Jenkins, John (1845-1914)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1912

Early years

John was born in 1845 at Drybrook, Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire to parents Thomas and Keziah. Thomas was a coal miner.

His parents were staunch Bible Christians, though they opened their house to the Primitive Methodists. John was converted when aged nineteen and joined the Primitive Methodist Church.

As a boy, John went to work in a coal mine. Afterwards he became a railway employee. On moving to Derby, John joined the Traffic Street Church, was placed on the plan and two years later accepted a position as a hired local preacher at Morecambe, Lancashire. Although aged thirty-one, John was accepted by conference for ministry in 1876 and continued as a minister ‘on probation’ at Morecambe for further two years.

John was also a trade unionist before entering the ministry.


John was an out and out Evangelical. He came into sharp conflict with certain Romanising clergy in the west of Cumberland, and in a newspaper correspondence that ensued he displayed dialectical skill that delighted his friends and utterly discomfited his opponents. On the rise of the Free Church Movement John closely identified himself with it and on several occasions was president of local councils.

In the Trades Union movement, John was trained in advocacy, and wherever he resided he fought valiantly for the democratic and evangelistic movements.


John married Ellen Reynolds (1856-1885) in the summer of 1881 at Burscough, Lancashire. Census returns identify three children.

  • Martha Ellen (1882-1893)
  • Wilfrid Reynolds (1885-1893)
  • Frederick Reynolds (1884-1968) – science master at Penistone Grammar School (1911)

John married Louisa Odell (1848-1933) in the spring of 1889 at Hackney, London. Louisa was the sister of Rev Joseph Odell.

John died on 7 October 1914 at Torquay, Devon.


  • 1876 Lancaster
  • 1878 Southport
  • 1880 Preston I
  • 1883 Birmingham II
  • 1885 Cardiff
  • 1887 Lydney
  • 1890 Spennymoor
  • 1894 Whitehaven
  • 1900 Durham
  • 1903 Blackheath
  • 1904 Wolverhamption
  • 1908 Falmouth
  • 1912 Dalton
  • 1913 Torquay (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1912/590; 1915/409

PM Minutes 1915/26

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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