Beardsley, Alfred Henry (1900-1959)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

ALFRED HENRY BEARDSLEY: born in Sutton-in-Ashfield in 1900. He began work as a miner in a Nottinghamshire pit, responded to a call to the Ministry and was trained at Hartley College. In 1924 he was sent to Eastern Nigeria, where his facility for languages gave him freedom and joy in vernacular preaching, and where his warm humanity and wide practical aptitudes were fully extended, not least in the building of Ituk Mbang hospital. 

After ten years of service overseas, he returned home and served in Diss, Shotley Bridge, South Bank and Eston, Stockton on Tees, Danby, Pontefract, and Holmfirth. Wherever he went the manse was full of young people every Sunday evening, and he was made an honorary member of all the old people’s clubs. His outstanding mental gift lay in the possession of a lively visual imagination. Consequently in preaching he was always practical and intelligible, and in discussion he always effected a clarification of the issues. His outstanding personal grace was a completely unselfconscious humility. Because it had become his nature to ‘count the other better than himself’, he consistently brought the best out of others. 

The local paper, reporting his death, described him as ‘the best-loved man in Holmfirth’. But he never knew when to stop, and in the end he worked himself to death. A multitude of young and old, in Yorkshire, County Durham, and much farther afield, will ever be grateful that he lived among them to make God real, and will always remember him, clad in an old leather coat and peaked cap, mounted upon one of a series of vintage motor-bikes, the tender nurture of which was his one pride and relaxation. He died on 31 December 1959, in the fifty-ninth year of his age and the thirty-sixth of his ministry.


Alfred was born on 22 November 1900 at Darnall, nr Sheffield, Yorkshire, to parents Willis, a coal miner, and Fanny. He was baptised on 12 December 1900 at Holy Trinity, Darnall. The family moved to Sutton in Ashfield when Alfred was a child.

He married Emma Naylor (1903-1983) in early 1927 at Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

Alfred died on 31 December 1959 at Holmfirth, Yorkshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1924 Ikol Ekpene SA
  • 1926 Adadia
  • 1927 Ibiaku
  • 1934 Diss
  • 1936 Shotley Bridge
  • 1940 South Bank &c
  • 1944 Stockton North Terrace
  • 1948 Danby
  • 1953 Pontefract Micklegate
  • 1956 Holmfirth


Methodist Minutes 1960/189

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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