Holroyd, Jonas (1854-1911)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by G.T.S.

In the death of Rev. J. Holroyd the ministry has lost a faithful and loyal preacher; the Connexion a wise and sagacious servant; the community a brave and steadfast friend. His passing was dramatic in its suddenness, and the Bradford Conference was profoundly stirred as the news of his death was announced. Anticipating with great delight the pleasure of meeting old friends, and enjoying the meetings connected with the Annual Assembly, he left his home in good spirits on Wednesday morning at 8.30, June 14th, and whilst waiting for a car at the Wyke terminus dropped down dead, the cause of death being syncope. 

Mr. Holroyd was a native of Great Horton, Bradford, and entered the ministry from that circuit. After a year at the old Sunderland Institute, he went to Silsden, and subsequently travelled at Halifax, Wakefield, Leeds, Brigg, Alford, Boston, Lincoln (4years), Weymouth (4 years), Basingstoke (4 years), and Brighouse. His ministry was characterised by painstaking care and devotion. His first care was always his circuit, and by a faithful, wise, and sagacious oversight he had the joy of witnessing a steady improvement upon all his circuits. A good friend, a shrewd observer, a practical superintendent, small wonder that he did well and made for himself a wide circle of friends. Those who knew him best knew him to be a chivalrous soul, scorning the mean and ignoble, and always anxious to speak well of people; a true friend and splendidly loyal in his friendships. A tactful leader, but whose tact was not a refuge for cowardice, his diplomacy was never weakness. He was a sturdy man, physically as well as tempermentally, and his opponents found in him a doughty debater and a tenacious but honourable fighter. 

As a preacher he was most acceptable. Simple, strong, direct, he delivered his message as man to man, and his broad humanity, his shrewd and witty asides, made him deservedly popular. As a raconteur he was most excellent, and when he was present no gathering was dull; he chased away the gloom and kept all in high good humour. His executive faculty found ample scope in the office of Building Secretary, which office he held in the Salisbury and Southampton and the Bradford and Halifax Districts. His brethren recognised his worth and accorded him honour, he was twice chairman at the District Synod, and three times delegate to Conference. He was a strong Free Churchman and Temperance advocate; but first and foremost he was a Primitive Methodist, and ever sought to advance the interests of the Denomination he loved so well. 

The funeral service took place at Gt. Horton Church, and a large attendance paid tribute to the life and work of the deceased, the Conference representatives being the Vice-President (Alderman T. Fletcher, J.P.), Mr. S. J. E. Hartley, a lifelong friend, and the Rev. T. Mitchell, who delivered a remarkably fine address, and voiced his personal appreciation of the gifts and service of a true gentleman of Christ. The impressive service was conducted by the Rev. W. Dickinson, and those taking part were the Revs. R.H. Auty, J. Bennett, G. Ford, W. J. Ward, and J. Harding. The interment took place at Scholesmoor Cemetery. 

A widow and son are left to mourn the loss of a true and devoted husband, and a tender and loving father. May God abundantly bless them and may they find comfort in the fragrant life of one who like his Master, ‘went about doing good.’


Jonas was born in the spring of 1854 at Great Horton, Bradford, Yorkshire, to parents David, a power loom overlooker (1861), and Mary Ann.

He married Sarah Ann Fawell (b1856) in the summer of 1883 in the Ripon Registration District, Yorkshire. Census returns identify three children.

  • Fawell (1885-1897)
  • Annie (b1887)
  • Colin David (1891-1948) – an engineer’s apprentice (1911); later a tea planter in India

Jonas died on 14 June 1911 at Wyke, nr Bradford, Yorkshire.


  • 1878 Sunderland
  • 1879 Halifax I
  • 1881 Silsden
  • 1883 Wakefield
  • 1886 Leeds IV
  • 1888 Brigg
  • 1890 Alford
  • 1893 Boston
  • 1896 Lincoln II
  • 1900 Weymouth
  • 1904 Basingstoke
  • 1908 Brighouse


PM Minutes 1911/24

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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