Clewer, Jonathan (1798-1855)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1856
Copy provided by Steven Carter

Jonathan was born 7 May 1798 at Bulkington, Warwickshire, to parents Jonathan Clewer and Sarah Wakelin. He was baptised on 27 May 1798 at Bulkington.

Jonathan was apprenticed to a tailor and on completion of his apprenticeship started in business on his own. He settled in Bedworth and was converted through PM missionaries, including John Garner.


After his marriage Jonathan moved to Darlington where he laboured as a local preacher and rendered able assistance towards establishing the Primitives in Darlington. As a result of this work, he was invited to become an itinerant. He was examined as a candidate for the ministry and undertook a trial sermon at Mill Street Chapel, Hull.

In 1824, a misunderstanding between the Silsden and Keighley circuits caused him to retire from the itineracy. Jonathan moved to Sunderland, where in 1826 he was taken out again. The Sunderland circuit decided to mission Edinburgh. They appointed Thomas Oliver to go. However as Thomas could not sing, Jonathan was appointed to accompany him. They arrived in Edinburgh in April 1826. Jonathan was soon relieved by Nathanial West. Jonathan was pledged again at the 1827 conference.

Whilst at Preston Brook, Jonathan lost one of his sons, drowned whilst bathing in the Mersey. This troubled his mind greatly and he struggled to overcome his grief.

Samuel Smith writes in his obituary. ‘As a husband he was affectionate, as a father kind and provident, as a minister accessible, plain, faithful, and energetic in urging the truth home to the heart. he could bring his hearers to weep at Calvery, and carry them to the mount of glory. He had a good voice and was an excellent singer, and this contributed to attract large congregations at open-air services. His word was attended with power, and he had a considerable share of success in the conversion of sinners.’


He married Elizabeth Beesley (1801-1878) on 3 April 1820 at Bedworth, Warwickshire. Records identify eight children.

  • Sarah (b1822)
  • Ann (b1823)
  • Josiah (b1823)
  • William Henry (1830-1892) – a watchmaker
  • John Edward (b1832)
  • Ann (1834-1895) – married John Michael Johnson, a jeweller
  • Mary Jane (1836-1904) – married William Todd, a railway inspector
  • Elizabeth (1838-1901) – married George Teare, a reporter and printer compositor in 1856; then married John Allen, a labourer in 1870.

Jonathan died on 2 December 1855 on the Isle of Man.


  • 1822 Pocklington
  • 1823 Silsden
  • 1824 Leeds
  • 1825 not shown
  • 1827 N Shields
  • 1828 Whitby
  • 1830 Carlisle
  • 1831 Keighley
  • 1833 Bradwell
  • 1835 Isle of Man
  • 1837 Huddersfield
  • 1839 Stockport
  • 1841 Preston Brook
  • 1843 Rochdale
  • 1845 Stalybridge
  • 1847 Knowlwood
  • 1849 Ramsey
  • 1851 Ramsey (Sup)
  • 1852 Douglas


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1822/129; 1823/69; 1851/513 (portrait); 1856/129; 1881/55 (wife)

PM Minutes 1856/9

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 2, p130

Wesley Historical Society , Vol 55, October 2006, p237

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.