Kershaw, John Arthur (1876-1957)

From the booklet 'Primitive Methodist Church, Bowlee - Jubilee Souvenir and Historical Sketch 1913'
Supplied by Chris Wells

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

JOHN ARTHUR KERSHAW: began his ministry in the Lincoln District in 1901 as a probationer in the Primitive Methodist circuit of Horncastle. He served two terms at Grimsby (Flottergate) and retired there in 1939. He continued to preach, and preserved to the last his keen interest in all things concerning the welfare of the Church. His circuits were mostly in the North, including Manchester, Liverpool, Hartlepool and South Shields, Middleton, Bury, and Northwich. 

He was at the height of his power during his first superintendency at Flottergate in 1921-26, and the deep and widespread influence of his ministry during those years is still felt in the lives of the men and women in that area. Many were moved to fuller Christian service, and their devotion is unabated. He had great strength of character and sureness of judgement, and bore himself with a rare dignity yet was blessed with a sense of humour. He had considerable powers as a preacher yet possessed outstanding pastoral gifts, and his ministry to the distressed in the years of depression will long be remembered. 

He died on 31st July 1956, in the eightieth year of his age and the fifty-sixth of his ministry.


John was born on 25 April 1876 at Walsden, Lancashire, to parents Arthur, a cotton spinner (1881), and Sarah Jane.

In the 1891 census return John is recorded as working as a railway porter.

He married Florence Holroyd (b1882) in early 1909 in the North Brierley Registration District, Yorkshire. Census returns identify two children.

  • Kenneth Holroyd (1909-1943) – a bank clerk (1939); died in Sicily in WW2 – a Captain in Durham Light Infantry
  • Kathleen (b1917) – a ladies hairdressing assistant (1939); married Terence W. Nundy in 1941

John died on 31 July 1956 at Grimsby, Lincolnshire.


  • 1901 Horncastle
  • 1903 Bedale
  • 1904 Birkenhead I
  • 1906 Manchester XII
  • 1910 Middleton, Lancs
  • 1914 Bury I
  • 1919 Manchester X
  • 1921 Grimsby I
  • 1926 Liverpool III
  • 1927 Hartlepool
  • 1929 S Shields
  • 1933 Nuneaton
  • 1935 Northwich
  • 1937 Grimsby Flott
  • 1939 Grimsby Flott (S)


Methodist Minutes 1957/186

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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