Clarke, Edwin (1836-1918)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by W. Tootell

EDWIN CLARKE.—The frontier of our Church are often pushed forward, positions are won and established, by men who are endowed mainly with passion and persistance; passion for souls and persistance in achieving their object. Such a man was Edwin Clarke. The possessor of rich qualities of heart, and an intellect of no mean order, he employed his powers without ostention, not seeking the limelight, but nevertheless making a valuable and lasting contribution to the Church which called him into his ministry. 

Born at Longport in 1836, the son of a glass cutter, he entered as a lad the ranks of the toilers in the potteries. Converted before reaching his majority he soon became an active Christian worker. Connected first of all with the mother church of Methodism, his name appeared on trial in the Burslem Wesleyan Pian in 1856. Eventually he joined our own Church in Tunstall, and his gifts and graces marked him out as one fitted for the wider ministry of Primitive Methodism. At the age of 22 he became a travelling preacher. The circuits which enjoyed the benefit of his ministry are the  following: Poplar, Jersey, Saffron Waldon, Whitstable, Prittlewell, Cheltenham, South Molten, Penzance, Hereford, Harwich, Kelsall, Hadleigh, Portland, Rhondda, and Hay. 

On all these he laboured conscientiously and efficiently. Whilst serving on the Hay Circuit his wife passed into the Homeland, and after a ministry of 40 years our friend felt unable to take up the burden singlehanded. In the same year he retired from active work. 

For many years he resided in Newport and rendered occasional service to our Church there, where he is remembered as a sincere kindly man of God. Removing from Newport to Pontypridd, he passed away at the latter place at his eldest son’s residence, after an illness lasting for three weeks, on October 27th, 1918, in his 82nd year. In accordance with his wishes the funeral took place at Hay, Breconshire, on November 2nd, when his body was laid to rest with her predeceased him many years before, but whose memory never faded. Rev. G. Bennison, of Hereford, assisted by Rev. Wesley Homer, of Hay, officiated, There among the Brecon hills, typical of those from whence came his help, his body sleeps. The faithful soul has heard God’s ‘Well done!’ Behind him are influences that will abide and accumulate in power. We thank God for his life and work, and pray to be made worthy of the heritage which such as he have won for us.


Edwin was born in 1836 at Longport, Staffordshire, to parents Joseph , a glasscutter (1841), and Sarah.

He married Letitia Parsons (1838-1899) in the spring of 1866 at Kingsclere, Hampshire. Census returns identify seven children.

  • Letitia Hammond (1867-1946) – a music teacher (1891); married Frederick James Young, a coal miner, in 1899
  • Elmer Joseph (1869-1876)
  • Julia Sarah (1870-1950) – a dressmaker (1891); married George Thomas Brown, an assurance agent (1911), in 1896
  • Charlotte Elizabeth (1872-1953) – married Naboth Patten, a house painter, in 1900
  • Edwin John (1873-1944) – a coal trimmer (1901); a tramway motorman (1911)
  • George James (1877-1956) – an assurance agent (1901)
  • Annie Eliza (b1880) – married Oscar Llewellyn Watkins, a house painter, in 1905

Edwin died on 27 October 1918 at Pontypridd, Glamorgan.


  • 1860 Chelmsford
  • 1861 Sheerness
  • 1862 Northampton
  • 1863 Bedford
  • 1866 London III
  • 1868 Jersey
  • 1870 Saffron Walden
  • 1872 Whitstable
  • 1875 Rochford
  • 1877 Cheltenham
  • 1878 S Molton
  • 1880 Penzance
  • 1883 Hereford
  • 1884 Harwich
  • 1886 Kelsale
  • 1888 Hadleigh
  • 1891 Portland
  • 1895 Pontypridd
  • 1896 Rhondda
  • 1897 Hay
  • 1900 Hay (Sup)
  • 1912 Pontypridd


PM Minutes 1919/251

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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