Cawthorne, Reginald (1887-1955)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

REGINALD CAWTHORNE: born at Ripon, Yorkshire, in 1887, was educated at the Leeds and Scarborough Grammar Schools. At the age of sixteen he became a local preacher, and soon heard the call to the ministry of the Primitive Methodist Church. After his theological training in Hartley College, he served for one year in Walthamstow, and then, responding to the urgent call of Africa, sailed for Nigeria in 1913. There followed eleven years of strenuous pioneer work, strengthening old causes and establishing new churches amid those who lived in the strongholds of heathenism and fetishism. But the conditions in which he laboured took toll of his health and it became necessary for him to return to the English work. 

He travelled in the following circuits: Hull (Third), Hull (Holderness Road), Driffield, Lincoln (Portland Place), and Hull (St. George’s Road). Whilst at St. George’s Road he was appointed Synod Secretary of the Hull District, a task for which he was highly qualified by his meticulous attention to detail and accuracy of thought. It was the strain of this work which compelled him to become a supernumerary in 1949, but after two years’ rest he accepted the superintendency of the Pateley Bridge circuit.

Deeply interested in the Christian Endeavour movement, he was twice elected President of the Yorkshire Federation. His preaching was erudite and compelled attention. A lover of music, he not only had a pleasing singing voice, but acted as choirmaster in more than one of his churches. He made it his mission to reveal the beautiful, and was known for the gladness with which he served others. He was respected and beloved in all his circuits. He died, after three months of suffering, in the Harrogate General Hospital, on 1st March 1955, in the sixty-eighth year of his life and the forty-third of his ministry.


Reginald was born on 21 January 1887 at Ripon, Yorkshire, to parents John George Cawthorne, a Prudential Assurance agent and local preacher (1891), and Mary Eleanor Peel.

He married Lilian Edith Pickett (b1887) in the summer of 1915 at Holywell Cross Church, Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Lilian was the daughter of Rev. James Pickett.

He married Edith Marie Wills (1898-1979) in late 1928 at Hull, Yorkshire.

Reginald died on 1 March 1955 at Harrogate, Yorkshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1912 Walthamstow
  • 1913 West Africa
  • 1924 Hull III
  • 1934 Driffield
  • 1939 London Port Pl
  • 1944 Hull St George Rd
  • 1949 Supernum
  • 1951 Pateley Bridge


Methodist Minutes 1955/136

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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