Clough, James Leonard (1909-2010)

Minister at St James Road Methodist Church, 1960-1966. From the Southampton Circuit Records
Supplied by Vicky Green

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

James Leonard Clough: Born in Consett, County Durham on 24 September 1909. At his death he was the longest serving British Methodist minister and the last ministerial link with pre-Union Methodism. He had deep roots in Primitive Methodism: his father was a Local Preacher, his maternal grandfather was a Primitive Methodist minister and his great grandfather was one of the first Primitive Methodists in Durham. 

He trained at Hartley Victoria College, representing the College at the Uniting Conference of 1932. In 1933 he was stationed in Scarborough. He then served in the following circuits: Tunbridge Wells, St Leonard’s & Bexhill, Torquay & Paignton, Portsmouth , Gosport & Fareham, Southampton, and Basingstoke, sitting down in 1975. In his ministry he is remembered for his work in building churches both physically in schemes to develop and extend premises and through his powerful preaching. He was proud to be one of ‘Mr Wesley’s Preachers’. 

He is also remembered for his caring and compassionate pastoral work and his work with young people. His ministry was marked by a willingness to assert what he believed right, challenging authority, and a compassion for others. He was an avid reader and writer having two books and some poetry published and maintaining a journal covering significant events of the twentieth century from the outbreak of the First World War onwards. He also was a prolific correspondent keeping in touch with his many friends to the last days of his life. 

Throughout his active ministry he was ably supported by his late wife, Carola (known as Carol). They were married in Tunbridge Wells in 1938 and the marriage was to last until Carola’s death in 1996. On that date he wrote in his journal, “Our loved ones have gone no further from us than to God. God is nearer to all than breathing.” He is survived by two sons, twelve grandchildren and seventeen great grandchildren. He died on 2 December 2010 in the one hundred and second year of his age and the seventy- eighth year of his ministry.


James was born on 24 September 1909 at Consett, Co. Durham, to parents Richard, a grocer, and Annie.

He married Carola Jeanette Cloke (1911-1996) in the summer of 1938 in the Tonbridge Registration District, Kent. Birth Records identify three children.

  • Jeanette A. (b1940)
  • Roger J. (b 1942)
  • Neal J. (b 1944)

James died on 2 December 2010 at Torquay, Devon.


  • Hartley
  • 1933 President’s List
  • 1934 Tunbridge Wells
  • 1938 St Leonards on Sea & Bexhill
  • 1940 Torquay and Paignton
  • 1945 Portsmouth
  • 1950 Gosport &c
  • 1960 Southampton
  • 1966 Basingstoke
  • 1975 Bangor (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 2011/62

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • This page has been modified to add station for 1940-45 and change the place of death to Torquay based on information provided by James’ son Roger.

    By Geoff Dickinson (20/03/2024)

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