Hirst, Crispin (1831-1915)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by Albert Goodacre

CRISPIN HIRST was born in the town of Morley, April 8th, in the year 1831 and died in the town of Knaresborough February 3rd, 1915. He lived to the advanced age of 83 years, 60 of which were spent in the ministry of our Church. For 28 years he toiled in the active ministry, and for 32 years he was upon the list of superannuated ministers. His parents were congregationalists, and our brother along with other members of the family was sent to the Congregational Sunday School and Church. In his early days he had aspirations for goodness and a reverence for the service of the sanctuary. At the age of 17 years he consciously accepted Christ as his Saviour; this experience was brought about under the ministry of the Rev. Mr. Morris, a Congregational Minister. 

In the course of time he was drawn into fellowship with the Primitive Methodists, and by-and-bye became a fully accredited local preacher. In this capacity he displayed more than the average preaching ability, and was urged by an aged Christian to give himself over to the work of preaching. The call of God and the Church came, and in obedience thereto our brother entered the ranks of the Primitive Methodist Ministry at the age of 22 years. His first circuit was Great Yarmouth, then he passed on to Brandon, King’s Lymn, Norwich, Swaffham, and Wisbech. 

The work of the ministry in these days and in this district demanded much labour and sacrifice. Journeys were long and tedious, and had to be taken on foot. Yet our brother toiled on, doing his work heartily as unto the Lord and not unto man. After labouring for several years in East Anglia he found his way back to Yorkshire, and he laboured with zeal and acceptance at Wakefield, Halifax, Keighley, Colne, Knaresborough, Easingwold, Dewsbury and Otley. Some of the older members of Knaresborough Circuit remember the ministry he exercised in that town over 40 years ago. 

Mr. Hirst was a diligent student of theology; this being evidenced by the fact that he wrote and published several small booklets on some of the doctrines of Methodism. During the 28 years of his active ministry our brother lived a many-sided life. In his day conversions were frequent and chapel building was also a special feature; the deceased had not a little to do with work of that description. It was also necessary for the shepherd to look after his flock, and this labour did not escape the notice of our friend.

He was compelled to superannuate at the early age of 51 years in consequence of weakness and affliction brought about by very strenuous service, and for 32 years he lived in retirement. He might not be widely known to the present generation, but he had the assurance that the ‘Lord knoweth them that are His’ It is eighteen years since he preached his last sermon, and that was at Silver Royd Church, Leeds. But although he had not preached for so many years, it was no uncommon thing for him to make sermons. The word of God was the constant theme of meditation, and it was only natural that he should wish to commit his thoughts to paper. 

For many years he had been confined to his house, and of late he became exceedingly deaf, and also suffered from failing eyesight. The writer had only known him for six months, but during that period he was a frequent visitor to the home, and he therefore can testify to the beautiful spirit he displayed. Our brother’s was a peaceful death. Truly, it may be said that he served his own generation by the will of God, and then fell on sleep. He is survived by a widow, who for nearly 21 years had been his partner in life, and who had done all that living hands could do for him in his affliction. Four children also mourn his passing away. 

The remains of our friend were conveyed from Knaresborough to Leeds, and interred in the Armley Churchyard. Previous to the interment a service was held in the Southfield Church, conducted by Rev. E. Barrett, the address being given by Rev. A. Goodacre. Other ministers taking part were Revs. H.S. Targett, W. Sunlay Spencer, and Mr. T. Mosley. Revs. C.T. Bishell and T. Henderson also attended the service.


Crispin was born on 8 April 1831 at Morley, Yorkshire, to parents David and Ruth. He was baptised on  19 June 1831 at Morley Independent chapel.

He married Amelia Davey (1832-1886) in the spring of 1858 in the Yarmouth Registration District, Norfolk. Census returns identify six children.

  • Mary Jane (1861-1890) – married Frederick Littlewood in 1886
  • Ellen Angelina (b1863) – emigrated to USA in 1890; married Titus Moseley, an insurance agent (1900), in 1890; married Matthew Paul Brown, an insurance agent, in 1909
  • Robert (b1866)
  • Henry (1870-1950) – a merchant’s clerk (1891); a brewer’s traveller (1911)
  • Amelia Ann (1872-1929) – married Frederick Baines, a brewer’s clerk, in 1894; married James Walter in 1925
  • Clara (1875-1951) – married Arthur Ryder, a post office clerk (1911), in 1898

He married Ann Buckle (1839-1919) in early 1894 at Bramley, Yorkshire.

Crispin died on 3 February 1915 at Knaresborough, Yorkshire.


  • 1854 Yarmouth (2yrs 6mths)
  • 1856 Brandon (2yrs 6mths)
  • 1859 Lynn
  • 1860 Norwich
  • 1862 Swaffham
  • 1864 Brandon
  • 1865 Wakefield
  • 1866 Wisbech
  • 1867 Horbury
  • 1868 Halifax
  • 1870 Colne
  • 1873 Keighley II
  • 1874 Knaresborough
  • 1875 Easingwold
  • 1877 Dewsbury
  • 1878 Batley
  • 1879 Otley (Sup)
  • 1885 Leeds VI


PM Minutes 1915/24

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • Crispin was my Great Grandfather through my father Lesley Ryder. I would love to see a photo of Crispin if anyone has one to share.

    By Sheila Moyle nee Ryder (12/01/2024)

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