Herod, Frederick George (1906-1984)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

FREDERICK GEORGE HEROD, B.A.: born at Haslingden, Lancashire on 10th June 1906. He was the son of Rev. and Mrs H.L. Herod, well-known in the old Primitive Methodist Manchester District. He was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Manchester University. He then entered William Deacons Bank but later was trained for the ministry at Hartley Victoria College and was ordained in 1934. He travelled in County Durham, Bolton, Hawkhurst and Bexleyheath. 

From 1940 he served in the South of England and was known as an interesting and topical preacher. His youth work was characterised by originality and his wit and laughter made him a success with young people. He married Dorothy Dane of Glossop in Derbyshire and it was a deeply happy and devoted marriage. Tragedy struck them both when he suffered a serious nervous breakdown, while their daughters were very young, in the Bexleyheath Circuit. He was superannuated on health grounds and was ill for three or four years going through agonised doubt and torment. He ceased to preach until late in the nineteen-sixties. During this time he decided to go into teaching and moved with Dorothy and the two girls into a fiat in Blackheath. Eventually he became Head of the Religious Education Department of Catford School, Lewisham. While teaching he discovered his gift for writing concise and informative books, in excellent and simple English, for religious education in schools. His writing proved his salvation. Methuen, the publishers, regarded his books as ‘best-sellers’ for use with 4th & 5th forms. “What Men Believe” was a great success and has recently been re-printed. “The Life of Christ”, “Who Cares?”, “Challenge — Stories of Courage”, “World Religions” and “The Gospels — A First Commentary.” were immensely readable and informative. 

The death of his wife in 1977 was a great shock to him and he searched for faith in, and evidence for, life after death in various ways. He greatly valued the friendship of his brother ministers and those with whom he could be his inquiring and witty self. In his latter years he accepted preaching appointments in both Anglican and Methodist churches, including congregations of mainly West Indian Christians. He became a popular leader of worship as he still continually led his people into looking at their beliefs and questioning themselves — which was so much a reflection of his attitude to his own life, right up to his death. His deep-rooted faith stood the test of the hard trials of his life. He loved the search for truth about all aspects of human life. He prayed regularly for the people and causes he cared about. He was a highly intelligent, sensitive and private man whose friendship was greatly valued. 

His surviving family consists of his two married daughters, Catherine Pottinger of Woking, Surrey and Margaret Young of Bangor, Northern Ireland. They were devoted to him and to Dorothy, as were his sisters Mrs. Roscoe of Manchester and Mrs. Howe of Bristol. He was a deeply human, many-sided character and as a niece wrote of him — “There is no chance that any of us will ever forget him.” He died peacefully in his sleep at his daughter’s home at Woking on July 3rd, 1984 in the seventy-eighth year of his life and the fiftieth year of his ministry.


Frederick was born on 10 June 1906 at Haslingden, Lancashire, to parents Henry Lowe Herod, a PM minister, and Harriet Amelia Hawes.

He married Dorothy Dane (1915-1976) in the spring of 1939 in the Glossop Registration District, Derbyshire. Birth records identify two children.

  • Catherine M (b1943) – married Terence G. Pottinger in 1965
  • Margaret A (b1946) – married Barry G. Young in 1967

Frederick died on 3 July 1984 at Woking, Surrey.


  • Hartley
  • 1934 Presidents List
  • 1936 Thornley
  • 1937 Bolton Moor Lane
  • 1940 Ticehurst
  • 1942 Gravesend &c
  • 1947 Supernum


Methodist Minutes 1985/74

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Note: Dorothy died in the spring of 1976, not 1977 as recorded in the obituary.

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