Fell, Benjamin (1845-1918)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1905
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1918
Memorial in Scarborough cemetery to three children who died in infancy.
Ben Vickers

Early years

Benjamin was born on 29 October 1845 at Kilpin, nr Howden, East Yorkshire to parents Benjamin Fell and Sarah Nicholson (see comment below). His parents provided a home for the early preachers for forty years. His father was a class leader and worked as a shopkeeper.

Benjamin cited the date of his conversion as 18 March 1860. Three years later he became a local preacher. His first appointment to Epworth in February 1868 was to supply for a minister whose health had failed.


Benjamin served as District Committee Secretary in the Nottingham and Hull Districts and also as Building Committee Secretary in the Hull District.

Probably the most momentous event of his life happened in 1880, when he came into contact with Revs. Inskip, Macdonald and Wood, three American ministers, who visited in that year on a Holiness Mission. This provided a new and powerful stimulus for his work. Many other brethren shared his experience, and “An Association for the Promotion of Holiness” was formed. Benjamin became the first secretary, and for many years was its guiding genius.

His obituary records that in public life, Benjamin was distinguished as an evangelist, a pastor and an administrator. His knowledge of theology, grip of doctrine, clear and forceful teaching, presented in a pleasant and persuasive style, made his ministry not only vigorous but convincing.

Benjamin was a familiar figure at Conference, being six times elected by his districts to attend. He was Secretary of Conference in 1908.

On superannuating in 1913, Benjamin settled in Liverpool, joining the Prince’s Avenue Church. He was called to serve the Liverpool IV circuit in the absence of Rev P.J. Fisher, who was called to Army service as a Chaplain.


Benjamin married Mary Ann Cooper (1842-1923) in the summer of 1872 at Halifax, Yorkshire. Census returns and birth records identify seven children.

  • Arthur Cooper (1874-1952) – a printer
  • Charles Hubert (1874-1877)
  • Edith Mary (b1876)
  • Ernest (1878- – an insurance agent
  • Harry Percival (1880-1948) – a PM Minister
  • Mabel (1881-1882)
  • Mildred (1882-1889)

Benjamin died on 10 November 1917 at Liverpool, Lancashire.


  • 1868 Epworth
  • 1869 Grimsby
  • 1871 Doncaster I
  • 1872 Scotter
  • 1875 Scarborough
  • 1878 Hull I
  • 1882 Driffield
  • 1885 Hull III
  • 1890 Nottingham I
  • 1894 Weobly
  • 1897 Driffield
  • 1900 Hull I
  • 1903 Southport
  • 1907 Lancaster
  • 1910 St Helens
  • 1913 Liverpool (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1905/507; 1918/655

PM Minutes 1918/255

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


Comments about this page

  • Noel,
    Thanks for the additional material from Benjamin’s grave.

    By Geoff Dickinson (03/04/2020)
    Toxteth Park Cemetery
    Toxteth, Metropolitan Borough of Liverpool, Merseyside, England
    Inscription from tombstone
    In / loving memory / of / Rev. Benjamin FELL, / Primitive Methodist Minister, / died 10th Nov. 1917, aged 72 years. / *Mark the perfect man.* / Also his beloved wife Mary Ann FELL, / who died 14th April 1930, aged 87 years. / *Peace perfect peace.* // Also / Edith Mary FELL, / their daughter, / died 17th Jan. 1928, aged 51 years. / *At rest.* / Also Arthur Cooper FELL, / eldest son, / died 6th December 1952, aged 77 years. // Also / Mary Ann, / beloved wife of / Ernest FELL, / died 2nd Mar. 1955, aged 75 years. / Also the above Ernest FELL, / died 20th Mar. 1955, aged 77 years.

    By Noel Parker (03/04/2020)
  • Noel,

    Thanks for the correction. I have amended the text.

    By Geoff Dickinson (17/06/2017)
  • The Liverpool church should read Prince’s Avenue and not Price’s Avenue.

    By Noel Parker (16/06/2017)
  • I think there’s a bit of a genealogical error in the information about Benjamin Fell. His father, Benjamin Fell married Sarah Nicholson (not Sarah Horsley) on 25 Nov 1830 (records available on request or through findmypast.com) although the Horsleys, Nicholsons and Woodhalls were certainly connected through family as well as religious ties. There is an 1845 baptism record for Benjamin Fell (jr) showing his mother’s maiden name as Nicholson as well as a GRO record

    Mary Nicholson (who I believe was Sarah’s sister) married Richard Horsley and (after he died) Eleazar William Garner. I’ve been working on the Eleazar William Garner saga for some years now and would be happy to share with anyone interested in his checkered path from (probable) early Primitive Methodist minister in England (1861 census) through Canada to beloved Presbyterian minister in Astoria Oregon, with two wives, 6 children and two step-children along the way.

    For what it’s worth — I love this site. I was able to find some interesting information about my great-grandmother’s oldest brother, Ambrose Barker, here–reinforcing my  impression from family letters that he was a very devout man who was active in his congregation.

    By Kate Mccain (15/05/2017)
  • Kate,

    Thanks for your correction. I have amended the text above.

    By Geoff Dickinson (15/05/2017)

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