Edwards, Joseph Chapman (1905-2002)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

JOSEPH CHAPMAN EDWARDS: born in Cleethorpes on 10th March 1905. He was brought up in a Primitive Methodist household. His father, Joseph Ernest Edwards, was a Local Preacher, and the family attended Mill Road Primitive Methodist Church in Cleethorpes. On his fourteenth birthday Joe began an apprenticeship as a cabinet-maker, at which he worked for nine years. Cabinet-making was a skill that he never lost, and also one that he made use of throughout his life. 

In 1928 he was accepted as a candidate for the Methodist ministry and went to Hartley College in Manchester where he trained for three years. He began his ministry as a Probationer in 1931, at Shoeburyness in the Southend-on-Sea Circuit. It was during his time in the Southend-on-Sea Circuit that he met Kathleen, who was the Circuit Steward’s daughter, and in 1935 they were married. After his time as a Probationer he was stationed at Abergavenny. It was there that their son John was born. Joe then went on to serve in the following circuits: Pickering (West), Skegness and Wainfleet, Louth, Masham and Market Weighton. 

Although Joe was very proud of his Primitive Methodist heritage, he confessed in an interview that he had spent the first half of his ministry teaching Primitive Methodists and Wesleyans to love each other, and the second half of his ministry persuading Methodists and Anglicans to love one another. When he came to retirement Joe thought that the mood between the denominations was changing and that now, somehow, the churches were moving together in mission and evangelism. 

In 1971 Joe retired and he and Kathleen moved to Ripon, to be near friends. During their time in Ripon they worshipped at Allhallowgate Methodist Church where Joe was still actively involved in pastoral work. In 1987 they moved to Berwick Grange MHA in Harrogate, where they enjoyed a wonderful time together. In 1992 Kathleen died and in 2000 Joe moved to Epworth Grange MHA in Bury, Lancashire. He died on 8” April 2002 in the ninety-eighth year of his age and the seventy-first year of his ministry.


Joseph was born on 10 March 1905 at Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, Joseph Ernest Edwards, a chartered accountant, and Annie Sophia.

He married Kathleen Grace Milbourn (1905-1992) in the summer of 1935 in the Rochford Registration District, Essex.

  • John M (b1937)

Joseph died on 8 April 2002 at Bury, Lancashire.


  • Hartley
  • 1931 Southend
  • 1935 Abergavenny
  • 1940 Pickering W
  • 1945 Skegness &c
  • 1950 Louth
  • 1956 Masham
  • 1962 Market Weighton
  • 1971 Ripon (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 2002/28

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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