Fell, Walter Clough Heald (1889-1964)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

WALTER CLOUGH HEALD FELL: born in Rotherham in 1889, he came from a devoted Methodist family associated with the Wellgate Chapel. His first experience of public speaking was gained through the Christian Endeavour and at eighteen years of age he became a local preacher. After training at Hartley College he entered the Primitive Methodist ministry and served his probation in Brighton and Shrewsbury.

At the end of the first World War he was designated for the Rhodesia District where his brother was serving so conspicuously but this was not to be and so followed a happy ministry in Guernsey, High Wycombe and Poole. In 1935 he returned to the Channel Islands and opened a ministry at Aquila Road, Jersey, which was to last twelve eventful years. Under the German occupation he chose, with his wife who so ably assisted him, to remain with the Islanders, helping them in innumerable ways as pastor and friend. As President of the Free Church Council he represented the people to the German Commandant, enlisting sympathy and compassion, and through his courage became honoured and loved throughout the Islands. 

After the war, his inspired leadership at Sheffield N.E. revitalised a church planned for closing and his wise statesmanship and sound administrative gifts were seen in all their maturity and strength at Wombwell, where schemes for dealing with redundancy brought congregations together in effective co-operation. Retiring to Clacton-on-Sea in 1959, he continued to preach in the churches of coastal Essex, taking a lively interest in town and country, and making his own unique contribution to circuit fellowship. 

His ministry was his all-absorbing interest, his preaching was original and relevant, based on sound Biblical knowledge and wide reading. In his conduct of worship he set a high standard, loving both the music and poetic beauty of the hymns and from time to time adding his own compositions. He had a scholarly, retentive mind and an especial love of the Hebrew scriptures. He was blessed with a most cheerful personality and his conversation was enriched by the occasional witty phrase that flowed from his fine sense of humour associated with the county of his birth. 

He died on the 21 July 1964 in the seventy-sixth year of his age and the forty-ninth of his ministry.

Family

Walter was born on 5 July 1889 at Rotherham, Yorkshire, to parents John William Fell, a cabinet maker, and Eliza Heald.

Before entering the ministry Walter was a monumental traveller (1911).

He married Florence Townend (1885-1981) in the spring of 1919 at Rotherham, Yorkshire.

Walter died on 21 July 1964 at Clacton on Sea, Essex..

Circuits

  • Hartley
  • 1915 Brighton
  • 1917 Shrewsbury
  • 1919 Rhodesia
  • 1920 Guernsey
  • 1924 High Wycombe
  • 1928 Poole
  • 1935 Jersey
  • 1947 Sheffield NE
  • 1954 Wombwell &c
  • 1959 Clacton (Sup)

References

Methodist Minutes 1965/176

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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