Briggs, William (1896-1964)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

WILLIAM BRIGGS: born in Keighley in 1896. His death brings to the remembrance of many the example of Christian kindliness, practical goodness and unfailing patience and courage. These qualities were all shown in abundance throughout his ministry as preacher, pastor and administrator, and never more so than during the last months and weeks of his life when his physical strength was sapped by fatal illness and at last he longed “to be clothed upon with our habitation which is from heaven.” 

Following service as an Air Mechanic in the Royal Flying Corps, he set up an engineering business in his native town. Worshipping in the Oakworth Road Church he responded to the call of God to preach, was accepted for the ministry and entered Hartley College in 1921. He was called out of College in his third year to become a Superintendent Minister, and never served in any other capacity. Cardiff, Horncastle, Basingstoke and Reading were spheres for the exercise of a gracious and self-forgetting ministry during this period of his life. 

At the commencement of World War II, although a senior man, he immediately offered for chaplaincy duty and served overseas with the Army in India, the Middle East and South Africa, until for reasons of health he was drafted home, serving en route on a hospital ship. Later he was stationed at Corsham and became known and loved as a preacher in the neighbourhood. After the war he served in the Chippenham, Hungerford, Calne, Camberley and Brinkworth circuits. 

It became increasingly evident that the strenuous labours of such a full life and arduous ministry, especially during the war, had sapped his strength. Periods of illness became frequent and led to his superannuation in 1961 when he retired to Chippenham. He continued to serve the churches in the surrounding circuits until the last few weeks of his life. He was a good man and exercised a gracious ministry that led many to God, yet, such was his modesty, that this tribute would appear to him entirely undeserved. Those who have known him will thank God that His servant William Briggs touched their lives and helped them to find and to know God. He died on 4 February 1964, in the sixty-eighth year of his age and the fortieth of his ministry.


William was born 20 October 1896 at Keighley, Yorkshire, to parents Alfred Eugene, a railway goods checker, and Mary. He was baptised on 2 December 1896 at St Mary, Eastwood, Keighley.

At the time of the 1911 census, William was working as an errand boy.

He married Violet Murch (b abt1901) in the spring of 1928 at Salcombe, Devon. Birth records identify three children.

  • Dorothy M (b1933)
  • Peter R H (b1944)
  • Stella M (b1947)

William died on 4 February 1964 at Chippenham, Wiltshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1924 Cardiff I
  • 1928 Horncastle
  • 1931 Basingstoke
  • 1937 Reading
  • 1942 Chaplain H.M. Forces
  • 1946 Chippenham
  • 1953 Hungerford
  • 1954 Calne
  • 1956 Camberley
  • 1959 Brinkworth
  • 1961 Chippenham (S)


Methodist Minutes 1964/207

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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