Bell, John (1905-1963)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

JOHN BELL: born in Murton, Co. Durham, in 1905, in the vigorous Methodism of the coalfield, and in a home noted for prayer and hospitality towards preachers. From boyhood an ardent servant of his Lord, he was qualifying for the work of a mining surveyor, but the call to preach became supreme. After training at Hartley College, his first circuits were Staithes, Leighton Buzzard, and South Bank and Eston. 

War came soon after appointment to Birkenhead, and Chaplaincy service in India and Germany gave him an outlet for his breezy friendliness of nature.

Thereafter his circuits were Castle Donington, Wath and Mexborough, Leeds(Richmond Hill) and Pontefract; in the last he travelled just four months, dying suddenly while beginning a week-night service in association with local Anglicans. He loved the industrial people; they loved him, for he had the gift of instant friendliness. 

His was a happy goodness, his religion an enjoyable experience, and his spirit youthful and enthusiastic, which made him one with the fellowship of youth, and a comfort to the aged. People mattered to him so much, and this radiated through his preaching of a saving Gospel, his loyalties to colleagues, his pastoral passion, and his love of home. For these things he spent himself without any counting of cost. The bereavement was keenly felt in the floodtide of a rich and happy ministry, and it was a tribute to the large-hearted quality of his friendships in Christ that his funeral service was attended not only by our people but by the Anglican clergymen and Roman Catholic priest from his former circuit. His earthly ministry was terminated on 19 December 1963, in its thirty-fourth year, at the age of fifty-eight.


John was born on 16 May 1905 at Murton, Co. Durham, to parents Robert, a colliery clerk (1911), and Jane.

He married Mary Kay (b1908) in the summer of 1934 in the Easington Registration District, Co. Durham. I have identified one child.

  • John S (b1935)

John died on 19 December 1963 at Pontefract, Yorkshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1930 Staines
  • 1934 Leighton Buzzard
  • 1936 South Bank & Eston
  • 1940 Birkenhead S
  • 1942 Chaplain H.M. Forces
  • 1947 Castle Donington
  • 1953 With &c
  • 1958 Leeds Richmond
  • 1963 Pontfract


Methodist Minutes 1964/201

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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