Beckhurst, John Henry James (1837-1911)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1893
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1911

Early years

John was born on 5 August 1837 at Reading, Berkshire to parents William Thomas Beckhurst and Frances Patience Godden.

John lived in Reading for 22 years. He attended the Minister Street Sunday School.

John’s education was irregular and imperfect. He would often truant after hare and hound; and bird nesting had a greater attraction for him than the school house. As a child, John often visited the home of a Wesleyan supernumerary, Rev S Leigh, a returned missionary and was impressed by his stories.

John credits his conversion in February 1856 to Rev Joseph Thomason. His whole being was revolutionised. He became an omnivorous reader and studied with such tremendous earnestness that he alarmed members of his family.

He became a local preacher with Mr Samuel Fawcett acting as his mentor.


John’s obituary records that whilst he gave some attention to the erection of chapels and other trust properties, yet he put in much more time and strength to the very necessary work of debt reduction. He practised systematic giving, and taught his people to do the same.

John was very keen to work with groups of young men and out of this work at least seven of his ‘disciples’ entered the ministry.

John was very committed to the temperance movement. He would often attend licensing hearings to object to new licenses and renewals, and on more than one occasion had his life threatened.


John married Mary Ann Osman (1837-1913) in late 1866 at Easthampstead, Berkshire. Records identify two daughters.

  • Gertrude Annie Osman (1867-1964) – married George Potter Harding, an ironmonger
  • Evangeline Louisa (1868-1868)

John died on 13 February 1911 at Eton, Buckinghamshire.


  • 1861 Maidenhead
  • 1862 London I
  • 1864 Leighton Buzzard
  • 1866 London II
  • 1868 London IV
  • 1871 Canterbury
  • 1874 Luton
  • 1877 Gravesend
  • 1880 Aldershot
  • 1881 Newport, IoW
  • 1884 Sheffield III
  • 1887 Nottingham III
  • 1891 High Wycombe
  • 1893 Leicester I
  • 1896 Cheltenham
  • 1897 Oldham II
  • 1901 Hastings
  • 1904 Slough (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1893/449; 1911/987

PM Minutes 1911/18

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Gore Family Tree on

Comments about this page

  • Thank you for this info a lot i knew but some not. John is my GGrandfathers eldest brother so it is great having the extra info to add to his story Regards Norma

    By Norma Vella (04/11/2013)

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