Hall, Horatio (1812-1896)

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

HORATIO HALL was born at Sporte, July 12th, 1812, and died at Erpingham, March 9th, 1896, in the eighty-fourth year of his age. When about sixteen he was saved in his native village. After a while he became a local preacher, and at the early age of twenty he entered the Itinerant Ministry in the Lynn Circuit. His subsequent stations were Cambridge, Brandon, Norwich, Aylsham, Yarmouth, and Upwell; Mr. Hall began his ministry in 1832, and through failing health was superannuated in 1848. Since his superannuation he has lived in seclusion, and most of the time in the Aylsham Circuit. Several years of his life he spent at Colthorpe, near to Erpingham, where, in the house of his eldest son, he entered into rest, and was interred in the churchyard by the side of his late wife, having survived her nearly ten months.

The Rev. W. Balls, who has known him twenty years, thus speaks of the deceased; “He suffered from a mental affliction, which quite unfitted him from taking any pulpit work; at the same time he was always ready to lead a prayer meeting, visit the members, especially the afflicted, conduct a service in case of disappointment, and give a short impromptu address. His advice to me was, ‘Always get in time to your appointments, to pay the members a visit, and always secure at least half-an-hour for quiet thought and prayer before entering the pulpit.’” 

Similar is the testimony of the Rev. James Davidson, who says, “His life was like little fitful gleams of sunshine, because of the chronic nervousness from which he suffered. Nevertheless, under these severe depressions he was always most trustful in God. It was a luxury to be in familiar conversation with him upon the goodness and mercy of God. He loved the means of grace, and when he engaged in prayer there was a richness and sweetness in his petitions which touched the hearts of all sincere worshippers.”

He was deeply interested in the welfare of the circuit, and his attachment to the church of his choice remained unabated. To his daughter Jane he said, in his dying illness, that “it was a satisfaction to him to know that he had been a Primitive Methodist the best of a hundred years.” His breakdown so early in life, putting an end, as it did, to his ministerial career, was a mysterious event; but he has learnt the secret of Him who doeth all things well. “Content to fill a little space if Thou be glorified.”


Horatio was born on 12 July 1812 at Sporle, Norfolk, to parents Robert, a tailor, and Alice. He was baptised on 2 December 1815 at Sporle cum Palgrave, Norfolk.

Census returns identify the following occupations for Horatio.

  • 1851 druggist & shopkeeper
  • 1861 chemist & druggist
  • 1871 PM minister, chemist & shopkeeper
  • 1881 superannuated PM minister
  • 1891 retired chemist & farmer

He married Rebecca Branford (1819-1895) on 8 October 1844 at Princess Street Chapel, Norwich, Norfolk. Census returns identify eight children.

  • Jane (1845-1927) – a dressmaker (1911)
  • Branford (1847-1914) – a fowl dealer (1891)
  • Elizabeth (b abt1849) – a housekeeper (1901)
  • Alice (1850-1924) – married Richard Hook, a policeman, in 1871
  • Charles (1853-1925) – a stonemason (1911)
  • William (b abt1855)
  • Owen (1856-1937) – a fowl dealer (1911)
  • Ruth (b1857)

Horatio died on 9 March 1896 at Erpingham, Norfolk.


  • 1834 Fakenham
  • 1835 Upwell
  • 1836 Aylsham
  • 1837 Snettisham
  • 1838 Wisbech
  • 1840 Yarmouth
  • 1842 Lynn
  • 1843 Norwich
  • 1845 Brandon
  • 1847 Upwell
  • 1848 Upwell (Sup)
  • 1849 Norwich II
  • 1852 Aylsham


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1896/867

PM Minutes 1896/21

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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