Heathershaw, Henry (1833-1907)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1894

Early years

Henry was born in 1833 at Douglas, Isle of Man, to parents Joseph and Mary. The family moved to Jersey when Henry was an infant. Joseph was a labourer working in Jersey in 1841.

Henry had seven years of his boyhood attending  ‘ordinary’ school. He attended a Sunday School connected with the Church of England. Henry was converted through the Primitive Methodists when he was 17. He became a Sunday School teacher and local preacher.

In 1851 Henry was working in Jersey as a brick maker. He declined an opportunity to go into the ministry and, instead, emigrated to Victoria, Australia in 1854. In 1860, he was again pressed to enter the ministry and this time he accepted.


Henry had only eight stations in the 33 years up to 1894, which speaks of the regard in which he was held. He was regarded by his colleagues, and the people, as one of the best preachers of the denomination within the colonies. He was twice President of the Australian Conference.

He was ever genial, thoroughly fraternal, constantly hospitable, everywhere catholic, and therefore was in very good repute not only among his own denomination but among ministers and the people of other churches.

Henry was Editor of the ‘Victorian Primitive Methodist’ for five years. He was the recognised head of the denomination in dealings with government. Henry was also Grand Chaplain of the Orange Order.


Henry married Amelia Nancy Robilliard (1832-1911) in 1853. Records indicate thirteen children.

  • Amelia Melvena (1854-1948) – married Alfred Thomas Glasson; later married John Donald Heckle
  • Henry Robilliard (1855-1933) – a bank manager
  • William (1857-1857)
  • Julia Catherine (1858-1911) – married William John Naveau
  • Mary Selina (1861-1915)
  • William Abraham (1861-1861)
  • William Abraham (1863-1864)
  • Georgina Harriet (1865-1933) – married William Charles Frederick Thomas, a flour miller and grain merchant
  • William Philip (1868-1929) – a public servant
  • Sydney Arthur (1870-1947) – became secretary of Victoria Police Department
  • James Thomas (1871-1943) – became Secretary of the Federal Treasury in 1926
  • Mabel Alice (1874-1970) – married Charles James Grey
  • Helena Amanda (1876-1890)

Henry died on 21 July 1907 at Essendon, Victoria, Austrailia.


  • 1861 Raglan (Australia)
  • 1862 not shown
  • 1863 Heidleberg
  • 1865 Smythesdale
  • 1869 Beaufort
  • 1873 Talbot
  • 1876 Castlemaine
  • 1880 Hamilton
  • 1883 Geelong
  • 1885 Beayfort
  • 1889 Melbourne
  • 1890 Book Steward
  • 1893 Melbourne I
  • 1896 Northcote
  • 1898 Melbourne II
  • 1900 Melbourne (S)
  • 1903 disappears

Note: The Australian Methodist Churches came together in 1902. Thereafter the stations and obituaries of previously Primitive Methodist Ministers were not recorded in Conference Minutes.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1894/83

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 2, p439

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Smith Family Tree on Ancestry.com

Glasson Family Tree on Ancestry.com

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9, (MUP), 1983

Biography of W C F Thomas, http://www.anz.com/resources/a/6/a6ba7a804e472d2c991bbd6672659df2/PB-Thomas-Biography.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

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.