Clemitson, Robert (1901-1977)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

ROBERT CLEMITSON: born in Crook, County Durham on 14th February 1901, was the son of Primitive Methodist parents and the grandson of a Primitive Methodist minister, after whom he was named. Throughout his life he retained a proper pride in coming from the County of Durham and in this spiritual heritage. Following his education at James I Grammar School, Bishop Auckland, he commenced training as an analytical chemist, from which he was given notice when the possibility of his candidature for the ministry became known. Thereafter he joined his father and worked in the family pharmacy in the market place at Crook until his candidature for the ministry in 1923. 

He was trained at Hartley College and his entire ministry was influenced by the teaching of A.S. Peake, of whom he always spoke with grateful affection. He served as a probationer minister in the East London Mission and Eyemouth Circuits before his ordination at Jarrow in 1930 and marriage the same year to Nellie Gwendoline Aston. His ministry continued in the following circuits: Brough, Birmingham (II), The Hartlepools, Scarborough (Jubilee), and after a period during the 1939-45 war as a R.A.F. chaplain, Manchester (Harpurhey), Coventry (Central), Windsor, Maidenhead and Slough, Manchester (Culcheth), Stour Vale, Bridlington and Old Hill. 

When he became a Supernumerary he made his home in Stourbridge, continuing to preach in that circuit and neighbouring circuits until the time of his death. Robert Clemitson was a man of quiet and modest disposition with a distinctive and winsome blend of shyness, a delightfully dry sense of humour and the gifts of a good conversationalist. He had a sensitive understanding of human nature and was much loved for his ability to enter into the joys and sorrows of those to whom he ministered. A gentle and expressive voice combined with a slow and deliberate delivery made him an attractive preacher who drew on everyday experience so that his hearers might be told simply the story of the unsearchable riches of God’s love in Christ. No stranger to the moral law within, neither was he to the starry heavens above, for astronomy was his hobby for over 40 years. His election in 1956 to be a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society was a distinction that he greatly valued. He died suddenly on 13th June 1977 in the seventy-seventh year of his age and the fifty-first year of his ministry.


Robert was born on 12 February 1901 at Crook, Co. Durham, to parents Joseph William Clemitson and Priscilla Crawford. he was baptised on 14 February 1901.

He married Nellie Gwendoline Aston (1903-1993) in the summer of 1930 at Dudley, Staffordshire. Birth records identify two daughters.

  • Florence D (b1931)
  • Cecelia A (b1939)

Robert died on 13 June 1977 in the Dudley Registration District, Staffordshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1926 E London
  • 1928 Eyemouth
  • 1930 Brough
  • 1932 Birmingham III
  • 1936 The Hartlepools
  • 1940 Scarborough Jubilee
  • 1942 Chaplain H.M. Forces
  • 1943 Manchester Harpurhay
  • 1945 Coventry Cent
  • 1948 Windsor &c
  • 1951 Manchester Culcheth
  • 1955 Stour Vale
  • 1958 Bridlington
  • 1961 Old Hill
  • 1966 Stourbridge (S)


Methodist Minutes 1977/63

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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