Clark, William John (1879-1957)


WILLIAM JOHN CLARK: born at Chelmsford in 1879. He grew up in a Christian home, his father being a devoted Methodist Local Preacher, and, after training at Hartley College, began his ministry in the Wallingford circuit in 1905. After that, during a period of forty-one years, he served with fidelity in twelve circuits, ranging from Lincolnshire to Wales and from Lancashire to the West Riding of Yorkshire. On retirement he made his home in Shipley, Yorkshire, and there he continued his preaching ministry, endearing himself to all who knew him. He was an effective preacher, and delighted to commend his Lord to others. A good book always in his hand, he was an earnest and careful reader, and his preaching was informed, relevant, and colourful, but its moving-force lay in his vital relationship with Jesus Christ. Alert of mind, possessed of a happy disposition and a sense of humour, he was an excellent colleague and a friend of his people. He had a deep affection for Methodism, and was tireless in the care of the churches in his charge. His understanding spirit fitted him for the ministry of comfort, and the sorrowing and anxious found in him a wise counsellor on whom they could lean. He was a son of the soil. The countryside, the farm, and the garden were his joy. He saw God in nature, and, in times of stress, he sought the hills and the quiet lanes for peace and strength. His work finished, and with the light of Christmas shining upon him, he died in the late afternoon of 28th December 1957, in his seventy-ninth year and the fifty-third of his ministry.


William was born on 11 August 1879 at Springfield, nr Chelmsford, Essex, to parents Henry Clark and Phebe Day.

Before entering the ministry, William worked as a grocer’s porter (1901).

William married Mary Jane Whitworth (b1875) in the summer of 1911 in the Horncastle Registration District, Lincolnshire. Birth records identify one child.

  • Kathleen Mary (1913-2000)

On retirement he made his home in Shipley, Yorkshire. John died on 29 December 1957 at Bingley, Yorkshire (date on death certificate).


  • Hartley
  • 1905 Wallingford
  • 1907 Market Rasen
  • 1909 Alford
  • 1911 Clayton West
  • 1914 Burnley II
  • 1918 Lydbrook
  • 1920 Blaenavon
  • 1924 Rhymney Valley
  • 1929 Ebbw Vale
  • 1933 Cardiff
  • 1935 Clayton West
  • 1940 Bradford Laisterdyke
  • 1944 Bradford Low Moor
  • 1946 Shipley (Sup)


Noel Clark Burning Lamps, 2006

Methodist Minutes 1958/183

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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