Corner, Clarence Vincent (1909-1990)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

CLARENCE VINCENT CORNER: born on 1st June 1909 at Thornaby on Tees, Cleveland. After an early career in Railway Signalling he entered the ministry and received his training at Hartley College. He served in the following circuits: Chinnor, Hull, Middlesbrough Mission, Market Weighton, Goole, Birmingham (Moseley Road), London (Walthamstow), Portsmouth and Southsea, Edinburgh (Nicholson Square) and as Chairman of the Lincoln District. 

Clarence was a fine minister who had an excellent ministry. He read deeply and widely, especially in theology and philosophy of religion — Martin Buber and H H Farmer were his great loves and mentors. His theological appetite was enormous. Possessed of an honest and enquiring mind, he loved debate and argument and was delighted when he found someone who could match him in these skills. He took the office of preaching seriously and did it full honour, his preaching reflecting his reading. Sermons were always carefully prepared and well presented and “the common people heard him gladly”. Nothing second rate was ever part of him and he looked for the same high standards in others. 

As a pastor he was greatly loved and appreciated. He took a particular interest in young people. He was an assiduous visitor, particularly to the sick and those in trouble. A keen ecumenist he contributed greatly to the movement in Portsmouth and in Edinburgh. His worth was recognised when he received the invitation to Edinburgh (Nicholson Square) and when he was called from there to the Chair of the Lincoln District. At Lincoln he exercised a loving care for the ministers and their families. He was an excellent administrator and colleague. Synod was presided over with firmness and fairness and he was not afraid sometimes to administer a rebuke. 

Clarence was essentially a private person, shy, quiet, reserved, meditative. All these made some people think that he was aloof and unapproachable. This was not the case, as those who knew him best loved him best and found in him a good friend. Indeed, if he gave someone his friendship then that person possessed it forever. Clarence was not without a sense of humour and he loved a good story and a joke. 

He retired first to York and then to Oxford, and finally to Ham in the Richmond and Hounslow Circuit where he was greatly appreciated as a preacher and as a colleague. His last years were marked by major surgery and considerable pain and discomfort, but he bore it all with his usual philosophical approach and with patience and fortitude. He died on 21st March 1990 in the eighty-first year of his age and the fifty-seventh year of his ministry.


Clarence was born on 1 June 1909 at Thornaby on Tees, Cleveland, to parents Charles, a commercial clerk (1911), and Sarah Ann.

He married Elsie May Smith (1907-2002) in the spring of 1938 at Hull, Yorkshire.

Clarence died on 21 March 1990 at Ham, Surrey.


  • Hartley
  • 1933 President’s List
  • 1934 Hull, Anlaby Rd
  • 1937 Middlesbrough
  • 1939 Market Weighton
  • 1941 Goole, Carlisle Terrace
  • 1945 Birmingham, Moseley Rd
  • 1950 London, Waltham
  • 1955 Portsmouth &c
  • 1964 Edinburgh, Nicholson Square
  • 1968 Lincoln District Chairman
  • 1973 Easingwold (S)


Methodist Minutes 1990/21

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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