Connell, Robert Richard (1843-1916)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1898
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1917

Early years

Robert was born on 28 May 1843 at St Helier, Jersey, to parents William Connell and Mary Vagg. William was a carter. Both parents were Primitive Methodists.

Robert was converted aged about 15 through the work of the Aquila Rd Sunday School. The young convert was nurtured by Rev William R Widdowson who encouraged Robert and others by suggesting books to read, getting them to prepare sermon outlines and taking part in cottage prayer meetings and open-air services.


The whole of Robert’s ministry was within the London District. He served for 13 years as Secretary of the District Committee, eight years as Secretary of the Superannuated Preachers, Wives and Orphans Fund. He was the Primitive Methodist representative on the Mansion House Hospital Sunday Fund.

His obituary records that Robert was self-poised, self-governed and self-marshalled, rigidly frugal in all his tastes and habits, shrewd and intensely practical in every thinking and movement. He was no sentimentalist, no dreamer. He gauged the situation; he knew what was required, and did it, or attempted it.


Robert married Mary Ann Jane Case (1844-1906) on 7 August 1867 at St Helier, Jersey. Census returns identify nine children.

  • Clara (b1868) – married William Allen, a solicitor’s clerk
  • Robert Richard (1870-1877)
  • Edith Mary (abt1872-1940) – a dressmaker (1901)
  • John William (1873-1927) – a draper (1901); later an agent in hardware goods (1911)
  • Alice Jane (1875-1962) – a butcher’s shop assistant (1911)
  • Arthur Edward (1877-1944) – a butcher
  • Susan (1878-1881)
  • Fanny (1880-1956) – married William Sawtell, a clerk
  • Robert Richard (1882-1962) – a shop assistant (1911)

Robert died on 13 November 1916 at Seven Kings, Ilford, Essex.


  • 1863 Canterbury
  • 1865 Newport, IoW
  • 1866 Peterborough
  • 1868 London II
  • 1877 Ramsgate
  • 1882 Luton
  • 1887 Tottenham
  • 1890 Kentish Town
  • 1895 Marylebone
  • 1905 London SE
  • 1906 North Bow
  • 1907 Paddington (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1898/563; 1917/289

PM Minutes 1917/250

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 2, p539

R Newman Wycherley, The Pageantry of Methodist Union, 1932, p174

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Connell17 Family Tree on

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