Clemitson, William (1810-1881)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1858
Copy provided by Steven Carter

William was born on 13 July 1810 in Allentown, Nortumberland.


Petty relates that in the summer of 1823, the Hull circuit sent William and William Harland to mission in the area of Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight. Despite many efforts after 11 months the number of members on the Isle of Wight was only 50. Their efforts in Portsmouth were even less successful due to the nature of the resident population and the migratory habits of the naval and military inhabitants.

Whilst superintendent at Stockton in the autumn of 1844, William had a ‘run in’ with the Mayor. It had become usual for preachers to hold open air worship at the Cross in Stockton at 5 pm on Sunday afternoons. Complaints were made to the Mayor, who sent a policeman to William to inform him that preaching at the cross should be discontinued. William consulted a solicitor and identified there was no local act that forbade open air preaching. The following Sunday, William conducted a service at the Cross. A larger crowd than usual was present. The next day a summons was issued for William to appear before the magistrate on the following Saturday. A local member of the Society of Friends and the Wesleyan Minister, Mr Walker, interceded on behalf of William and the Mayor backed down. An hour before he was due to meet the magistrates, The Mayor sent a message to William that the case would not be brought.

Patterson records the laying of the foundation stone for the Jubilee Chapel in Durham on 22 October 1860. ‘ Headed by William Clemitson and Edward Rust, a procession started from theMayor’s chamber. Sir William Atherton (then Solicitor General) and Mr. John Bramwell (Recorder of Durham), had conspicuous places in the procession, and were followed by a number of ministers of various denominations, by officials of the Durham Circuit, and by a multitude of others. The ceremony was performed by the member of Queen Victoria’s Government named, who was also one of the representatives of the city in Parliament, in the presence of about two thousand people.


He married Jane Ash (1812-1879) on 5 July 1838 at Allendale. Census returns identify three children.

  • Robert (1839-1894) – a pattern maker (iron)
  • William (1841-1918) – an engine and machine maker
  • Mary Jane (1850-1916) – a teacher of music; married John Jordan Warne, a timekeeper and photographic printer at ironworks.

William died on 11 April 1881 at Bishop Auckland, Co Durham.


  • 1834 Hull
  • 1837 Driffield
  • 1838 Leeds
  • 1840 Horncastle
  • 1842 Pateley Bridge
  • 1843 Stockton
  • 1845 Whitby
  • 1846 Newcastle
  • 1848 Durham
  • 1850 Westgate
  • 1853 Whitehaven
  • 1854 Allendale
  • 1856 Stockton
  • 1858 Durham
  • 1861 Wolsingham
  • 1864 Stockton
  • 1866 Darlington
  • 1868 Sunderland
  • 1871 Hetton
  • 1872 Stokesley (S)
  • 1877 Bishop Auckland


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1881/13; 1879/691 (Jane)

PM Minutes 1881/13

J Petty, The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, 1880, p383, p428f

W M Patterson, Northern Primitive Methodism, 1909

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 24 February 2016 to add the transcription of a poem published in the Christian Messenger in 1921.

    By Geoff Dickinson (24/02/2016)

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