Davison, Hugh Allan (1892-1972)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

HUGH ALLAN DAVISON: born in Wallsend on 28th December, 1892 the son of Matthew P. Davison, a distinguished minister of the Primitive Methodist Church. Leaving school early he worked in a shipping office in Middlesbrough before offering for the ministry. He entered Hartley College in 1914 and was trained under Arthur S. Peake and Atkinson Lee, to both of whom he always acknowledged a tremendous debt. After probationary years in Chesterfield and Derby he served in the following circuits: North Shields, Shotley Bridge, Grimsby, Leeds (Bramley), Knaresborough, Horden, Dewsbury (Zion), Doncaster (Highfield Road), Stanley and Brandon and Deerness Valley, From 1947-1951 he was Chairman of the Doncaster and Barnsley District. 

His ministry in the coalfields of South Yorkshire and County Durham was quite remarkable. He had a gift for winning men’s confidence and exerted a profound influence within the Mineworkers’ Union and upon officials of the Coal Board. His scorn of sham, his strong social convictions and his passionate desire for peace and justice commanded universal respect. All these concerns he brought with him to the Connexional Home Missions Committee on which he served for many years.

In 1958 he retired to Sunderland, but in truth he never really retired. He continued to preach regularly in the local circuits, and what a preacher he was! There was a “fire in his belly”, a clarity in his mind and a passion in his heart which never failed to hold his hearers. During the last period of his life he had pastoral charge of the High Street East Mission in Sunderland’s dockland, and found deep joy and satisfaction in guiding and caring for the little band of devoted workers there who, in their turn, held him in unqualified affection. He loved, too, the Opportunities of discussion and fellowship provided by the Fellowship of the Kingdom and by the Ministers and Doctors Group which he helped to found, and of which he was Chairman. 

Right to the end he retained an originality and freshness of outlook, and an intuitive gift of getting to the core of a problem. He was a lifelong student of mysticism, and the mystical streak in him was reflected both in his preaching and in his profound insight into human nature. He nourished his inner life by his love of English literature and above all of the English bible. He was always seeking fresh ways to express the Christian truth which had shaped his life. Through and through a Methodist, he had a growing concern about what he saw as spiritual anaemia in the Church which he loved. There was nothing anaemic about Hugh Davison’s Christianity. Despite the tragic loss of two daughters in childhood, his marriage and home life were richly blessed, and he found deep pride in his son, Richard, who followed him into the ministry. He died peacefully at his home on 10th December, 1973 in the eighty-first year of his life and the fifty-seventh year of his ministry.

Family

Hugh was born on 28 December 1892 at Wallesend, Northumberland, to parents Matthew Pattinson Davison, a PM minister, and Margaret Eleanor Johnson.

The 1911 census return describes Hugh as a merchant’s clerk.

He married Florence Whaley Berriman (1895-1978)  in early 1921 at Middlesbrough, Yorkshire. Birth records identify three children.

  • Margaret (b1922)
  • Florence B (b1924)
  • Matthew R (b1924)

Hugh died on 10 December 1973 at Sunderland, Co.Durham.

Circuits

  • Hartley
  • 1917 Chesterfield I
  • 1919 Derby II
  • 1920 N Shields
  • 1921 Shotley Bridge
  • 1927 Grimsby II
  • 1931 Leeds V
  • 1935 Knaresborough
  • 1937 Horden
  • 1942 Dewsbury Zion
  • 1945 Doncaster, Highfield Rd
  • 1950 Doncaster NE
  • 1951 Stanley
  • 1956 Brandon &c
  • 1958 Sunderland (S)

References

Methodist  Minutes 1974/135

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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