Barton, William MM (1897-1970)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

WILLIAM BARTON, M.M.: born in West Bromwich in 1897. Leaving school at thirteen he worked beside his father as a tool maker in the Victoria Tube Works. He joined the army at seventeen and served with the South Staffordshire Regiment. He was wounded twice and awarded the Military Medal for unselfish courage. After being discharged from the army he prepared for the Primitive Methodist ministry and entered Hartley College in 1922. Four years probation followed in the Leicester (Hinkley Road) Circuit and in Loughborough where he undertook a course of intensive Bible Study. From this time forward his ministry was an extension of this disciplined devotional life. 

He travelled in the following circuits: Oldham (Lees Rd), Halifax (Ebenezer), Stoke-on-Trent (Tunstall), Oundle, Bridlington (St. Johns), Gateshead (South), West Auckland, Filey (Ebenezer), Easingwold; these long years of steady circuit life being broken only by chaplaincy duties undertaken during the Second World War. 

Everywhere his ministry was marked by humble personal service and a faithful attention to detail. He had a deep and genuine interest in people and nothing was a trouble to him if he could meet another’s need. After he retired, friends in the Ebenezer Church, Halifax, made him the subject of a ‘This is your life’ programme which included tributes of affection from all his former circuits. It is a record of faithful loyal service to Christ and His Church. It is obvious that it was his ability to meet men on their own level that enabled him to fulfil his own quiet but very effective type of ministry. His retirement was spent first at Sutton in Craven, where his services were greatly appreciated, and more recently at Newton Aycliffe where, although failing health curtailed his activities, he continued to exercise a most gracious pastoral ministry. Weakened by prolonged sickness, he passed away in his sleep on the evening of 16 April 1970, in the seventy-third year of his age and the forty-fifth of his ministry.


William was born on 13 March 1897 at West Bromwich, Staffordshire, to parents David, a timekeeper at tube factory (1901), and Hannah.

The 1911 census describes William as an errand boy.

He married Constance Elvina Drage (1902-1992)in the summer of 1930 at Leicester. Birth records identify two children.

  • Jean C (b1931)
  • Eileen M (b abt1934)

William died on 16 April 1970 at Newton Aycliffe, Co. Durham.


  • Hartley
  • 1925 Leicester II
  • 1928 Loughborugh
  • 1931 Oldham Lees Rd
  • 1935 Halifax Eben
  • 1939 Stoke, Tunstall
  • 1941 Chaplain H,M. Forces
  • 1945 Oundle
  • 1946 Bridlington St Johns
  • 1950 Gateshead South
  • 1953 West Auckland
  • 1955 Filey Eben
  • 1960 Easingwold
  • 1964 Keighley (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 1970/189

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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