Brown, Clifford (1904-1988)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

CLIFFORD BROWN: born at Lincoln on 28th September 1904. His parents were Primitive Methodists, his father a lay pastor, who died when Clifford was a young boy. The family moved to Burnley and he was educated at Stoneyholme Council School which he left when he was thirteen to work for a local grocer. During a Young Life Campaign he was brought to real Christian commitment and felt the call to the ministry. At the tender age of eighteen he became a local preacher and began his ministerial training at Hartley Victoria College in 1925.

He served in the following Circuits: Nantwich and Burland, Market Drayton, Stafford, Great Harwood, Accrington, York (Monkgate), Blackburn (Trinity), Bradford (Great Horton), Whaley Bridge, and Rawtenstall. As an active supernumerary he cared for the Pool society in the Otley Circuit. Thirteen years of happy retirement were spent at Southport and in that Circuit his services and the leading of a men’s fellowship were greatly appreciated. 

In 1986 he and his wife, Phyllis, moved to Starr Hills (MHA) in the Lytham St. Annes Circuit. He was greatly loved by the residents and endeared himself to members in the Circuit. Clifford enjoyed good health throughout his life. He and his wife had the joy of fifty-six years of married life and shared ministry. Their daughters, Ruth and Susan, brought them much happiness and the family ties were strong. Many a manse garden was brightened by his expertise. 

He never sought office beyond his immediate care, for the circuit ministry was his true devotion. Disciplined in himself, he expected it of others. His ministry bore all the marks of meticulous preparation whether in worship and preaching, or in administration, as well as in his personal affairs. He cared for people beyond the expected limits. Throughout his life he was able to communicate with young people and even as a supernumerary he began a youth club that had good success. People remembered his sermons for their fine expository effectiveness. His colleagues valued his counsel and admired his devotion. At the time of his death there was a wealth of affectionate tributes to his ministry in former circuits. This revealed the great asset of Clifford Brown, his winsome and happy personality. His faith was simple, but deep, and he expressed it with a delightful humour. His face radiated the faith he so eloquently proclaimed and lived out in his daily life. After a short illness he died peacefully on 25th September 1988 in the eighty-fourth year of his age and the sixty-first year of his ministry.


Clifford was born on 28 September 1904 at Lincoln, to parents Albert Edward Brown and Maria Elizabeth Saunby. His mother was a boarding house keeper (1911) at Burnley, Lancashire, following the death of his father in 1906.

He married Phyllis Woolfall (1905-2004) in the spring of 1932 at Blackburn, Lancashire. They had two daughters.

  • Ruth Margaret (1943-2008)
  • Susan E (b1945)

Clifford died in the summer of 1988 at Blackpool, Lancashire.


  • Hartley
  • 1928 Nantwich & Kurland
  • 1932 Market Drayton
  • 1935 Stafford
  • 1939 Great Harwood
  • 1944 Accrington
  • 1948 York, Monkgate
  • 1952 Blackburn Trinity
  • 1956 Bradford Great Horton
  • 1961 Whaley Bridge
  • 1966 Rawtenstall
  • 1969 Rawtenstall (S)


Methodist Minutes 1989/45

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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