Gillender, John (1856-1920)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1916
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1916

Early years

John was born on 12 August 1856 at Swalwell, nr Gateshead, Co Durham to parents Robert and Catherine. Robert was a blacksmith and a local preacher.

John spent most of his early life in the village of Swalwell, where he received a good education and business training. He became an expert writer and certificated teacher in shorthand.

John was converted when aged nineteen, and soon became useful, being appointed secretary of the local temperance society. In 1877, his name appeared on the circuit plan. John did not accept the Church’s first call to ministry, but in due course he went to the Sunderland Institute to prepare for ministry.


His obituary states that John’s first year of ministry was divided between Colne, Wellingborough and Ashby de la Zouch before he was stationed at Horncastle.

John possessed unique literary gifts, and did much journalistic work. He wrote character sketches in Connexional magazines under the nom-de-plume of ‘Tynesider’. He was also a good linguist, possessing a working knowledge of Latin and Greek.

In his fifth year at Chorley, John had a serious nervous breakdown, and had to superannuate for three years. On his recovery, he accepted the superintendency at Kingsley and Frodsham, where he laboured for nine years.


John married Elizabeth Starkey (1857-1930) in the summer of 1885 at Coalville, Leicestershire. Census returns identify two children.

  • Ethel Jean (1887-1983) – a schoolteacher (1911); married Hugh Henry Bradley, a PM Minister, in 1919
  • Edith Marion (1890- – a milliner (1911); married Arthur Bertram Edwards in 1918

John died on 26 July 1920 at Kingsley, Cheshire.


  • Sunderland
  • 1883 Horncastle
  • 1884 Wirksworth
  • 1885 Ramsor
  • 1888 Stokesley
  • 1891 Staithes
  • 1892 Blackburn II
  • 1894 Blackburn III
  • 1897 Haslingden
  • 1900 St Helens
  • 1903 Chorley
  • 1908 St Helens (S)
  • 1912 Kingsley and Frodsham (Ac)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1916/170; 1921/734

PM Minutes 1921/262

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Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *