Bickley, John Leslie (1899-1976)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

JOHN LESLIE BICKLEY: born in Bloxwich on 16th January 1899. He was one of those ministers for whom it was difficult to name a day and time when the Lord called him into full-time service in his Church. He became conscious of that call whilst still a boy at school and began then to prepare for his response when the time came. After service in the Royal Flying Corps in the latter months of the First World War he was received into the Primitive Methodist ministry in 1919 and was sent to the Portsmouth 1st Circuit as pre-collegiate minister. This was followed by two years at Hartley College and he then served in the following circuits: Southend-on-Sea, Chatham, Gravesend and Sheerness, Maidstone, Clay Cross, Pontefract (Micklegate), Dudley, Wolverhampton (Darlington Street), Darlaston (Pinfold Street), Upwell and Manea, Ellesmere, and Tipton (Bell Street). From Tipton he retired to Wolverhampton where he lived out the remainder of his ministry. 

He is remembered as a preacher of deep conviction which arose out of his personal experience and commitment to Christ. His presentation of the Gospel call was sound and convincing and was backed with a wide use of anecdotes both humorous and serious drawn from his reading and daily life. He was a faithful pastor, kind, tenderhearted and wise in his counsel. No claim on his time or care ever went unheard or unheeded and he would go to endless trouble to relieve a fellow in distress. Always these things were done with a comforting and assuring smile. His efficiency as an administrator was well known and stood the test of some very difficult days in Wolverhampton during the war. He was a District Chapel Secretary for some time and the neatness of his desk spoke of the habits of a lifetime. If he had a fault it was that he could not cease from caring, for he was always a pastor and minister no matter where he was or whom he met. 

With his wife, Emmie, a faithful fellow-worker and partner throughout all their years, he brought loving and devoted service throughout his ministry to the Methodist Church and to the glory of Christ his Lord. He died on 29th May 1976 in the seventy-eighth year of his age and the fifty-seventh year of his ministry.


John was born 16 January 1899 at Bloxwich, Staffordshire, to parents Alfred, an assistant locomotive fireman (1911), and Harriet.

Before entering the RFC in 1918, John worked as a railway clerk.

He married Ethel Emma Brunt (1897-1986) in the spring of 1923 in the Walsall Registration District, Staffordshire. Birth records identify one daughter.

  • Janet Helen (1925-1982) – married Wesley A Ward in 1947

John died on 29 May 1976 at Wolverhampton, Staffordshire.


  • 1917 Probationer
  • 1919 Portsmouth
  • 1920 Hartley
  • 1922 Southend
  • 1923 Chatham
  • 1925 Maidstone
  • 1928 Clay Cross
  • 1932 Pontefract Micklegate
  • 1935 Dudley
  • 1940 Wolverhampton, Darlington St
  • 1945 Darlaston
  • 1949 Upwell &c
  • 1955 Ellesmere
  • 1958 Tipton, Bell St
  • 1961 Wolverhampton (S)


Methodist Minutes 1977/59

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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