Kelly, Charles M.A., B.D. (1886-1921)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by W.L. Wardle

Charles Kelly was born October 18th, 1886, at Peel, in the Isle of Man. His father was, and still is, a local preacher, so that from his earliest years Charles was surrounded by a Primitive Methodist atmosphere. When he was two years old the family removed to Douglas, where they were associated with the church at Buck’s Road. This association was by no means nominal, and it was in keeping with the family tradition that Charles, at a comparatively early age, became secretary of the flourishing Sunday School. 

He had a good education, completed at Douglas Grammar School, and entered the teaching profession. After some time in the elementary schools he returned as assistant master to the Grammar School. The call to the ministry became insistent, and having passed the usual tests he entered Hartley College in 1907, being then just twenty-one. There he spent five very happy years, esteemed alike for his character and abilities by his fellow students and teachers. His previous attainments qualified him to take a University course, and he was one of the first students to benefit under Sir William Hartley’s scheme. He obtained his arts and divinity degrees with credit, and was proxime accessit for the Hebrew Prize at Manchester University.

His first circuit was Brierley Hill, where he laboured with much success from 1912 to 1915. There he met Miss Lilian Thrussell, who became his wife. The union was one of unbroken happiness, for in his wife he found an ideal comrade for his life-work,

Entering the Approved List, he supplied for one year the important Manchester Circuit grouped round ‘Old Moss Lane.’ Then he chose to go to the very difficult sphere of Manchester I., with its three slum churches. This unexpected choice was the expression of a very deliberate decision to become familiar with the work of the evangel among all sorts and conditions of men, that he might be worthily equipped for his ministry. His work here for five years was very successful, and his memory is highly esteemed. He was on the point of leaving for the circuit of his birth, when an obscure disease that had long been undermining his strength ended his earthly service June 29th, 1921. At the memorial service, held July 3rd in Moss Lane Church, the crowded congregation and great number of ministers present were evidence of the great esteem in which he was held. The Rev. E.A. Steen conducted the service, and the Rev. W.L. Wardle gave a brief address. The General Committee was represented by the Rev. T.H. Champion, the District Committee by the Rev. F. Humble. The service at the graveside in the Southern Cemetery was taken by the Revs. J.W. Clifford and W.L. Wardle.

Mr. Kelly was of gentle and sensitive disposition, abhorring anything mean or unworthy. He was tactful in dealing with men, though he could be severe in his denunciation of what he believed to be wrong. He was always a student, and only a few weeks before he died won the M.A. degree at Manchester for an essay en ‘Folk-lore in Hebrew Place-Names.’ He never spared himself in working for his circuit; indeed, everyone attributed his frail health to over-work, As a preacher he was simple and sincere, but always his matter was solid. He never offered that which had cost him nothing. We rejoice in the thought that for so faithful a servant, who sought no reward ‘except to serve Him still,’ the Master has other fields of service. To: Mrs. Kelly and their little son David he leaves the legacy of an inspiring memory; to the Church the fruit of a ministry all too short but abiding in its influence.


Charles was born on 18 October 1886 at Peel, Isle of Man, to parents William Kelley, a market gardener, and Ann Jane Kaighen.

He married Lilian Ada Trussell in the summer of 1916 at Stourbridge, Worcestershire. Birth Records identify one child.

  • David (b1919)

Charles died on 29 June 1921 at Manchester, Lancashire.


  • Hartley
  • 1912 Stourbridge
  • 1915 Manchester III
  • 1916 Manchester I


PM Minutes 1922/269

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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