Hemp, William James (1878-1968)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1928
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1928

Early years

William was born in 1878 at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, to parents Thomas Edward and Mary Ann Harriet George. Thomas was a cooper.

William was baptised on 1 September 1878. As a boy, William was associated with the Anglican Church. His conversion took place in the PM Queen’s Road Church, Yarmouth, under the ministry of Rev William A Hammond.

After leaving school, William spent two years working as a porter before becoming an apprentice coachbuilder. At the age of nineteen William went to London as an Evangelist and later to Nelson as a hired local preacher. He entered Hartley College in 1899, a recipient of the ‘George Lamb’ scholarship.


Whilst at Leeds VIII William commenced a spell of sickness, which severely tested his courage but proved the value of his ministry. Later, whilst at Hull VII (Lambert Street) his health completely broke down and he was compelled to seek a years rest. In search of restoration, he journeyed to Australia, and the sea voyage, coupled with the prolonged rest from preaching had the desired effect. On recommencing at Knighton, his health again failed and under medical advice, he resigned from the ministry.

After a period in which he engaged in Motor Carriage work, William was able to return to the ministry.

After retirement in 1938, William served as an active supernumerary in Corton and Fishponds.

During his ministry, William served as Secretary of the PM Connexion Candidates Examination Committee, as a member of the Sunday School Commission and of the Scholars Examination Committee. He was Chairman of the Norwich District in 1923.

During his long retirement, William prized the opportunity to train young local preachers, because he was able to share with them both his belief in preaching and his love of learning.


William married Daisy Lilian Spooner (1879-1959) in the summer of 1905 at Blofield, Norfolk. Daisy was the daughter of Rev William Loveday Spooner. Birth records identify one child.

  • William Spooner (1916-2003) – a professor in aircraft engineering

William died on 11 April 1968 at Leeds, Yorkshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1901 Leeds VII
  • 1905 Leeds VIII
  • 1906 Lynn
  • 1907 Rockland
  • 1908 Hull VII
  • 1911 Knighton
  • 1912 resigned
  • 1915 Diss
  • 1918 Wymondham
  • 1923 Rhosymedre
  • 1928 N Walsham
  • 1934 Luton
  • 1937 Mountain Ash
  • 1938 Lowestoft (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1928/560

Methodist Minutes 1968/196

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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