Brownson, William James (1839-1897)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1893

Early years

William was born on 30 September 1839 at Nottingham. His father John was a PM Minister.

William was educated at Nottingham ‘Peoples College’, Nottingham Free Grammar School and Sheffield ‘School of Design, spending three years attending each establishment.

William gave himself to Christ in November 1850 at Hockley Chapel, Nottingham. He became a local preacher in September 1857. Immediately before entering the ministry William supplied for Rev John Woodcock in Nottingham.


William undertook a good share of chapel building and enlargement. He was able to use his own skills as a draughtsman to draw up plans and specifications.

William served on the General Probationers Examining Committee.

The matter of his preaching was mainly doctrinal and ethical, but was ever the old truth, made fresh and attractive by a new setting.

At Scalford, in the Melton Mowbray circuit, William’s father preached the school anniversary sermon for 25 consecutive years. When he died William stepped in and preached the anniversary for 32 years without a break.


William married Eleanor Lace (1837-1889) in the spring of 1867 at Derby. Elizabeth was the daughter of Charles Lace. Census returns identify four children.

  • Eleanor Wilhelmina S C (1868-1880)
  • Charles William L (1870- 1947)- an electrical fitter
  • John Bernard (1872-1947) – a musician
  • Mona Lilian Hilda (1876-1893)

William married Thomasin Driffield (1840-1914) in the spring of 1894 at Axbridge, Somerset.

William died on 28 November 1897 at Ramsgate, Kent.


  • 1861 Horncastle
  • 1862 Burton on Trent
  • 1863 Melton Mowbray
  • 1864 Chesterfield
  • 1866 Ashby de la Zouch
  • 1868 Derby
  • 1870 Leicester II
  • 1873 Horncastle
  • 1875 Sleaford
  • 1877 Ashby de la Zouch
  • 1880 Crewe
  • 1883 Birkenhead
  • 1886 Sandbach
  • 1889 Otley
  • 1892 Salisbury
  • 1894 Portsmouth
  • 1896 Tunbridge Wells
  • 1897 Ramsgate


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1893/577; 1900/227

PM Minutes 1898/8

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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