Antliff, William D.D. (1813-1884)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1854
Copy provided by Steven Carter
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1885
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1877

William was born on 6 December 1813 at Caunton, Nottinghamshire to parents William and Elizabeth. He was baptised on 12 December 1813 at Caunton. William was converted at the age of 9 and entered the ministry at the age of 16.


For many years William laboured as an effective circuit minister before becoming connexional editor in 1862. During his time as connexional editor, William launched two new magazines, the Christian Messenger and Child’s Friend.

When the Theological Institute was opened in Sunderland, William was appointed the first Principal and Tutor, a role he held for 13 years.

He was President of Conference in 1863 and 1865.

In 1871, William was elected a permanent member of conference.

Ritson records the occasion when William was conducting a lovefeast at the little chapel in his native village. His father was in the pulpit with him and his grandfather exclaimed; ‘What do my eyes see? And what do my ears hear? Not only my children, but my children’s children, have arisen to call God blessed.’

William was awarded his Doctorate by the University at Middletown, Connecticut.


William authored the following.

A funeral sermon occasioned by the death of Mr. Hugh Bourne (a father and founder of Primitive Methodism) : the substance of which was preached in the Seamen’s Church, Rathbone Street, Liverpool, and elsewhere. 1852

The Protestant reformers and the Reformation: a lecture, delivered before the Huddersfield Young Men’s Christian Association, in the Philosophical Hall of that town, on Tuesday evening, January 4th, 1853.

A memoir of the life and labours of the late Thomas Morgan, Primitive Methodist preacher, containing extracts from his journals and correspondence: To … from his published and unpublished papers, 1854

The Protestant Reformers and the Reformation. A lecture, etc. 1855

Christianity in England: A lecture on its introduction, progress, results and prospects , 1855

Woman: her position and mission. A lecture, etc. 1856

The Primitive Methodist New Reading and Spelling Book, Part 2, 1863

Nuggets of Golden Truth, or reflections on the love of God, on predestination, Deism and Atheism, etc. With preface … by W. Antliff. (co-author Lorenzo Dow)

The Primitive Methodist Hymn-book, 1864 (co-author: John Flesher)

The Foreknowledge of God. A paper read at a meeting of the Association of Primitive Methodist Ministers of the Manchester District … Second edition, revised. 1863

The Primitive Methodist Sabbath-school hymn book : prepared by the Book Committee in accordance with the direction of the Conference of 1863, 1879

The life of the venerable Hugh Bourne, 1872

A book of marvels: Or, incidents, original and selected, illustrative of Primitive Methodism, temperance, and other subjects , 1873


William married Barbara Cooper on 4 October 1836 at Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Records identify four children.

  • Ann (1937-1908)
  • Elizabeth (b1842) – married Thomas Hankey Hunt, a PM Minister; 1903 President of Conference
  • James Cooper (1844-1920) – a PM Minister; emigrated to Canada in 1878.
  • Sarah (1845-1929) – married Joseph Yearsley, a PM Minister

William married Sarah Ann Ashe (1815-1893) in 1847 at Stockport, Cheshire. Records identify three children.

  • William Ashe (1847-1921) – a blank manager
  • John Wesley (1849-1871) – a mercantile clerk
  • Samuel Robert (1851-1927) – a Congregational Minister

William died on 7 December 1884 at Preston, Lancashire.


  • 1831 Chesterfield
  • 1832 Ashby de la Zouch
  • 1834 Nottingham
  • 1836 Derby
  • 1838 Barnsley
  • 1840 Belper
  • 1841 Huddersfield
  • 1844 Manchester
  • 1846 Stockport
  • 1848 Preston Brook
  • 1851 Liverpool
  • 1853 Haslingden
  • 1857 Oldham
  • 1862 Editor
  • 1867 Tutor Sunderland
  • 1868 Principal Sunderland
  • 1881 Preston (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1854/513; 1877/705; 1885/113; 1912/22; 1915/739; 1919/21

PM Minutes 1885/11

B A Barber, A Methodist Pageant, 1932,p215,   p301

J Petty, The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, 1880, p377, p548

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 1, p322; vol 2, p292, p367

Joseph Ritson, The Romance of Primitive Methodism , 1909. 251-2

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


A transcription of an article about William in the 1913 Christian Messenger

Comments about this page

  • Page updated on 22November 2015 to add a transcription of an article in the 1913 Christian Messenger.

    By Geoff Dickinson (22/11/2015)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.