Clemitson, Robert (1836-1925)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1888
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1926

Early years

Robert was born on 7 February 1836 at Allendale, Northumberland to parents Smith and Mary. He was baptised on 21 February 1836 at Allendale. Smith was a professor of music.

Robert lost both his parents whilst young. He became a joiner’s apprentice. Both educationally and literally he knew the meaning of hardship and straightened circumstances.


Robert’s obituary records that he was a sermon grower rather than a sermon builder. From a simple but well defined germ the sermon grew up before the eyes of the hearer, with naturalness and inevitability of life. It had taken form and phrasing in his mind before anything was committed to paper and then, under what he called ‘the mental elevation of the pulpit’, was delivered without a note of any kind.

It was an illuminating experience to see Robert preside over a large quarterly meeting, guiding, influencing the decisions with tact, prudence and success.


Robert married Ann Ritson (1839-1872) in the summer of 1863 at Hexham, Northumberland. Ann was the sister of Joseph Ritson. Census returns identify four children.

  • Colin Campbell (1864-1872)
  • Jane Ann (1866-1917) – married John Emerson Pattinson, a life assurance agent
  • Joseph William (1870-1939) – a chemist and druggist
  • Mary Ann (b1872) – married George William Elliott, an ironmonger

John married Jane Ann Miller (1845-1927) in late 1873 at Auckland, Co Durham. Census returns identify four children.

  • Elizabeth Rose (1877-1956) – married Fred William Hill, a steelworker
  • Sarah (b1878) – married John Price, a house painter
  • Arthur Robert (1880-1974) – a draughtsman
  • Ethel Longstaff (1889-1962)

Robert died on14 December 1925 at Gateshead, Co Durham.


  • 1860 Whitby
  • 1862 Alston
  • 1863 N Shields
  • 1866 Newcastle
  • 1867 Brough
  • 1869 Crook
  • 1873 Blyth
  • 1877 S Shields
  • 1882 Sunderland l
  • 1885 Hartlepool
  • 1886 Bishop Auckland
  • 1892 Birkenhead
  • 1895 Ellesmere Port
  • 1897 Crook
  • 1899 Motherwell
  • 1901 Gateshead (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1888 (portrait); 1924/390 (portrait); 1926/214; 1928/370 (Jane)

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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