Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by A Goodacre
The passing of the Rev. Robert Finall left a desolation in many hearts. His death was unexpected, and came as a shock to a host of friends. True, he had never been robust, and for some little time had not been in good health, but his early death at the age of forty-six was never anticipated. Some few months ago our friend had one or two minor operations, and this evidently had lowered his vitality, but when he was restored to health, he went about his work with his accustomed ardour, never failing to attend to the most minute duty. It was necessary, however, for our friend to go to hospital for another operation, and it was fully anticipated he would be back at work in a few days. But this was not to be. He passed peacefully away on Friday morning, November 17th. We cannot understand why he should be called upon to lay down his life’s task in the midst of his years, but God makes no mistakes.
Our brother was sent into the ministry by the famous Walkden Circuit. He must have begun to preach at a somewhat early age, for when he was twenty years old he became a van evangelist, and did work in that capacity for four years, during which time he was instrumental in leading many souls to Jesus. He prepared for the ministry, and was accepted at the Conference of 1900. As a student he was diligent in his studies, and did well in his examinations. He was greatly beloved by his fellow students, his fine winsome personality appealing to one and all. After the then usual course at College, he was stationed at Upton Park Circuit, London, and had as his superintendent during part of his stay the late Rev. R. S. Blair, of whom he always spoke in the highest terms. He spent the whole of his probation at Upton Park, and did fine work for the Circuit, particularly amongst the young people. Much of his work done then abides to-day. After being ordained to the full ministry he became the superintendent of the then Custom House Branch, and after a short stay passed on to Watford as second preacher, where he spent six years. Next he went to the Enfield Circuit, and then to Newport and Cowes, I.o.W., where he was highly esteemed by all who knew him. Finally the Upton Park Circuit officials, knowing his worth, re-called him to the Circuit, and from 1919 he put in splendid work, reducing chapel debts and paying attention to the many sides of the life of the Circuit. Thus he closed his ministry on the ground where he began over twenty years ago. He had spent seventeen years in the London I. District.
As a man and minister our departed brother was ideal. He was graciousness itself. Of very kindly and sympathetic disposition, he was welcome in the homes of the people, and made many friends. His ministrations in the pulpit were always practical and helpful. He spoke out of a rich Christian experience, and his words were full of inspiration and encouragement. He suffered from a vocal defect that would have daunted many a man, but our friend always had a kindly hearing, and his own people have frequently said that under the spell of his preaching the vocal defect was scarcely noticeable. The Rev. George Armitage, in giving the address, made mention of this, supplementing his remarks with the revealing words ‘The lame take the prey.’
It was a sad and greatly distressed congregation that filled the Manor Park Church for the funeral service held on Tuesday, November 21st. The service was conducted by the Rev. A. Goodacre, the lessons being read by the Revs. J. Johnson and T.B. Caukwell. Suitable hymns were feelingly sung, the same being announced by the Revs. R.T. Corlett, F.J.C. Dyer and J. E. Thorpe. The Rev. W. Roberts, representing the District Committee, offered a tender prayer, and the Rev. George Armitage, representing the General Committee, gave a beautiful address, speaking appreciatingly of the life and labours of the departed. In the congregation were representatives from the Circuits where he had travelled, and many ministers of our own Church, of the local Free Church Council, and ministers’ “Fraternal.” The funeral cortege was impressive, and as evidence of the great esteem in which our friend was held, over sixty floral tributes were sent from friends far and near. He was reverently laid to rest in the City of London Cemetery, a large number of people attending the service at the graveside. The Rev. A. Goodacre read the committal sentences, and the Rev. W.T.C. Hallam offered prayer. He leaves behind a widow and three stepchildren, who mourn his loss, but whose joy it is to know that they sorrow for one who lived nobly and died bravely. Truly our brother ‘served his day and generation by the will of God, and then fell on sleep.’
Robert was born in 1876 at Little Hulton, Lancashire, to parents John, a newsagent & stationer (1891), and Betty.
He married Janet Neish Fairweather, nee Kidd (1865-1926) in the summer of 1907 at West Ham, London.
Robert died on 17 November 1922 at the Central London Throat, Nose and Ear Hospital, Grays Inn Road, London.
- 1902 Upton Park
- 1906 Canning Town
- 1907 Watford
- 1913 Enfield
- 1916 Newport, IoW
- 1919 Upton Park
PM Minutes 1923/261
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers