Barber, Benjamin Aquila (1876-1946)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1926
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1926
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1907/300

Early years

Benjamin was born in 1876 at Leeds, Yorkshire, to parents George Calvert Barber and Hannah Carter. Hannah died when Benjamin was very young.

Benjamin entered Hartley College in 1897.


His obituary records that his special gifts were of the literary order. Sensitive to the best in English Literature, he became a stylist and a master of flexible English prose. His sermons were choicely expressed and gemmed with apt literary allusion. Culture, in his case, was not cold, but was fired by a high passion for social justice.

In WW1 Benjamin served as a chaplain, both in France and Italy. Towards the end of the war he became Educational Officer, and long after the armistice, lectured in English Literature.

After the war, Benjamin entered upon a great ministry in Harrogate, which lasted ten years, before becoming Connexional Editor. In 1935, he returned to circuit work and practically died in harness, as he survived superannuation by a few weeks only.


Benjamin authored the following.

Robert Louis Stevenson: an appreciation, 1910

A Methodist pageant: a souvenir of the Primitive Methodist Church, 1932

What I believe: a symposium, edited by B. Aquila Barber, 1935

The art of Frank Salisbury, with a descriptive letterpress, 1936


Benjamin married Helen Nicholson Yorke (1874-1944) in the summer of 1903 at Tunstall, Staffordshire. Census returns identify two of three children.

  • John Yorke (1908-1964) – a PM Minister (1930-1933); later an Anglican clergyman
  • Helen Elizabeth Yorke (1910-2004) – known as Bettie

Benjamin died on 4 October 1946 at Bradford Royal Infirmary, Yorkshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1899 Tunstall
  • 1904 Spenymoor
  • 1906 Bishop Auckland
  • 1912 Leeds IX
  • 1916 Chaplain to H.M. Forces
  • 1920 Newcastle III
  • 1921 Harrogate
  • 1931 Editor
  • 1935 Lytham St Annes
  • 1941 Lancaster
  • 1944 Aireborough


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1926/806

Methodist Minutes 1947/130

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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