Horton, Samuel (1857-1949)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1916
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1922

Early years

Samuel was born in 1857 at Prees, Shropshire.

Samuel’s first public work was as a chorister in the village church. The 1922 sketch in the PM magazine suggests singing was not his strongest asset for his retirement ‘was not long delayed.’ He was converted at the age of fourteen and soon afterwards called into the pulpit.

Early in life, Samuel moved to Manchester, from whence he entered the ministry, and where he learned much concerning the lot of toilers. There, Samuel received a commercial training in a cotton-broker’s office.


In his early years of ministry, Samuel flung himself into the work with utter abandon; fighting the drink; leading a crusade against the slums and fighting the battle for free education on the Tyneside School Board. Samuel was a pioneer in making the children’s address an integral part of the service and it was in those strenuous days that he first embarked on his literary adventures.

Then came a first taste of mission work. James Travis, then Missionary Secretary, called Samuel to London to take charge of the Balham Mission. Here Tooting was missioned and a new chapel built at Wimbledon.

Edinburgh was perhaps the greatest work of his ministerial life. There he started a movement for the saving of first offenders and opened a home for friendless girls

Samuel succeeded Arthur T Guttery as Missionary Secretary in 1913.

Samuel said that he had done enough committee work to earn the eternal condemnation of most men, but he still remained a Christian! He helped to form the United Social Service Board and the Swanwick Social Service Union. He was the first Editor and Secretary of the PM Social Service Union. He was one of the founders of the United Army Board and its first Secretary. He also became Secretary of the PM Methodist Union Committee. In the midst of all these duties, Samuel still found time to write.

Samuel was President of Conference in 1921.

His latter years were spent in the Finsbury Park Circuit, where he continued to preach until within a year of his death at the age of ninety-two.


Samuel authored the following. The list below is not comprehensive!

Roses and thistles

Wheat and chaff. Sequel to Roses and thistles

Her bonnie pit laddie: a story of northern Methodism

Prince Charlie of the Canongate

‘To the rescue:’ being the life of William T. Streader, of Her Majesty’s Customs, 1898

The charm of the cross; a story for Christian endeavourers, 1903

For King or Parliament : the story of a Yorkshire Roundhead, 1909

The invisible shield and other parables, 1913

Mud and marble, 1919

Oranges and lemons, 1924

Another parable, please, 1926

Sharps and flats, 1928

The rum runner, 1930

Mrs. Marjorum’s money, 1933

The big three, 1935

Rainbow Farm, 1937

The chapel on the hill, 1938

The harp with the broken string, 1940


Samuel married Annie Harrison (1866-1945) in the summer of 1885 at Hull, Yorkshire. Census returns identify eight children.

  • Lilian Harriet (b1886) – a typist (1911)
  • Evelyn (b1887) – a typist (1911)
  • Marion Annie (1889-1983)
  • Samuel Norman (b1891) – a railway clerk (1911); emigrated to USA in 1914
  • Edith May (b1893)
  • Muriel (b abt1895) – a milliner (1911)
  • Donald Harrison (1896-1973) – an auctioneer and estate agent (1949)
  • John Kenneth (1900-1955)

Samuel died on 24 April 1949 at Bournemouth, Hampshire whilst on holiday.


  • Sunderland
  • 1883 Hull V
  • 1885 Selby
  • 1888 N Shields
  • 1892 Sunderland I
  • 1893 Balham & Brixton
  • 1897 Hull I
  • 1899 Edinburgh
  • 1905 Sheffield IX
  • 1909 Fleetwood
  • 1913 General Mission Secretary
  • 1918 Kennington Park
  • 1922 London (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1916/718; 1917/83; 1922/3; 1931/596

Methodist Minutes 1949/144

B A Barber, A Methodist Pageant, 1932, p289

R Newman Wycherley, The Pageantry of Methodist Union, 1932, p211

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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