Holland, John (1869-1943)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1918
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1921
Anne Margaret Parry
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1914
Julia Emmeline Craddock
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1921

Early years

John was born in 1869 at Brampton Bryan, Herefordshire, to parents John and Mary. John senior worked the land and was a local preacher for over fifty years. The family moved into the Lichfield circuit when John was quite young.

Mary died when John was eleven years old. As John was the eldest of six children, he had to go to work to help support the family. At the age of twelve, John arose at 4.30 am each morning and had to walk two miles to start work on a farm from six in the morning till six at night for eight pence a day. Against his father’s wishes, John left home aged fourteen and obtained work in Birmingham. He spent the next three years in hotels as billiard-marker, boots, etc, and away from home forgot God and turned away from the Church. Having left a well-paid job looking after greyhounds, John struggled to find work and found his way back to his home neighbourhood.

John made his ‘great decision’ just before his eighteenth birthday. This followed seeing a Sunday School Anniversary advertised at Brownhills and deciding to attend. He responded to a call from the preacher, Rev James Davies. Within ten weeks, he accompanied his father to appointments and began to preach.

John returned to live in Birmingham and was brought under the influence of Rev William Wright, who gave him encouragement and stimulated his desire for self-improvement. A few months after Rev Wright moved to the Church Gresley station, he called for John to join him as a hired local preacher. Whilst boarding with William Wright, John passed his candidates examination and then attended the Manchester College.


John served as District Secretary, C.E. and Missionary Secretary. He also served as Secretary of the Local Preachers Aid Fund.

His obituary records that John was a man of strong and distinctive personality. The gift of racy and effective speech was used to great advantage, and as a preacher he found a way to the hearts of his hearers. He rejoiced in ‘the ministry of reconciliation.’

After superannuation in 1939, John continued to serve the Wem Circuit.


John married Anne Margaret Parry (1874-1914) on 13 August 1895 at Oswestry, Shropshire. Census returns identify five of six children.

  • Lilian Margaret (b1896)
  • Daisy Annie (b1898)
  • Ivy Minton (1904-1988)
  • John Edward (1907-1987) – an assistant secretary (1943); a company director (1960)
  • George Richard (1909-1978)

John married Julia Emmeline Craddock (1872-1960) in early 1916 at Norton Canes, Staffordshire.

John died on 17 March 1943 at Wem, Shropshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1891 Lichfield
  • 1893 Oswestry
  • 1894 Ellesmere
  • 1898 Llanymynech
  • 1902 Sheffield III
  • 1906 Leicester I
  • 1911 Birmingham I
  • 1913 Hammersmith
  • 1922 Kennington Park
  • 1926 Oswestry
  • 1932 Wem
  • 1939 Wem (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1914/416; 1918/681; 1921/298

Methodist Minutes 1943/132

R Newman Wycherley, The Pageantry of Methodist Union, 1932, p399

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • Rev John Holland was a Sunday School pupil at Springhill Primitive Methodist Church,( which opened in 1844 as a new Connexion Chapel) near Muckley Corner, Lichfield before training to become a Minister. The altar table in the chapel is dedicated to his memory

    His Canadian son was a pilot with the RAF stationed near the South Coast during WW2 when Rev John died and was given permission to fly his Spitfire to Wolverhampton airbase and then to travel to the funeral in Wem. Tragically he was killed in action a few weeks later over the English Channel and is buried in a military cemetery near Ostend.

    By David Evans (31/08/2017)

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