Keightley, Robert William (1851-1929)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1910
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1930
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1910
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1927

Early years

Robert was born in 1851 at Appleby, Lincolnshire. His father, Richard, was a boot and shoe maker. Robert’s elder brother, James, was also a PM Minister.

Robert’s entry to the ministry was unusual. Whilst on the plan as an exhorter at Doncaster, he was called to serve as a ministerial supply, and after serving in that capacity for eighteen months, continued in Doncaster II circuit for a further term of two years as one of the ministers of that circuit. Before moving to Doncaster, Robert was a wheelwright’s apprentice.


Much of Robert’s ministry was split between Hull and Grimsby. Uniquely, he served the Grimsby II circuit on four separate terms.

Robert was Assistant Secretary at the Sheffield Conference in 1901.

Robert was particularly known for his preaching. By nature and by grace, added to his unsparing diligence as a student, Robert possessed the essential qualities for successful preaching. Wide reading, a retentive memory, rich spiritual experience and insight, a good voice, a native pawky humour, a thorough knowledge of human nature, added to a sympathetic disposition. All this was brought to the service of the pulpit, so that everywhere “the people heard him gladly.”


Robert married Priscilla Shepherd (1851-1926) in the summer of 1878 at Grimsby, Lincolnshire. Priscilla was the daughter of Rev James T Shepherd. Sadly, Priscilla lost her sight two years after Robert superannuated. Census returns identify seven children.

  • Ernest Shepherd (1879-1920) – a cashier (1911)
  • Arthur James (1880-1928) – a fish salesman (1911)
  • William Bernard (1882-1868) – a clerk (1911)
  • Eveline Maude (b1885) – a professional singer (1911)
  • Annie Waterhouse (b1887) – a schoolteacher (1911)
  • Ethel (b1889)
  • Mabel (b1893)

Robert died on 25 December 1929 at Loughborough, Leicestershire.


  • 1874 Doncaster II
  • 1876 Grimsby II
  • 1879 Hull II
  • 1883 Hull I
  • 1886 Grimsby II
  • 1889 Grimsby I
  • 1894 Hull I
  • 1896 Beverley
  • 1897 Grimsby II
  • 1903 Leicester I
  • 1906 Hull II
  • 1910 Loughborough
  • 1913 Long Eaton
  • 1917 Grimsby II
  • 1919 Grimsby (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1910/423; 1919/388; 1927/591 (Priscilla); 1930/232

PM Minutes 1930/289

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *