Bailey, John (1849-1939)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1909
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1909

Early years

John was born in 1849 at Westminster, London. His parents were Wesleyan and John attended the Wesleyan Sunday School.

John was converted in the glow and fervour of a Primitive Methodist revival and identified himself with the PM Church. John trained as an engineer in the Royal Navy and was called into ministry by Dr Samuel Antliff.


The 1909 sketch in the PM magazine records that John had done yeoman service in very difficult spheres. To use his own words, ‘ for twenty years he was engaged in leading forlorn hopes in the fashionable watering-places on the South Coast,’ where Primitive Methodism has not struck the popular imagination.

Memorials to John’s enterprise and industry include the Southsea Central Hall, the gothic church at Bexhill, the church at Eastney and the church at West End, Southampton.

As a preacher he had the popular gift, could talk to the man in the street, knew how to get to the heart of his hearers, and could sway a crowd by his magnetic speech. He was a born evangelist, and in all his preaching the evangelical note was proclaimed with no uncertain sound. He was also a splendid singer and was engaged as a singing evangelist across the country.

His obituary records that he was a man of immense zeal, of devout spirit, and combined strength of character with a great love of humanity.


John married Fannie Moffatt (1850-1916) in the summer of 1877 at Pontefract, Yorkshire. Census returns identify six children.

  • John Gordon Moffatt (1878-1949) – book-keeper in borough treasurer’s department (1911)
  • Flora Jane L (1880-1958)
  • Colin Campbell (1881-1930) – company secretary (1911)
  • Horace Moore (1883-1914) – emigrated to Canada
  • Claude Arthur (1884-1968) – a chemist (1911)
  • Gladys Irene Maud (b1887) – married John Cromwell Cosens Prior, a solicitor

John married Ada Theodore Bishop (1879-1946) in late 1927 at Havant, Hampshire.

John died on 1 June 1939 at Portsmouth, Hampshire.


  • 1871 St Neots
  • 1872 Liskeard
  • 1873 Abergavenny
  • 1874 Buriton
  • 1875 Ryde
  • 1876 Shoreham
  • 1878 Newport Pagnall
  • 1879 London II
  • 1882 Sheffield III
  • 1884 Sheffield IV
  • 1886 Swansea
  • 1888 Bristol III
  • 1891 Ramsgate
  • 1895 Kentish Town
  • 1898 Southampton II
  • 1900 Portsmouth
  • 1904 Hastings
  • 1907 Barnsley II
  • 1909 Banbury
  • 1911 Halstead
  • 1913 Weymouth (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1909/633

PM Minutes 1939/219

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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