Bowness, John (1866-1930)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1921
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1931
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1921

Early years

John was born in 1866 at Bishop Norton, Lincolnshire, to parents William and Hannah. John was baptised on 14 October 1866 at Bishop Norton.

John spent his childhood at Corringham, nr Gainsborough, where William worked as a farm bailiff (1871). He worked as a farm servant in his youth.

John was converted under the ministry of Rev F Rudd when aged thirteen and was authorised to preach at the age of sixteen. Before entering the Manchester Theological College, John spent a year in the East Keswick Collegiate School under the tutorship of Rev H B Kendall.


In his second appointment at Monmouth, John was a probationer superintendent.

Perhaps through accidents of circuit conditions, John was more engaged in clearing off church debts than in erecting new buildings.

John served as Temperance Secretary in two Districts and as Building Committee Secretary.

His obituary records that there was a delicate reserve and independence about John, a quaint rustic sense of fidelity, a love of the commonplace and unadorned, which showed in the open and unaffected quality of his character and workmanship. Wherever he lived, whatever he was engaged in doing, whenever he spoke in private or in public, one could discern the plain honest gentleman who had learned his values on the slopes of Galilee and in the streets of Judea.

He was unskilled in rhetoric, and would not be described as a fluent orator, though he could lift the hearer at times to a high altitude of intense feeling and conviction. He was ever a thoughtful and rich expositor of the Word, whose quiet and rather subdued manner had the effect of making the Truth both grow and glow within the soul. His preaching had the effect not of a meteor, but of a steady shining star, stimulating trust and reaffirming one’s faith in the trustworthiness of God.


John married Isabella Allison (1866-1936) in the summer of 1896 at Middleton-in-Teesdale, Co Durham. Isabella was a sister to Rev John Watson Allison. Their only child died in infancy.

John died on 1 July 1930 at Kirkby Stephen, Westmorland.


  • Hartley
  • 1892 Horncastle
  • 1893 Monmouth
  • 1895 Barnsley II
  • 1898 Otley
  • 1902 Sheffield VIII
  • 1906 Mexborough
  • 1909 Nelson
  • 1913 Hull IV
  • 1916 Kendal
  • 1922 Skipton
  • 1927 Brough


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1921/708; 1931/691

PM Minutes 1931/285

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • Please note that Elizabeth was the granddaughter of Henry Allinson (different spelling of surname) of Grassholme Mill Lunedale, whose obituary was in the 1855 PM mag page 328.

    By David Leese (16/10/2021)

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