Birks, William (1829-1901)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1880
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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