Campbell, William Herbert (1885-1967)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

WILLIAM HERBERT CAMPBELL: born in Willington, Co. Durham, in 1885. A son of the manse, he was educated at Motherwell Elementary School and Gateshead Higher Grammar School. After training at Hartley College he entered the Primitive Methodist Ministry in 1907, and served in circuits in Bishop Auckland, Shipley, Wishaw, Motherwell, Sunderland, Carlisle, Darlington, Birmingham and York.

When he retired from the active work, he was appointed Secretary to the Chapel Aid Association and continued to live in York. His ministry was entirely characteristic of the man. Steadfast in his faith, he was strong and courageous in his living. At the same time he possessed a sympathetic understanding of his fellowmen and their needs. These qualities made him an effective preacher and a devoted pastor. For example, during his ministry in Sunderland in the days of economic depression which followed the First World War, he brought help and comfort to men and women who were in great need of it. Fellowship was the breath of life to him and those who were privileged to share in the Men’s Fireside which he started in Carlisle, where two hundred unemployed met every Friday night, will always treasure the memories of those days. 

He also possessed considerable organizing and administrative abilities. Before Methodist Union he was twice elected Chairman of his District Synod and was the first Secretary of the Carlisle District Synod of the united Church. He took a full part in the life of the community in which he lived and made frequent contributions to the Methodist Magazine and other periodicals under the name of ‘Douglas Durham’. He was always a good friend and wise counsellor to his brother ministers. Throughout the whole of his ministry he was able to give of his best because of the unfaltering support of a loving and devoted wife. The last twelve months of his life were spent in failing health in Willersley House, the Methodist Home for the Aged, near Hull, and he died in the Western General Hospital, Hull, on the 2 June 1967, in the eighty-second year of his age and the sixtieth of his ministry.


William was born on 20 November 1885 at Willington, Co. Durham, to parents Alfred John Campbell, a PM minister, and Emily Josephine Telford.

He married Elizabeth Clark (b1885) in the summer of 1911 at Chester le Street, Co. Durham. The 1933 Methodist Who’s Who identifies that they had one son and one daughter.

William died on 2 June 1967 at Hull, Yorkshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1907 Bishop Auckland
  • 1911 Shipley
  • 1914 Wishaw II
  • 1918 Motherwell
  • 1922 Sunderland III
  • 1928 Carlisle Cecil
  • 1934 Darlington N
  • 1939 Birmingham Sparkhill
  • 1941 York Monkgate
  • 1944 Church Aid Assistant Secretary
  • 1948 supernum


Methodist Minutes 1967/204

1933 Methodist Who’s Who

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • Hi Geoff, I have a come into position of a scrapbook dated 1901 belonging to one of William’s friends, within the diary there is a very good hand sketch of William Herbert Campbell drawn by one of his friends. It depicts him as overweight and in a dress! I diary is full of comical sketches and poetry written by others and it appears that it was created in good humour and that he was well liked.

    By Jenny (07/01/2022)

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