (1915-2004) – a school teacher (1939); married Leslie Skinner in 1941
  • William John (1917-2001) –  a Methodist Minister

William died on 2 February 1950 at Rocester, Staffordshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1905 Market Rasen
  • 1907 Nuneaton
  • 1909 Barnsley II
  • 1913 Houghton le Spring
  • 1918 Thornley
  • 1923 Brompton
  • 1926 Hetton
  • 1929 Burnopfield
  • 1935 Workington Jn St
  • 1938 Allendale
  • 1942 Sunderland (S)


Methodist Minutes1950/139

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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