Baitey, William (1838-1900)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1891

Early years

William was born in 1838, a foundling. He was discovered on a step in a very fashionable street of Sunderland, Co Durham. William was taken to the workhouse and given the name of the master of that institution. He remained in the workhouse until he was 12 when he was apprenticed to a Primitive Methodist class leader and started to attend Sunday School.

William began to preach as a boy.

Whilst a local preacher, he enjoyed working in the open-air. The “Latter Day Saints” were troubling the east end of Sunderland with their open air lecturing and William frequently debated with them and gained the esteem of the Christian public for his valour.

William was engaged as a hired local preacher at Barnard Castle at the age of 19.


William’s obituary records that he had the gift of popular and eloquent speech and in his best days could thrill large audiences by his brilliant and fervid utterances.

He took a living interest in social public causes, as was inevitable from his strong humanitarian instincts. In the cause of the Durham miners, he took a vigorous part and was a favourite speaker at several of their great annual demonstrations.

Twelve chapels were erected under William’s superintendency.


William married Margaret Jane Bell (1836-1880) in the summer of 1864 in Teesdale, Co Durham. Census returns identify two children.

  • Elizabeth Jane (1870-1955) – married Robert William Millican, a marine engine builder
  • William Robert (1872-1943) – a solicitor

William married Mary Watson (b abt 1862) in the summer of 1886 at Auckland, Co Durham.

William died on 20 March 1900 at South Shields, Co Durham.


  • 1860 Carlisle
  • 1862 St Helens Auckland
  • 1864 Wolsingham
  • 1866 Whitby
  • 1868 Alston
  • 1871 Staithes
  • 1874 Barnard Castle
  • 1877 Auckland
  • 1880 Whitby
  • 1881 Shotley Bridge
  • 1884 Durham
  • 1886 Crook
  • 1889 Sunderland l
  • 1892 Thornley
  • 1897 South Shields


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1883/242 (wife); 1891/512; 1901/466

PM Minutes 1900/8

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers



Comments about this page

  • This page was modified on 1 February 2017 to add a transcription of William’s obituary, published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine 1901.

    By Geoff Dickinson (01/02/2017)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *