Crawford, John (1898-1976)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

JOHN CRAWFORD: born in Earsdon, Northumberland, on 9th July 1898. It was as a sixteen-year-old miner from Silksworth Colliery that he preached his first sermon in Cleveland Road Chapel, Sunderland. In 1920, after combatant service in France with the East Yorkshire Regiment, he offered as a candidate for the Primitive Methodist ministry, spent a pre-collegiate year in Welshpool and then was trained at Hartley College. 

Subsequently he served in the following circuits: Cambridge, Stockton-on-Tees, Hull (St. George’s Road), Hetton, Gateshead (East), Houghton-le-Spring, and Sunderland (South). When compelled to retire on medical advice in 1960 he had served thirty-one of his thirty-eight years  of active ministry in County Durham. For seven years he was Secretary and for five Chairman of the Sunderland and Durham District, doing much to inspire its life and plan its activities, like the Durham Big Meeting. 

The development of the work in the new town of Peterlee owed a great deal to his wise guidance. He served on several connexional committees and in all such spheres gladly placed his fine administrative gifts at the disposal of the Church. As a preacher he always gave his congregations credit for the possession of minds as well as hearts and couched his thoughtful expositions of the Word in graceful language. As a pastor he cared for his people with sympathy and understanding, and brought healing comfort to many stricken with trouble. 

His wife, Mary Elizabeth Fenwick, despite the handicap of poor health, gave him wonderful support throughout his ministry. They retired in Sunderland, close to the scenes of their early days, and after her death he was graciously cared for in the home of his sister-in-law. He found much pleasure also in the company of his step-daughter, grand-children and great-grand-children. As a young man he had been a notable athlete and retained an interest in sport to the end of his life. It was sad to see a once fine physique ravaged by the wasting disease which he bore with great courage and patience. His end came mercifully on 31st December 1976, in the seventy-ninth year of his life and the fifty-fifth year of his ministry.


John was born on 9 July 1898 at Earsdon, Northumberland, to parents Thomas, a coal miner, and Mary.

He married Mary Lizzie Fenwick, nee Ogden (1889-1966) in the spring of 1926 at Houghton le Spring, Co.Durham. Mary had a daughter Edna (b1913) from her first marriage.

John died on 31 December 1976.


  • 1920 Welshpool
  • 1921 Hartley
  • 1923 Cambridge
  • 1926 Stockton
  • 1931 Hull St George Rd
  • 1834 Hetton
  • 1940 Gateshead E
  • 1944 Houghton le Spring
  • 1954 Sunderland S
  • 1960 Sunderland S (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 1977/64

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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