Devenish, Edwin Isaac (1854-1939)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1911
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1911

Early years

Edwin was born on 26 May 1854 at Cattistock, nr Weymouth, Dorset to parents Isaac and Elizabeth. Isaac retired from a grocery business when he moved to Guernsey; he was about sixty-eight years old when Edwin was born.

Edwin was educated at Dorchester Grammar School and Elmfield College, York.

Edwin was converted early in life and became a member of the Truchôt Street Church, Guernsey. When only sixteen years old, Edwin’s name appeared on the plan as a local preacher, and he was both popular and useful as a boy preacher. He entered the ministry at the age of nineteen.


Edwin was profoundly interested in theological studies, and his attention and energies were devoted to his pulpit preparation and circuit work.

As a preacher, Edwin excelled as an expositor, and on doctrinal subjects showed himself to be well and widely read in theological and kindred literature. Whilst his style was popular and illuminating, it was the more thoughtful of his congregations that could appreciate the true value of his well thought out and weighty discourses.

As a circuit minister, Edwin was never a chapel builder, but gave much attention to chapel alterations, improvements and renovations, and very successfully financed their costs.

Edwin rendered valuable service as a Poor Law Guardian.

Edwin’s wife was a devoted preacher in her own right. She was prominent as a conductor of missions in the United Kingdom and America, for all denominations, including missions under the auspices of the National Free Church Council. She had the power of introducing well-adapted solos during the address, earning her the title of the Singing Evangelist. She also was a delegate to Conference.


Edwin wrote the following.

Christian Communism

Like apples of gold, and other meditations


Edwin married Mary Ann Hall (abt1853-1941) in the summer of 1879 at Reigate, Surrey. Census returns identify two of three children.

  • Mary Elizabeth Daisy (1884-1937) – married Albert Edward Horberry, an auditor; in New York 1909-1912
  • Amy Violet (1889-1976) – married Bertram H Smith in 1919

Edwin died on 26 May 1939 at Reading, Berkshire.


  • 1874 Redhill
  • 1875 Kelsale
  • 1876 Maidstone
  • 1877 Hornsea
  • 1879 Selby
  • 1880 Crowle
  • 1883 Market Rasen
  • 1885 Saffron Walden
  • 1889 Tadcaster
  • 1891 Liskeard
  • 1894 Plymouth
  • 1896 Teignmouth
  • 1898 Wellingborough
  • 1901 Luton II
  • 1903 Burton on Trent
  • 1907 North Cave
  • 1909 Ipswich & Hadleigh
  • 1912 Reading
  • 1915 Reading (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1911/87; 1915/518

PM Minutes 1939/218

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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