Bartley, Walter (1806-1877)

Transcription of obituary published in the Christian Messenger by T. Powell

MR. WALTER BARTLEY was born at Motcombe, in the county of Dorset, on November 22nd, 1806. He followed the inclinations of his own heart until the year 1826, when, through the labours of the Primitive Methodist missionaries, on October 8th, he was converted to God. He soon manifested a deep concern for the salvation of souls, and commenced to labour as a public speaker. He was soon put on the preachers’ plan, and subsequently was taken out to travel. 

In this capacity he did not labour more than two years. The privation to be endured in those days, and being placed upon a most laborious and physically exhaustive station, his then somewhat slender constitution, in a measure, failed; so he resigned the regular ministry and came back to Motcombe. After his return he pursued business with considerable tact and energy to the end of his days. In a local capacity he continued to labour for a number of years very extensively, taking very long journeys, and preaching the word of life earnestly, acceptably, and successfully. 

Through a violent pain in the head, several years ago, he was compelled to relinquish everything like pulpit preparation, and, consequently, preaching. He was a great lover of the Connexion, and nothing gave him more joy than to hear of its prosperity. The successful missionary efforts, educational efforts, chapel efforts, or whatever was connected. with the prosperity of the cause he had espoused afforded him real pleasure. In order that he might know of the Connexion’s weal, he read regularly the magazines and the Primitive Methodist newspaper. From the commencement of his Christian career he has shown his love for the cause by supporting its various funds, and welcoming under his roof and at his table at all times both travelling and local preachers. One of the last acts of his life was to promise £10 towards the extinction of the debt on the Motcombe chapel. 

He was several times elected delegate to represent his own station at the annual District meeting, and by the District meeting elected delegate to the Conference. His affliction, which was dropsy and heart disease, was of long continuance. Sometimes nearly every hope was gone of his recovery, but, contrary to the opinion of his friends and even medical advisers, he rallied again and again. But the time drew nigh when he must die. He had long before given commandment concerning the place of his burial, and on March 8th, 1877, he gathered up his feet, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people. 

On March 13th he was interred in the Primitive Methodist burial ground, Enmor Green. On one side are deposited the remains of the Rev. J. Moore, and on the other the remains of the beloved wife of the Rev. T. Powell. He has left to mourn their loss a widow, two sons, and seven daughters, and a numerous circle of friends. May they all meet him in Heaven.


Walter was born on 22 November 1908 at Motcombe, Dorset, to parents James, a butcher (1841), and Harriet.

Census returns identify the following occupations for Walter.

  • 1841 farmer & butcher
  • 1851 butcher
  • 1861 farmer of 265 acres employing 6 men, 2 boys and 1 woman
  • 1871 farmer of 262 acres

He married Mary Smith (1804-1891) on 31 October 1832 at Motcombe, Dorset. Census returns identify nine children.

  • Lydia (1834-1916) – married Stephen Boyce Perrett, a farmer, in 1857
  • James Smith (1835-1884) – a farmer
  • Mary (b1837) – married Levi Norris, a PM minister, in 1865
  • Martha (1838-1879) – married Edwin Tucker, a farmer, in 1868
  • Sarah (1841-1921) – married Nehemiah Lilly, a warehouseman (1891), in 1862
  • Walter (1843-1910) – a fruiterer (1881)
  • Harriet (1845-1932) – married Uri Benjafield, a poultry farmer (1911), in 1868
  • Anne (1847-1934) – married William James Hiscock, a farmer, in 1871
  • Emma (1850-1937) – married Edgar Charles Taylor, a miller (1881), in 1875

Walter died on 8 March 1877 at Motcombe, Dorset.


  • 1830 Shrewsbury & Oswestry
  • 1831 Pillowell & Cwm
  • 1832 Cwm
  • 1833 disappears


Christian Messenger 1877/318 

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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