Barrett, Wilson (1841-1913)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1896
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1914
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1908

Early years

Wilson was born on 1 July 1841 at Low Moor, nr Clitheroe, Lancashire to parents John Barrett and Ann Smith. John worked as a cotton spinner.

In 1845 the family moved to Grimshaw Park, Blackburn. At the age of 8, Wilson was sent out to work in the cotton mill as a ‘half timer’; half his time working, half his time in school. When 13, He moved with his parents to Clayton-le-Moors. There he worked full-time as a mill operative. Wilson continued his education at night school and, when aged 15, he joined the Mechanics Institute at Clayton-le-Moors.

Although he attended the Wesleyan Sunday School as a boy, Wilson was converted through the preaching of James MacPherson. He joined the Primitive Methodists at Clayton-le-Moors and was soon a useful Sunday School teacher.


During his ministry, Wilson superintended the erection of seven new chapels and one set of schoolrooms. After he superannuated in 1907, he served several circuits in ‘special capacity’, finally retiring in July 1913.

He was a man of liberal and independent opinions, and held somewhat closely to the orthodox faith, although not binding himself to outworn expressions of that faith. His preaching was searching, pointed and scriptural.

He was almost ideal as a pastor. Though seemingly brusque in manner, yet beneath there was a tenderness and sympathy, deep and real.


Wilson married Christian Rushton (1841-1908) on 12 July 1866 at Blackburn 1866. Census returns identify five children.

  • Albert (b1867) – a Congregational Minister
  • John Henry (1870-1926) – a colliery contractor
  • Wilson (b1879)
  • Gertrude (b1881)
  • Lily (1881-1882)

Wilson died on 10 December 1913 at Chesterfield, Derbyshire.


  • 1862 Winster
  • 1863 Lincoln
  • 1864 Ashby de la Zouch
  • 1866 Clay Cross
  • 1868 Newark
  • 1870 Donington
  • 1873 Leicester I
  • 1874 Leicester III
  • 1877 Clay Cross
  • 1881 Sheffield IV
  • 1884 Chorley
  • 1889 Bury
  • 1892 Bolton I
  • 1895 Sheffield VII
  • 1898 Knowlwood
  • 1901 Buckley
  • 1904 Sutton & Kirby
  • 1907 Chesterfield (S)
  • 1908 Todmorden


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1896/643; 1908/827 (wife); 1914/237

PM Minutes 1914/15

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • My father was Horace Howson Barrett from Clayton Le Moors. His father was John Henry Barrett from the Derbyshire area.

    My father was sent from Chesterfield to Clayton Le Moors at the age of four when his father, a schoolteacher, left his wife and three children to live with another schoolteacher. He subsequently left her and went to sea. I have a letter he sent from Sydney, Australia, from on board the ship Liverpool to relatives in Derbyshire complaining he was being ostracised.

    My father was adopted by the Howson family but he kept the Barrett name. My sister has a wonderful photograph of two elderly gentlemen, dressed as clergymen, taken about the turn of the century and known in our family as Henry Wilson Barrett, Superintendent of the Methodist circuit, in the Derbyshire area.

    I was wondering if the lady who wrote about Henry Wilson Barrett could shed some more light on John Henry Barrett. Incidentally my name is John Andrew Barrett. The Andrew comes from Andrew Howson of Clayton Le Moors who took my father in. The Howson were stalwarts of the local Primitive Methodist Chapel.

    By John Andrew Barrett (12/08/2017)
  • I am the great grand-daughter of Rev. Wilson Barrett. My father Wilson, was the son of John Henry Barrett. This research is fascinating to myself and family as I have his bible.

    By Joan P (05/04/2014)

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