Birks, William (1829-1901)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1880

Early Years

William was born on 29 November 1829 at Tideswell, Derbyshire.

William’s family moved to Marple when he was young. He attended a Wesleyan Sunday School, but it was through Primitive Methodists that he was converted in 1842. William moved to Stockport and, for several years, he was a Sunday School teacher and the Secretary of a Missionary and Revival Band. He became a class leader and local preacher.


His obituary records that he was a careful, peaceful, plodding circuit preacher; a diligent, devout and faithful pastor; attentive to family visitation; and always eager to win the affection of the young.


William married Jenifer Ann Renfry on 25 December 1856 at Liskeard, Cornwall. Census returns identify five children.

  • Madeline Matilda Birks (b1859)
  • William Antliff Orlando (b1862) – superintendent in assurance company (1891)
  • Frederick George (1866-1936)
  • Samuel Antliff Wesley (1870-1928) – a schoolmaster
  • Jenifer Ann Birks (1877-1962) – a nurse

William died on 19 August 1901 at Stockport, Cheshire.


  • 1852 St Austell
  • 1854 Bridgewater
  • 1855 Gravesend & Aveley
  • 1857 Hammersmith
  • 1858 Ramsgate
  • 1859 Bradford
  • 1861 Halifax
  • 1862 Leighton Buzzard
  • 1865 High Wycombe
  • 1867 Bedford
  • 1870 Belfast
  • 1872 Tamworth
  • 1874 Rugby
  • 1876 Clitheroe
  • 1878 Helmshore
  • 1880 Bolton ll
  • 1881 Skelmersdale
  • 1883 Pocklington
  • 1885 Peterborough
  • 1888 Newark
  • 1891 Motherwell
  • 1893 Stockport (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1880 (portrait)

PM Minutes 1902/7

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


Comments about this page

  • I am the great great grandson of the Rev. William. I came across this today by accident, so a very pleasant surprise. Frederick George was my great grandfather. The family remained/returned to Northern Ireland following his time in Belfast. Well done for your efforts.

    By Andrew Murphy (23/04/2019)
  • Birks was a name associated with Ashover and related areas of Derbyshire.  There may well have been a distant relationship between the two men – but they were certainly not directly related.  (William Birks b1843) was my great grandfather and I have done considerable research on his family.

    By J Crossland (15/09/2014)
  • Is William Birks related to Reverend William Birks (b.1843  in Stoney Middleton, Derbyshire) who was a Unitarian Minister. His father was William Birks (b. abt 1806 in Ashover, Derbyshire) also a Unitarian Minister?

    By Bob (21/08/2014)
  • Bob,

    Thanks for your question.

    I have seen no evidence in my brief family history search to suggest any relationship between the two.

    By Geoff Dickinson (21/08/2014)

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