Boocock, Nathaniel (1860-1944)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1917
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1920
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1920

Early years

Nathaniel was born on 13 June 1860 at Eastburn, nr Kildwick, Yorkshire to parents Nathaniel and Elizabeth. Nathaniel, senior, was a coachman and shepherd (1871).

Nathaniel began work as a ‘half-timer’ at the age of eight and became a foreman at eighteen. In the mill he gained a knowledge of machinery and men that stood him in good stead in later years.

As a boy, Nathaniel attended a Church of England Sunday School. He was converted through a Primitive Methodist service at Eastburn when he was aged nineteen. When aged twenty, Nathaniel became a Sunday school visitor and received a note to accompany William Fletcher in the Silsden circuit. On 1 January 1883, Nathaniel went to the Skipton circuit as a hired local preacher. In 1884, he was appointed as an evangelist in the London First District.

Nathaniel entered the ministry later than most, but had served an apprenticeship of nine years as an evangelist.


Whilst still a probationer, Nathaniel was asked to go to Africa, and gladly accepted. The earliest appointment was to the important charge of Santa Isabel and resulted in a record term of three and a quarter years. Unfortunately his first wife died whilst in Africa.

Nathaniel spent four terms in Nigeria, largely pioneering work. He was involved in creating the missions at Bottler Point, Urua Eye, Adadia and Oron.

Nathaniel’s terms on home circuits were interrupted by the insistent call of Africa. However, wherever he worked, even for a short time, his influence was felt. His ministry was intelligent, broad-minded and intensely evangelistic. His mechanical ingenuity, his musical ability, his linguistic facility have all been an important contributor to his work.

His obituary records that Nathaniel was essentially a pioneer, keen for extension and explored a number of new areas where missions were established. Of outstanding physique, and almost unlimited strength, he made many exhausting journeys, mostly by boat, was in labours abundant, and achieved considerable success.

Following his retirement, Nathaniel settled at Cambridge.


Nathaniel authored the following.

Our Fernandian Mission, 1912


Nathaniel married Alice Mary Jones in the spring of 1894 at West Ham, Essex.

Nathaniel married Annie Maria Saunders (1868-1928) in the summer of 1898 in the Winslow Registration District, Buckinghamshire. Census returns identify two of three children.

  • Maude Isabel (1901-1912)
  • Ralph Oron (1907-1993) – a post office engineer (1944)

Nathaniel died on 18 December 1944 at Cambridge, Cambridgeshire.


  • 1892 Buckingham
  • 1893 Balham & Brixton
  • 1894 San Carlos Bay
  • 1896 St Isabel
  • 1897 on furlough
  • 1901 Horsham
  • 1902 W Africa
  • 1910 Sleaford
  • 1912 Leighton Buzzard
  • 1916 Aylesbury
  • 1918 W Africa
  • 1919 St Ives, Hunts
  • 1922 Redruth
  • 1926 Glascote
  • 1928 Northampton (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1917/852; 1920/742

Methodist Minutes 1945/127

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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