Illsley, John (1893-1978)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

JOHN ILLSLEY: born at Kiverton Park, Sheffield, on 22nd September 1893. He grew up in a mining community and seemed set for a very successful career in mining, having obtained a first class certificate in Mining Engineering, but the call of God came to him for the full time work of the ministry. He entered Hartley College and after training went as a probationer to the Blackpool Circuit. He subsequently served in the following circuits: St. Austell Whitechurch, Walkden, Castleford (Bradley Street), Bolton (Higher Bridge Street), Leigh and Hindley Green, Altrincham, and Salford (Swinton, Pendlebury and Pendleton). He became a supernumerary in 1958 and went to live in the Fleetwood Circuit. 

As long as he was able he gave service to church and circuit. He was a Methodist preacher by calling and by nature. A sturdy little man, with an alert mind and puckish sense of humour, he gave generously of his time and service to the Lord and his Church. The gifts and graces with which he was endowed he used to the full in telling the story of the Saviour’s love. He was held in high esteem by the people to whom he ministered. In 1922 he married Emmie Dawson. They were together for fifty-six years and the home they created was a joy and delight to all who visited them. 

He died quietly and peacefully on the 1st December 1978, in the eighty-sixth year of his age and the sixty-first year of his ministry.


John was born on 22 September 1893 at Kiveton Park, Yorkshire, to parents William Illsley, a coal miner (1901), and Mary Elizabeth Leech.

Before entering the ministry John also worked below ground in the coal mining industry.

He married Emma Dawson (1903-1993) in the summer of 1922 in the Fylde Registration district, Lancashire. Birth records identify one child.

  • William James (1923-2011)

John died on 1 December 1978 at Thornton Cleveleys, Blackpool, Lancashire.


  • Hartley
  • 1918 Supply
  • 1920 Blackpool
  • 1922 St Austell
  • 1925 Whitchurch
  • 1928 Walkden
  • 1934 Castleford
  • 1941 Bolton Higher Bridge St
  • 1943 Leigh &c
  • 1949 Altrincham
  • 1954 Swinton &c
  • 1958 Fleetwood (S)


Methodist Minutes 1979/73

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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