Grainger, John (1851-1889)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by John Shephard

JOHN GRAINGER was born on the 20th March, 1851, at Tipton, in the county of Stafford. His parents had long been connected with our church, and brought their children up in the fear of God. His father was a leading official and popular local preacher in the West Bromwich circuit, and realized the fulfilment of his prayers and hopes when his boy was saved, and eventually entered the ministry. He was, when a child, sent to the Sunday School, and led to the house of God; he was born, cradled, and nursed in the church. He commenced to preach when quite a youth, and supplied the place of the Rev. M. Bennett, when the latter was laid aside by affliction in the Bilston circuit; and through his earnest labours many were saved.

In due time he entered the Theological Institute, and after the usual term of training was appointed by the Conference of 1870 to the Talk-o’-th’- Hill Station, where he laboured with marked success, as he did in Cwm Station the following three years. The great object of his ministry was to lead sinners to the Saviour, and the church into the fulness of the blessings of the Gospel. He afterwards travelled in Birmingham, West Bromwich, Tipton, Frome, Rhosymedre, and, Stafford Stations. His success in the last three circuits was very considerable.

I had known him from youth up, directed his studies, and knew his devotion to the work of God and the ministry, his indefatigable labours, his great earnestness and constant anxiety for the prosperity and peace of the churches under his care; and I fear the strain was too great on his constitution, and hastened his end. His nature was high-strung and sensitive, sincere, open, and frank; he gave forth sweet influences free as the flowers, and like the trees bore fruit for others. He lived for others, being true, unselfish, and noble. His abilities and acquirements were of no mean order, and he well sustained the pulpit and the platform. J.B. Ball, Esq., the respected circuit steward of Stafford, stated publicly that no minister had ever done more for the circuit than Mr. Grainger, and he was highly  respected by all.

He had a promising future before him, and had engaged to become the superintendent of Sheffield 4th. His affliction, which was heart disease, was long and painful, but he bravely kept up. He shrank from saying very much about his sufferings. The last time he preached was January 13th, 1889; but long before this, he had to rest on the way to and from his appointments, and he well knew his end was approaching. But in Christ he was prepared to meet it. He was deeply concerned about the position of his dear wife and seven children—the oldest child being only thirteen years of age. He returned home from a short walk on Saturday afternoon, April 6th, and died in his chair, at the age of thirty-seven, and in the nineteenth year of his ministry.

He was interred at Stafford cemetery, April 11th, in the presence of hundreds of friends from the circuit and the town, including many ministers. The writer preached a funeral sermon in Stafford chapel to a large congregation, and great sympathy has been manifested to the sorrowing widow and children, especially by the officials and members of the circuit.


John was born on 20 March 1851 at Tipton, Staffordshire, to parents John, plumper and painter (1851), and Mary.

He married Elizabeth Matthews (1856-1927) in the summer of 1874 in the Weobly Registration District, Herefordshire. Census returns identify seven children.

  • Charles Heber Matthews (1875-1941) – a customs and excise officer (1911)
  • Ada Alice M (1878-1948) – married George W Harding in 1914
  • Eleanor Elizabeth (1879-1966) – married James Stewart Hancorn in 1912
  • John Percy (b1881) – a musical instrument dealer (1911)
  • Edith Nina (1884-1951) – married George Baron Shaw in 1916
  • George Edgar (1887-1959) – a bank clerk (1911)
  • Frederick Thomas (1889-1918) – a bank clerk (1911); died in WW1 in France

John died on 6 April 1889 at Stafford, Staffordshire.

After John died Elizabeth set up as a ladies and children’s outfitter in Hereford.


  • 1871 Hadnall
  • 1872 Cwm
  • 1874 Birmingham I
  • 1876 W Bromwich
  • 1878 Tipton
  • 1880 Frome
  • 1883 Rhosymedre
  • 1886 Stafford
  • 1889 Ilkeston


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1890/371

PM Minutes 1889/8

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.