Knowles, Henry (1812-1877)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1857
Copy provided by Steven Carter

Early years

Henry was born on 5 March 1812 at Halifax, Yorkshire, the 7th son of parents William and Martha. He was baptised on 5 April 1812.

Henry was apprenticed from the age of 14 for seven years. He was inspired by the preaching of Thomas Holliday, who was imprisioned for preaching in the open air. At the age of 16, Henry was converted and soon became a local preacher. His master would not release Henry from his indentures until he was 21. He was then able to commence his itinerant ministry.


His obituary records that during his travelling ministry, Henry and his colleagues increased membership by over 1600 on his stations. Henry was also responsible for over 20 chapels, preparing the plans and specifications himself.

His obituary reads; ‘He was a true paster, and in the hour of trouble, sickness or death, he was always a comforter and friend. His sympathies were not confined to those within the pale of the church, but he often visitied the homes of the poor, going from house to house, his visits being always welcome.’

‘His preaching, like that of many of our early ministers, was full of glow and fire.’

Henry became Chairman of the Hull District. In 1872 he was appointed treasurer of the Preachers Friendly Society.


Henry married Margaret (1808-1889). Census records identify three children.

  • William Henry (1838-1913) – a clerk
  • Margaret Elizabeth (1842-1905) – married John George Smith, a PM Minister
  • Martha Ann (1844-1863)

Henry died on 2 May 1877 at Barton upon Humber.


  • 1833 Hull
  • 1842 Patrington
  • 1843 Tadcaster
  • 1844 Hull
  • 1845 Pocklington
  • 1847 Grimsby
  • 1849 Louth
  • 1851 Scotter
  • 1853 Swinefleet
  • 1855 Driffield
  • 1857 Pocklington
  • 1860 Retford
  • 1863 Bridlington
  • 1866 Brigg
  • 1869 Patrington
  • 1872 Barton on Humber


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1878/53

PM Minutes 1877/12

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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