Hibbs, Joseph (1801-1881)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1853

Early years

Joseph was born on 8 February 1801 at Bradwell, Derbyshire to parents James and Mary. He was baptised on 24 February 1801 at Bradwell. Joseph was converted under the preaching of John Seevington, sent by the Sheffield circuit to mission Bradwell in late 1820. Shortly after, Joseph went on the plan, initially as a prayer leader and after three months as an exhorter.


In 1823 Joseph became a hired local preacher in his own circuit and was sent on mission to New Mills. In 1824, his father died and Joseph had to stay at home to look after the family. He was a succesful class leader and local preacher but felt himself not feeling satisfied. He resolved to respond if God called him again. In 1829, a young man failed to arrive at the Wrockwardinewood circuit and Joseph was called to fill the gap.

Petty records the work of Joseph in developing Swansea and surrounds from 1834. Two thousand persons are said to have sometimes listened to his preaching on the Quay at Swansea. A large preaching room was taken on rent and opened on 6 July 1834. At that time the society numbered about 50. A powerful camp meeting was held at Swansea on 21 September 1834. The following March, Swansea was made the head of a new circuit with 160 members and two travelling preachers.

Most of his ministry was carried out in South Wales.

His obituary records that he was a man of sincere and abiding convistions, fervent in spirit, simple in faith, and earnest in supplications. His preaching had the true ring about it, plain, scriptural, doctrinal and practical, and in it he sought not to win the applause of men, but souls to Jesus.

A colleague wrote; ‘As a minister he was intelligent, affectionate, earnest, and useful. he was a sympathising and beloved friend among the many hundreds of famileis he visited.’


Joseph was married to Ann (1802-1886) from Mangotsfield, Gloucestershire. Census returns identify two children.

  • Mary (b1838)
  • Ann (b1842)

Joseph died on 11 December 1881 at Mangotsfield, Gloucestershire..


  • 1830 Wrockwardinewood
  • 1831 Blaenavon
  • 1835 Swansea
  • 1839 Carmarthen
  • 1842 Pontypool
  • 1845 Bristol
  • 1847 Redruth
  • 1849 Swansea
  • 1852 Tredegar
  • 1856 Pontypool
  • 1858 Pillowell
  • 1862 Stroud
  • 1864 Radstock
  • 1868 Kingswood (s)
  • 1881 Mangotsfield


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1853/257 (portrait); 1882/371

PM Minutes 1882/6

J Petty, The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, 1880, p373

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 2, p308

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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