Harrison, William Harland B.A. (1891-1977)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

WILLIAM HARLAND HARRISON, B.A.: born in Corringham, near Gainsborough, on 9th August 1891. He was educated at Gainsborough Grammar School and entered Hartley College in 1913. His studies were interrupted by the First World War and in 1915 he volunteered and served in a Field Ambulance Corps of the R.A.M.C. until 1919. He returned to Hartley College to study at the University of Manchester, where he graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Philosophy.

He travelled in the following circuits: Hull III, Newcastle upon Tyne, Ashington, Hull (Holderness Road), Harrogate, Birmingham (Belmont Row) and Wrexham. Before Union he was Connexional Secretary for Teacher Training in the Primitive Methodist Church and later he lectured in Philosophy of Religion at Wesley College, Headingley and examined in Theology at Hartley Victoria College. Of outstanding intellectual gifts and all-round ability he was eminently fitted for an academic career, but he believed that his service should be as a circuit minister. 

His steadfastness of character, his sympathy, understanding and care ensured the love of his people and his characteristic drive, energy and firmness of purpose inspired many to serve the Church. He loved preaching and will be remembered for his incisive, forthright, searching, convincing and often dramatic sermons, which sprang from his own profound conviction. He was a thinker, always questioning and exploring new ideas, and never happier than when engaged in the discussion of philosophical and religious questions; he revelled in good talk, good books and read philosophy avidly until the end. 

An able sportsman, he retained his love of sport, especially cricket, and watched a Test Match on the television on the day that he died. Throughout his ministry he was supported by his wife, Winifred, whose gifts and talents contributed much to its success. He died on 29th July 1977 in the eighty-sixth year of his age and the fifty-ninth year of his ministry.


William was born on 9 August 1891 at Corringham, Lincolnshire, to parents John William, a cattle dealer (1911), and Edith.

Before entering the ministry William assisted in his father’s business (1911). During WW1 he served in the R.A.M.C.

He married Winifred Beal (1904-1996) in the spring of 1926 at Hull, Yorkshire. Birth records identify two children.

  • Janet (b1927)
  • John L (b1929)

William died on 29 July 1977 in Birmingham, Warwickshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1918 Supply
  • 1922 Hull III
  • 1924 Newcastle
  • 1930 Ashington
  • 1933 Hull, Hold Rd
  • 1940 Harrogate
  • 1947 Birmingham Belmont
  • 1953 Wrexham
  • 1958 Wrexham (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 1978/80

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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