Clayton, William (1829-1903)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1880
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1880

Early years

William was born on 10 July 1829 at Retford, Nottinghamshire to parents William and Lucy. William and Lucy were Wesleyan, but three of their sons, Benjamin, Alfred and William all became PM ministers. William senior was a blacksmith.

William was converted in the Wesleyan church and remained there until 1849, the time of the Reform agitation, when he united himself with the Primitive Methodists. Within two years of joining the PMs he was recommended for the ministry. Before becoming itinerant, Will worked as a cabinet- maker.


William’s obituary records that his preaching was powerful, and his sermons truth on flame, heart-searching, apostolic and demonstrative of the Spirit.

In business aptitudes, in his knowledge of rule and usage, in the administration of discipline, and the guidance of church life and work, he was a master of method, a leader of wise discretion, a pillar of strength, on whom you could confidently rely.


William married Ann Moss Sutton (1832-1910) in the spring of 1856. Census returns identify four children.

  • Annie Elizabeth (b1857) – a dressmaker (1881)
  • William Henry Moss (1860-1914) – a chartered accountant
  • Harriet A (abt1868) – possible an adopted daughter
  • Lily Maud (1871-1957)

William died on 26 November 1903 at Retford, Nottinghamshire.


  • 1852 Mitford
  • 1853 Alrewas
  • 1854 Burton on Trent
  • 1855 Coningsby
  • 1857 Wellow
  • 1858 Derby
  • 1859 Sleaford
  • 1862 Horncastle
  • 1865 Grantham
  • 1866 Ilkeston
  • 1870 Clay Cross
  • 1874 Belper
  • 1875 Ilkeston
  • 1878 Sheffield lV
  • 1881 Clay Cross
  • 1884 Barton upon Humber
  • 1886 Winterton
  • 1889 Sheffield lV
  • 1892 Retford (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1880 (portrait); 1910/653 (Ann)

PM Minutes 1904/10

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


Comments about this page

  • This page was modified on 14 November 2017 to add a transcription of William’s obituary, published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine 1904

    By Geoff Dickinson (14/11/2017)

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