Ayrton, Jonathan (1832-1893)

Transcription of Obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by J and L Ayrton

JONATHAN AYRTON was born at Holdsworth, near Halifax, on December the 11th, 1832. From his earliest years he loved the Saviour and his great desire was to induce others to do the same. After serving as a local preacher for a little while, he was taken out to travel in the year 1852. His stations were Leeds, Louth, Burnley, York, Thirsk, Wakefield, Dewsbury, Bradford, Silsden, Wakefield (second time), Halifax, Keighley Second, and Otley. 

Mr. Ayrton retired from active work in the year 1889, and went to reside at Sandal, in the Wakefield circuit. During the three years he was there he preached as often as his strength would permit, and was of great use in other ways in the interests of our church. At the urgent desire of his old friend, Mr. J. Broadbent, Mr. Ayrton went to take charge of a small society at Craven Road, in the Leeds Third circuit, where his presence and help were of much use, he giving himself to preaching, and especially to visiting the people in the neighbourhood of the chapel. After being there for over a year his health gave way, and one by one each beloved duty had to be abandoned, and having spent 39 years in the ministry of our connexion he was called home. 

As near as can be ascertained, 400 souls were added to our various societies through his instrumentality. The calm, happy manner of life that had been habitual with him during many years remained to the last. Bright’s disease, with its complications, caused him intense suffering, but no murmur escaped his lips; his face was frequently lighted up with a joyous smile, and he was often heard to be breathing out his glad heart in words of praise. On Sunday, August 6th, 1893, he peacefully passed away, and was buried on the 9th at Mount Zion chapel, Ovenden, where his ancestors for many generations sleep.


Jonathan was born on 11 December 1832 at Holdsworth, Yorkshire, to parents David, a farmer (1841), and Hannah. he was baptised on 13 January 1833 at St Mary, Illingworth, Yorkshire.

He married Hannah Farnsworth (abt1837-1868) in the summer of 1858 at York. Census returns identify three children.

  • Judith (abt1860-1913) – housekeeper to widowed father
  • Elizabeth (b abt1861) – a teacher (1881); a lady’s companion (1891)
  • Joshua (1862-1932) – educated at Elmfield College; emigrated to USA circa 1881; a cigar maker

Jonathan died on 6 August 1893.


  • 1853 Leeds II
  • 1854 Burnley
  • 1856 York
  • 1858 Pontefract
  • 1859 Wakefield
  • 1862 Dewsbury
  • 1864 Bradford
  • 1867 Silsden
  • 1871 Wakefield
  • 1875 Halifax II
  • 1877 Keighley II
  • 1881 Horbury
  • 1886 Keighley II
  • 1888 Otley
  • 1889 Wakefield (S)
  • 1893 Leeds III


PM Minutes 1894/7

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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