Barton, William Breakwell (1900-1958)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

WILLIAM BREAKWELL BARTON: born in 1900, and educated at Durham Grammar School. He was a son of the manse, and his father throughout his life was his hero, the type of minister he himself sought to be. Entering the Primitive Methodist ministry in 1925, he served four-year periods at Brighton and Northampton, and then went to Southport, where he stayed eleven years. His other circuits were Brownhills, Jarrow, Pendlebury, and Blackheath and Langley Green. 

He had three outstanding characteristics. One was his modesty, his surprise almost that anything he said or did should be valued at all; the others were his friendliness and his sense of humour. He was a happy man who lived to make others happy. Of a ready wit and quick to see the comical side of a situation, he was never caustic or unkind. His devotion to people, which was prompted by his love for his Lord, called forth a warm-hearted affection for him, and he made friends everywhere. As a preacher he had a marked style of his own, and though essentially a serious and very thoughtful man, his sermons and addresses were often enlivened by his humour. 

He was a gifted pianist and a licentiate of the Trinity College of Music, London, but in his later years his work as a minister of the Gospel absorbed all his time. Possibly he became too exclusively devoted to circuit duties, but everything was done from a strong desire to do his Lord’s will whatever it might cost him. He died at Blackheath, Birmingham, on 13th July 1958, in the thirty-third year of his ministry and the fifty-eighth year of his age.


William was born on 8 October 1900 at Gateshead, Co. Durham, to parents William Barton, a PM minister and Mary Ann Breakwell.

In WW1 he first saw service in the Royal Navy in February 1918 and was then transferred into the newly formed RAF as a fitter’s apprentice.

He married Dorothy Lilian Linfoot (1905-1969) in early 1921 at York, Yorkshire. Birth records identify one child.

  • Kathleen Lilian (b1921) – married William S. Gray in 1949

William does on 13 July 1958 at Blackheath, Birmingham.


  • Hartley
  • 1925 Brighton
  • 1929 Northampton II
  • 1933 Southport Banks
  • 1944 Brownhills
  • 1947 Jarrow
  • 1950 Manchester Pendlebury
  • 1952 Salford
  • 1954 Blackpool &c


Methodist Minutes 1958/201

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *