Bottomley, James (1817-1856)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by John Oscroft

James BOTTOMLEY, itinerant preacher, was the son of Joseph and Sarah Bottomley, of High Crompton, near Oldham, Lancashire. When the Primitive Methodists missioned the place of their residence, Mrs. Bottomley opened her house for them to preach in, and she was soon made a happy partaker of the saving grace of God, and united with the infant church established in her house.

James was a great grief to his mother, having become a very untoward and daring youth. So adventurous was he, that he very narrowly escaped an untimely death more than once. He appeared to take great delight in annoying God’s people, especially those who worshipped in his mother’s house. On one occasion, whilst a prayer-meeting was being conducted, he and his companions filled the porch with thorns; and when the people came out, and were seriously injured thereby, he and his companions wickedly exulted in the mischief, and even threw stones at the injured people. On another occasion, whilst a religious service was being conducted, he got upon the roof, in order to stop up the chimney and fill the house with smoke, but was prevented by the vigilance of a watchman. He was taken into the house, and the good people surrounded him and prayed fervently for his conversion; and although his heart was hard and his will stubborn, they at length had the pleasure of seeing him brought down upon his knees an awakened and penitent man; and at a love-feast, held at Cowlisham a short time after, he obtained redemption through the blood of Christ, and was enabled to “rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” He evinced the soundness of his conversion by a pious deportment and ardent zeal for the cause which he had espoused. His name soon appeared on the Oldham circuit’s plan, in which circuit he laboured as a useful local preacher for several years.

He was called out as an itinerant preacher by the Chester circuit in 1840, and continued to labour as such till he was laid aside by his last affliction. Brother Bottomley had not been favoured with a very liberal education, neither were his mental qualifications very brilliant, but he was a bold, energetic, pointed, and successful preacher, and many souls were converted to God under his ministry.

At the Conference of 1855 he was stationed for Preston circuit. His piety, zeal, and success in the converting work greatly endeared him to the people, and he will long live in their remembrance. The personal appearance of our departed brother was greatly altered during the last few months of his life; his clothes began to hang loosely about him, and it was quite apparent that his health was declining; yet he continued to preach with great energy, and the last Sunday that he occupied the pulpit in Preston six souls were converted to God.

At the quarter day, the 22nd of September, 1856, he requested to be freed from his appointments for the week, which was granted. He was very low-spirited, and took no active part in the business of the day, with the exception of moving a resolution that the friends be requested to pray for the conversion of fifty souls during the quarter. On Tuesday the doctor was called in, who advised his removal into Yorkshire for the benefit of his health, and he was removed on the Tuesday following to Mr. Henry Atherton’s, of Wood-end House, Leeds, Oldham circuit, where all attention was paid to him. He, however, gradually sank: his sufferings were most severe, and for eight days he was unable to lie down in bed; yet not a murmuring word, nor an impatient expression was heard to escape from his lips. During the whole of his affliction he found the religion which he had so frequently recommended to others to be sufficient to comfort and sustain him in the last conflict. He was quite conscious of his approaching dissolution, and was calmly resigned to the will of God. His conversation was all about Jesus, heaven, and the salvation of souls. When asked, a short time before his death, if he would like to see the doctor, he replied, “No; he can do me no good, only Jesus, and I am all right with him.” Previous to his departure he cheerfully sang for the last time,

“On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie,”

He then requested the friends to sing the remainder of the hymn, which was done; and at the close he exclaimed, “That is grand!” On the 9th of October, 1856, he calmly fell asleep in Jesus, in the thirty-ninth year of his age, leaving a wife and two children to mourn, but not as those who have no hope; “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.”


James was born in 1817 at High Crompton, nr Oldham, Lancashire, to parents Joseph and Sarah.

He was married to Mary (b abt 1818) of Brampton, Lancashire. The 1851 census identifies one child; Thomas Atherton Bottomley, born abt1848 in the Isle of Man.

James died on 9 October 1856.


  • 1840 Chester
  • 1841 Isle of Man
  • 1842 Peel
  • 1843 Haslingden
  • 1844 Bradwell
  • 1846 Chester
  • 1847 Peel
  • 1848 Stockport
  • 1851 Leigh
  • 1853 St Helens
  • 1855 Preston


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1843/182; 1857/9

PM Minutes 1857/5

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


Transcription of extracts of James Bottomly Journal published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine.

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