Ladlay, Thomas (1885-1981)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

THOMAS LADLAY: born in Carlisle on 28th April 1885, into a staunch Primitive Methodist family. His father was a commercial traveller, and his schooling took place in Preston, Carlisle and Leeds. Having worked in a Law Library from 1902-1905, and as a paid Local Preacher in the Knowlwood Circuit from 1905-1906, he offered as a candidate for the Primitive Methodist ministry and trained at Hartley College from 1906-1909. 

He served in the following circuits: Market Rasen, Hornsea, Barton-on-Humber, West Hartlepool, Silsden, Leicester I, York Il, Birmingham, Oldbury, Birmingham (Belmont Row), North Shields, Ryton and Prudhoe, and Hull (East). On retirement, he returned to Leicester, and later moved to Hampstead where he deputised for a sick colleague for some months. In 1960, he moved to Edgware and, finally, to Chesham in 1967.

A life-long pacifist, he nevertheless served as an Army Chaplain during the last year of the First World War. This typified his love and concern for people, which characterised his long and devoted ministry. Thomas Ladlay was a man of many parts. Having been a student of A.S. Peake, he would jocularly claim that he belonged to an elite body, and he maintained his studies throughout the years. He had a flair for languages and until the last year of his life read his Greek New Testament every day. He was a prolific reader, so that when age and infirmity confined him to his home, his mind still ranged far and wide. He loved a good discussion.

In earlier years, he found great joy in walking and in playing cricket and golf, and his sense of humour endeared him to old and young alike. He had a love for classical music and drama, especially Shakespeare, and in his younger days was no mean elocutionist. Whenever possible, he would travel abroad in Switzerland and Austria, and his vivid recollection of these journeys was remarkable. But supremely, he was completely committed to the call of God and the life of the ministry. In all his work, he was lovingly supported by his wife, Hilda, who died in 1955, and in the thirty years of his retirement he rejoiced in the care and companionship of his only daughter, Jean. His powerful preaching and loving pastoral work built up all the churches in his care, and right to the end, he kept in touch with many folk, who thank God for the influence of his life upon them. He had a special place in the hearts of the Methodists in Chesham, where, after a brief iliness, he died peacefully in hospital, on 3rd March 1981 in the ninety-sixth year of his age and the seventy-second year of his ministry.


Thomas was born on 28 April 1885 at Carlisle, Cumberland, to parents John William Ladlay, a provisions commission agent (1911), and Sarah Ann Yarwood.

At the time of the 1901 census, Thomas was working as a stockbroker’s clerk.

He married Hilda Bowman (1885-1955) in the summer of 1914 at Leeds, Yorkshire. Birth records identify one child.

  • Jean Bowman (b1916)

Thomas died on 3 March 1981 at Chesham, Buckinghamshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1909 Market Rasen
  • 1914 Barton on Humber
  • 1916 W Hartlepool
  • 1918 Chaplain H.M. Forces
  • 1919 Silsden
  • 1923 Leicester I
  • 1928 York II
  • 1931 Birmingham
  • 1935 Oldbury
  • 1938 N Shields
  • 1944 Ryton &c
  • 1947 Hull East
  • 1950 Leicester (S)


Methodist Minutes 1981/77

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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