Batley, William (1812-1860)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by O.O. Britain

The history of honourable and holy men, “who have spoken unto us the words of life,” claim the notice of survivors; not only when replete with striking incidents, amounting almost to miracles, but also when nothing has occurred very unusual, in their history.

Mr. WILLIAM BATTEY, the subject of this memoir, was born at Faith’s Newton, near Norwich. His religious impressions took place while he was yet young. The ministry of the late John Smith was the means of arousing William to a sense of his danger. He cherished strong attachment to the Primitive Methodists, with whom he became identified as a member soon after his conversion; nevertheless, his heart expanded in true Christian affection towards all who loved the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Frequently and fervently did he implore the Divine blessing upon the interests and efforts of the Connexion, and associating with its members and ministers was one of his highest enjoyments. His name first appeared on the Norwich Circuit’s plan. His love for souls was such that in public and private he frequently poured out his soul in prayer for their salvation. He was strict in attending his appointments, regardless of distance and weather; and through the Divine blessing on his labours, many sinners were converted to God.

In 1834 the Lord was pleased to visit Norwich Circuit with a revival of religion; and more labourers being needed, Brother Batley was engaged by that circuit as an itinerant preacher, on which circuit he laboured six months, and then removed to North Walsham Circuit, where he laboured with some success for eighteen months. His next station was Great Yarmouth Circuit, in which he laboured for three years. The next five years he appears by the Conference Minutes to have belonged to the Fakenham Circuit, which had at that time one or more missions.

“In the year 1842,” says the History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, “we find Mr. W. Batley stationed on a mission belonging to the Fakenham Circuit, at Oundle, in Northamptonshire. In the town of Oundle the mission was not successful, but in the populous village of Brigstock great good was effected. Numbers of sinners were turned to the Lord, a flourishing society was established, and a suitable chapel was speedily erected. Good was likewise done at a few other places, but the mission on the whole was not very successful, and was subsequently transferred to the General Missionary Committee, by whom it was annexed to the Northampton Mission.”

In 1844 he removed to Wangford, subsequently to Swaffham, North Walsham, Littleport, Upwell, Hertford, and Baldock. The amount of success with which Brother Batley was favoured on the various stations he occupied during the eighteen years of his itinerancy, the writer has no means at hand of ascertaining.

Baldock Mission was the last station on which we find the name of Brother Batley, and this was in 1852. The cause or causes which led to his giving up the itinerancy are unknown to the writer; but that he did give up about this time is evident from the fact that, at the Norwich District Meeting of 1853, the writer found him located at Yarmouth. Though he had given up the itinerancy, he did not give up the work of the Lord, but laboured as a local preacher in the Yarmouth Circuit, faithfully and successfully, until the end of his days.

For the last two or three years his health has been in a declining state, which incapacitated him for much mental or bodily toil; hence his appointments were few, and near home.

On Sunday, October 7th, though not in his usual health, he attended the preaching-service three times. Little did the writer think, when he saw him in his pew on that day, that he was so near his end; but so it was.

One morning intelligence was brought him that his fishing-vessel was unexpectedly brought into the harbour in a leaky condition. Anxious to see her properly repaired, he spent the greater part of one day in the dock, in which his vessel lay, where, it is thought, he took a severe cold, followed by the disease which terminated his life. Within a few days he was confined to his bed; but no fears were entertained, either by his medical attendant or his wife, until it was evident that he was struggling with death, having been confined to his bed only four days; and on October 24th, 1860, he fell asleep in the arms of Jesus, in the forty-eighth year of his age. The nature of his complaint prevented him from giving expression to his feelings. But although his end was not distinguished by shouts of joy or bursts of praise, he calmly waved his hand in token of victory; and none can doubt the eternal safety of his soul. May his sorrowing widow and friends meet him at last in the Eden above. Amen.


William was born in 1812 at Faith’s Newton, nr Norwich, Norfolk, to parentsJames Batley and Diana Barnard. He was baptised on 27 August 1812.

He married Louisa Spurgeon (1815-1867). I have not been able to identify the marriage own online records. Louisa’s maiden name deduced from 1861 census which identifies that she returned to the family home in Loddon, Norfolk, after William’s death

William died on 24 October 1860.


  • 1834 Norwich & North Walsham
  • 1835 North Walsham
  • 1836 Yarmouth
  • 1838 Fakenham
  • 1842 Oundle
  • 1844 Wangford
  • 1845 Swaffham
  • 1846 North Walsham
  • 1847 Littleport
  • 1848 Upwell
  • 1849 Hertford
  • 1852 Baldock
  • 1853 ceased and settled in Yarmouth


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1861/136

J Petty, The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, 1880, p431 

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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