Greenwell, Francis Norman (1890-1955)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

FRANCIS NORMAN GREENWELL: born in Cumberland in 1890. Before entering Hartley College he served for a year in the Braintree circuit, and subsequently in the Horsham, Chipping Norton, Brinkworth, Stewkley, Nelson, Helmshore, and Redruth circuits. 

His pastoral ministry was full of grace and his preaching was as simple and informed as it was challenging. An evangelist first and last, he brought many to the Saviour. He was a buoyant personality, a gracious and considerate colleague. He possessed a rare gift of humour which he put into the service of his Lord. He endeared himself not only to the people of his churches but to a wide circle outside them, using his genius as a photographer as a means of making opportunities to carry the Gospel far and wide. 

In his later years he suffered much ill-health, often most severely, but with unflagging devotion, sustained by faith and prayer, he carried on with his work until within a few days of his passing. In nothing was his witness more clear than in sickness and never more inspiring. ‘Leave God to order all thy ways’ was his theme; his own confident assurance, gained in adversity, and buttressed about with believing prayer, made his ministrations to the sick a benediction. 

He passed to his reward on 11th November 1955, in the sixty-fifth year of his age and the fortieth of his ministry.


Francis was born on 13 May 1890 in Ireshopeburn, Weardale, Co. Durham, to mother Hannah. He was brought up in his grandfather’s household at Alston, Cumberland.

The 1911 census records that Francis worked as an ironmongery salesman (1911) before entering the ministry.

He married Ellen Elizabeth Sawyer in the summer of 1922 in the Edmonton Registration District, Middlesex. Birth records identify one child.

  • Norman (b1923) – a commercial traveller (1955)

Francis died on 11 November 1955 at Redruth, Cornwall.


  • 1915 Halstead & Gt Bardfield
  • 1916 Hartley
  • 1918 Horsham
  • 1921 Chipping Norton
  • 1925 Brinkworth
  • 1931 Stewkley
  • 1938 Nelson
  • 1944 Helmshore
  • 1949 Redruth


Methodist Minutes 1956/184

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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