Clark, Frederick Herbert (1878-1953)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1928
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1928
Picture taken circa 1915. From left to right as viewed the children are Eric Howard, then Mavis Freda, and finally Zoe Katherine (sitting with her father)
Hampshire Record Office: 58M75/NMC68 through Noel Clark

Early years

Frederick was born in 1878 at Springfield, Chelmsford, Essex, to parents Henry and Phoebe. Henry, a butcher, was an Alderman, a local preacher for over sixty-seven years and Chelmsford Station Circuit Steward for more than fifty years.

Frederick yielded his life to Christ in 1894 when sixteen years old. Within three years, he toured the villages with a mission van and witnessed numerous conversions. For a period he then served Poole circuit as a Lay Agent before entering Hartley College.


His obituary records that it was Frederick’s supreme joy to be a Methodist preacher, and to that work he gave both heart and mind. The calibre of the man may be gauged from the fact that he successfully maintained a nineteen years’ ministry in a London suburb. By concentrated and painstaking work he gained a respect and influence which went beyond his pastorate. His reliability and sincerity made a deep impression.

Public and social questions attracted him. Strong convictions, linked by a firm hold on principles and warmed by deep feeling for all who suffered, gave him a keen concern for social reform. More than once he was approached with a view to standing as a candidate for Parliament, with a high probability that he would be successful.

He was a great friend, loyal and steadfast, and wherever he laboured he won the confidence and affection of his people.

Frederick was compelled to retire through ill-health in 1939.


Frederick married Catherine Helena Shaw (1879-1969) in the summer of 1905 at Chelmsford, Essex. Catherine was also a preacher. Census returns identify three children.

  • Zoe Katherine (1906-1982) – married Alfred Charles Witney
  • Mavis Freda (1910-1968)
  • Eric Howard (1910-1982) – a clerk, Essex Education Committee (1953)

Frederick died on 12 March 1953 at Chelmsford Hospital, Essex, following a tragic road accident.


  • Hartley
  • 1901 Bedford I
  • 1902 Aldershot
  • 1904 Ryde & Ventnor
  • 1905 Droxford
  • 1908 Croydon
  • 1912 Leyton
  • 1931 Red Hill
  • 1934 London Caledonian Rd
  • 1939 Ilford (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1928/622

Methodist Minutes 1953/145

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • Interested to read about my grandparents. They met, and married, during Frederick’s first ministry at Droxford, Hampshire. My grandmother Catherine, always known as “Kitty”, was born in Islington, but she had moved to Hampshire as a young child to be brought up by her aunt and uncle Mary Ann Cole and her husband Thomas Gale. Although registered as a Shaw, she also used the surnames Gale and Shaw-Gale; in fact her father was Daniel Joseph Cole, brother of Mary Ann Cole.  You are correct that there were three children of the marriage. Alf and Zoe Witney lived in Ingatestone, Essex, when I knew them; they had no children. Mavis was a schoolteacher in Ilford, Essex; she never married. My father married Ellen Watsham from Elmstead, Essex, in 1939. They had met while both attended Caledonian Road chapel in London. They lived in Chelmsford and had just the one child; they divorced in about 1970. I have done much research into the various families.

    Noel Clark, Melbourne, Australia.

    By Noel Clark (20/07/2017)
  • Noel,

    Many thanks for the additional information about this family.

    By Geoff Dickinson (20/07/2017)

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