Barker, William (1856-1937)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1914
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1914
Rev. William Barker and Hannah
Supplied by Jonathan David Shepherd

Early years

William was born in 1856 at Pickering, Yorkshire to parents Thomas and Sarah. Thomas was a groom and coachman.

William was brought up at Whitby, Yorkshire. Before entering the ministry William was a sailor, a newspaper reporter and a schoolmaster. He had the option of entering the Anglican ministry, but preferred to remain true to the Primitive Methodists.


During a nine year term at Darwen, William built a beautiful church and raised over £1,000 a year for church purposes. During five years at Higher Ardwick, Manchester, he succeeded in reducing the debt by over £1,000 and increased the members’ roll.

William was a PM representative to the Toronto Ecumenical Conference in 1911. In the Manchester District he undertook twenty-one years of secretarial work. William was Secretary of Conference in 1910 at Tunstall. For many years William was chief Conference reporter for one of the connexional newspapers.

His obituary records that amidst his busy life, his passion for souls dominated everything he did. A rich humanity and an understanding mind deepened his influence on people amongst whom he worked. His powerful and vivid preaching, with its intelligent application to the problems of the people, made him a beloved teacher and friend.


William married Hannah Rebecca Boulton (1954-1938) in the summer of 1882 at Spilsby, Lincolnshire. Hannah was a daughter of Rev James Boulton. Census returns identify three of four children.

  • William Boulton (1883-1950) – an optician
  • Hilda Beacroft (1888-1965) – a schoolteacher (1911); married Ernest George Shepherd, a civil servant customs and excise (1939), in 1919
  • Doris Wilson (b1890 – a milliner (1911)

William died on 22 October 1937 in Manchester, Lancashire.


  • Sunderland
  • 1878 Sheffield V
  • 1881 Clay Cross
  • 1882 Sleaford
  • 1884 Derby I
  • 1886 Oldham I
  • 1889 Bury
  • 1890 Darwen
  • 1899 Manchester V
  • 1904 Manchester II
  • 1911 Preston II
  • 1915 Stockport II
  • 1920 Manchester (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1914/422

Methodist Minutes 1938/183

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • Passed away on the 22 October 1937 at 40 Athol Road Manchester. (On death certificate Withington) William Boulton Barker was in attendance. ” Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” John Wesley.

    By Jonathan Shepherd (14/06/2015)
  • William Barker was born  on the eighteenth of February 1856 at Eastgate Pickering.

    By Jonathan Shepherd (03/06/2015)
  • Hilda Beacroft Barker married Ernest George Shepherd at Bethesda Primitive Methodist Chapel on the 8th day of October 1919. William Barker probably took the service.

    By Jonathan Shepherd (02/06/2015)
  • William Boulton Barker was familiarly known as “Barker Bill.”

    By Jonathan Shepherd (30/05/2015)

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