Howcroft, William (1789-1852)

Primitive Methodist Magazine
Englesea Brook Museum ENBM 1990.21.15a

Early Years

William was born on 22 March 1789 at Hambleton, Yorkshire, to parents Thomas and Mary. William was converted in 1809 at Thornley, through the Wesleyans, where he worked as a farm servant. He apparently ‘back-slided’ until 1814 when there was a further Wesleyan revival in the area. He became a Wesleyan local preacher until 1819 when the Primitive Methodists missioned in his village. William joined with them and became a class leader.


William authored the following.

Christ, the Divine Restorer, Or, Source of Life Unto His People: A Sermon, Preached in the Primitive Methodist Chapel, Pontefract, on Sunday Evening, May the 29th, 1831

Miscellaneous Hymns and Poems, published 1842


William was conected with significant revivals in Filey in 1825 and Whitby in 1825.

His obituary records of his preaching; ‘Sometimes his style was sententious and pithy, and the singularity of his smiles would arouse and rivet the attention of his hearers; but at other times his style was wild and capricious, and fanciful producing a feeling not altogheter in keeping with the sobriety of a devotional assembly.’


William’s first marriage in 1814 was to Jane Cox, a widow, daughter of Mr Robert Conkey.

William was married to Amy Ratcliffe (1802-1869) in 1847 at Canterbury.  Amy had a daughter by a previous marriage, Jane Sarah Ratcliffe (1823-1875) who married Rev James Symonds.

William died on 28 October 1852 in Stockport.


  • 1821 Hull
  • 1822 Ripon
  • 1823 Hull
  • 1824 Guisborough
  • 1825 Sunderland
  • 1826 S Shields
  • 1827 Ripon
  • 1829 Brompton
  • 1833 London
  • 1835 Hull
  • 1838 Pocklington
  • 1840 Scotter
  • 1842 Hull
  • 1843 Malton
  • 1844 London
  • 1845 Bradwell
  • 1846 Canterbury
  • 1847 Isle of Wight
  • 1848 Portsmouth
  • 1849 Manchester
  • 1851 Knowlwood
  • 1852 Stockport


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1823/255; 1834/165; 1853/257; 1870/427 (wife)

PM Minutes 1853/7

J Petty, The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, 1880, p187

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 2, p109

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers



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