Dodds, Frederick William (1883-1966)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

FREDERICK WILLIAM DODDS: born in Lincolnshire in 1884. He entered the Primitive Methodist Ministry and, after training at Hartley College and a year in Sheringham, he went to Eastern Nigeria in 1909. For the next thirty years his name and that of the Ibo Church are one. He was the pioneer evangelist in village after village; Uzuakoli College flanks the old bush track he followed into the heart of Ibo country. Those early years are a record of utter devotion, great physical endurance, immense courage in face of hostility, personal evangelism, and always the long journeys on foot or cycle on forest paths. When later he became Chairman of the District, he gave to an area half the size of England with the highest rural population density in Africa, leadership of a high order from which none of the personal caring was lost. 

Called to the Mission House in 1939, Fred Dodds’s pastoral concern reached to all the Africa Districts. War-time difficulties of manpower and shipping hampered his service to the African Churches. His correspondence, begun in the precious hour before dawn, following African tradition, helped to bridge the gap in communication. He was always looking ahead, and with the end of the war was building up a missionary staff for the forward policy he had hoped to initiate but could only commit to his successor. 

In his retirement at Haslingfield he gave to village Methodism the friendship, loyalty and spiritual insight he had given so wholeheartedly in earlier years in Nigeria. Throughout his ministry his brethren knew him as a wise and understanding friend, a shrewd judge of character, an encourager of the fainthearted. Slow and gentle in speech, penetrating in insight into any problem under discussion, he had great reserves of spiritual and intellectual power. Above all it is for his deep caring that the Church in Nigeria thanks God. He died on 12 July 1966, in the eighty-third year of his age and the fifty-eighth of his ministry.


Frederick was born on 16 September 1883 at Wrangle Lincolnshire, to parents Thomas, a butcher, and Eleanor.

He married Grace Sophia Fisher (1887-1971).

Frederick died on 12 July 1966 at Cambridge, Cambridgeshire.


Frederick authored the following.

Nigerian Studies; pub. Holborn Press

Tales of African Wild; pub. W.A. Hammond, 1914

Our Nigerian Field; PM Missionary Society, 1926

Tommy and Polly visit West Africa; pub. Cargate Press


  • Hartley
  • 1908 Sherringham
  • 1909 E Nigeria
  • 1939 Mission Secretary
  • 1950 Cambridge (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1920/328; 1922/118

Methodist Minutes 1967/177

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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