Hockin, Alfred John (1895-1981)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

ALFRED JOHN HOCKIN: born in Tavistock on 19th August 1895 of Primitive Methodist parents. Whilst he was still a small boy the family moved to Plymouth and he was educated at Hyde Park School. The call to preach came at an early age and he preached his first sermon when he was fifteen. Before he was twenty he was accepted for training at Hartley College but a breakdown in health compelled him to leave. A speedy recovery enabled him to join H.M. Forces and he served in the Indian Army on the North-West Frontier from 1916-1919. His literary skill, which was a marked feature of his ministry, was recognised by his appointment as the editor of the A.S.C. Monthly during his service in India. On demobilisation he was accepted again for the ministry and after a few months in the Liskeard Circuit he entered Hartley College in 1920. 

A short spell in East London Mission preceded his training at the Livingstone Medical College. After ordination he and his wife, Bessie, the loving and devoted companion of the rest of his life, sailed for Nigeria on the 25th April 1923. His Nigerian experience was ever dear to him. Generations of Africans cherish the memory of his work at Ibiaku. The General Missionary Committee placed on record a special tribute to his pastoral work and medical help. 

On returning home he served in the following circuits: Barrow-in-Furness, Shotley Bridge, Sheffield (Ecclesall), London(Tooting), Cardiff (Penarth and Barry), Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Central and Sandyford), Leigh (Leigh Road), Leigh, and Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Heaton and Wallsend). He continued as an active supernumerary at Henley-on-Thames and Malvern and then went to live at Seafield House at Lytham St. Annes. 

His wartime experiences gave him a great understanding of men and this was reflected in his ministry in all his circuits. He had a remarkable power of communication both by his mastery of words and the warmth of his personality. Preaching was his great love. His expository sermons on the Old Testament were enthralling and he made Biblical characters live. As a pastor he was greatly loved and he cared deeply for his people. All who entered the home of Alfred and Bessie Hockin soon found the reality of Christian love. Throughout the years his colleagues benefited from his generous heart and rich mind. Books were precious to him and in his leisure moments he was no mean book-binder. He never lost his missionary zeal and world view. 

Soon after moving to Lytham ill-health overtook him, but during a long period of increasing weakness and deafness he displayed courage and grace. He was lovingly supported by his wife and family and his friends at Seafield House exercised a wonderful care. He died peacefully on 23rd May 1981 in the eighty-sixth year of his age and the sixty-second year of his ministry.


Alfred was born on 19 August 1895 at Tavistock, Devon, to parents William Henry Hockin, a wheelwright, and Fanny Lashbrook.

He married Bessie Austin (1895-1987) on 17 March 1923 at herbert St PM Chapel, Devonport, Devon. Birth records identify three children.

Margaret (b1924) – married Henry C Radford in 1951

David Lashbrook (1927-2016)

John Michael (1931-2009)

Alfred died on 23 May 1981 at St Annes, Lancashire.


  • Hartley
  • 1919 Supply
  • 1923 Nigeria
  • 1930 Barrow in Furness
  • 1933 Shotley Bridge
  • 1936 Sheffield Eccles
  • 1941 London Tooting
  • 1947 Cardiff Penarth
  • 1951 Newcastle Central
  • 1954 Leigh Leigh Rd
  • 1955 Leigh
  • 1956 Newcastle Heaton
  • 1962 Henley (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 1981/73

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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