Lakin, William (1836-1870)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by James Symonds

My friend and brother has fought life’s battle, and entered into rest; to write a few lines respecting his pilgrimage and departure from earth is not a pleasing duty.

“Friend after friend departs; who hath not lost a friend?”

He was born June 6, 1836, at Coleorton, in Leicestershire, and died of inflammation of the lungs at Prittlewell in the Rochford mission, Essex, May 25, 1870, aged thirty-four years.

In his unregenerated state he did not run into those excesses of vice which in some give rise to bitter reflection in after days. But from the day of his conversion there was a marked change, his love for the company of the pious, his interest in the services of the sanctuary, and his zeal for the Lord of Hosts were manifest. When nineteen years of age he was converted, and joined our society at his native place. He was devout, and earnest signs of usefulness appeared in him; he was soon put on the plan as a local preacher, and in this sphere he won the esteem of all who knew him. In 1859 he was called into the itinerancy by the General Missionary Committee, and laboured with acceptance and usefulness on the following stations— Maidstone, Canterbury, Bedford, London Third, Malborough, Redhill, and Rochford. 

By those who knew him best he was highly esteemed as a man of real worth. He was eminently pious. In secret devotion he enjoyed close fellowship with God; he frequently fasted, and spent the time in closet prayer. He was thoroughly devoted to the work of the ministry, a sincere Primitive Methodist, a hard student, a deep thinker, a good logician, a sound divine, well read in Methodist theology, strictly honest in word and deed, an excellent colleague, a true friend, a loving husband, and a most affectionate father.

We give a few extracts from his diary that the reader may learn something of the deceased in his private life:—

“My spiritual state is improving, my hold of Biblical truth is more tenacious, my jealousy for God is stronger, my love more intense; it must be the root of usefulness and happiness.”

“Another week finds me peacefully at home enjoying my own fireside. Life is a many-sided, various thing; like the sea it ebbs and flows; its ripples sometimes swell into billows; sometimes it is bitter like the waters of Marah—but these are ordained as conditions of its enjoyments. The truth of the Bible forms the best refuge for the soul; while anchored here she will never break from her moorings.”

“Gave considerable attention to my studies. I feel my spirit is sighing after a deeper draught from the Word of Life; visited nine or ten families. religion is low, the people very indifferent. My God make me a sharp threshing instrument.”

“I stand at the entrance of the path of metaphysics; I think as it will reveal the subsoil of man’s nature I ought to intermeddle therewith,”

“Made a little preparation for night; visited nine families. O Lord, help me in this work; I find the advantage of a closer acquaintance with the Scriptures; read twelve chapters of 1 Cor. in the Greek Testament, composed a sermon, visited several families. Religion is taking a deeper hold of my being; it has been a week of peace to my soul, my evidence is clear.

Jan. 1st, 1870. Kept a watch-meeting in my own house all alone; promised my Master a faithful year. Blessed Lord, nothing would please me more than to see a revival of thy work. In reviewing my stewardship I feel that I cannot overtake that constant glowing zeal and unabating energy so necessary. My want of success lies heavy upon my heart. I have read the Bible in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin; will draw my theology from the breasts of God’s Word.”

“Preached at Prittlewell and Burling; lectured at Great Wakering on temperance. Went on Thursday to Pottern. Mr. Polley’s boy fell into the dyke, I jumped in to save him; got him out alive, bless God.”

The last entry:—‘‘ Friday, May 13th, Seriously ill with a cold or influenza. Received the stations, am booked for another year in this neighbourhood; Lord, open the way before me. Amen.”

His affliction was short but severe, but borne with great patience; when he understood that there was no hope of his recovery, he was perfectly resigned; his life-work was done, he was ready for the change. A few hours before he died, he wished his wife to sing to him, she being divinely supported, was able to comply with his request, and sang and prayed with him; he said to her, “Where is your hope fixed?” she replied, “On Christ,” he said “That is right.” He exhorted the doctor and all  attendants to offer themselves a living sacrifice to God, and to meet him in heaven.

He raised himself a little, and said, “O, I thought I was there, I shall not be long before I see the King in his beauty. Tell father, mother, and all of them that I know whom I have believed. It is all right.” And then sweetly fell asleep in Jesus.

It seems very mysterious to us (who see through a glass darkly), that he should be taken from his work just when he had won the esteem of those around him, and had taken steps to buy land and build a chapel, where one was much needed, and also from his delicate wife, and three helpless children, when they most needed his care and presence.


William was born on 6 June 1835 at Coleorton, Leicestershire, to parents William Lakin, a coal miner (1841), and Hannah Baws. He was baptised on 5 March 1837 at Griffydam Wesleyan Methodist Chapel, Leicestershire.

Before entering the ministry, William also worked as a coal miner.

He married Ann Gleghorn (b abt1842) in the summer of 1864 at St George in the East, London. Census returns identify three children.

  • Dorothy Hannah (1865-1943) – a dressmaker (1911)
  • Gertrude (1866-1949) – married Robert Thorp, a saw mill engineer (1901), in 1887
  • Edith (b1868) – a dressmaker (1891); married John Robert Fowler, a pawnbrokers manager (1911), in 1894

William died on 25 May 1870 at Prittlewell, Essex.

Ann worked as a dressmaker after William’s death. She settled in Polar, London, initially living with her parents. Ann’s brother George Brown Gleghorn was a PM minister.


  • 1859 Maidstone
  • 1860 Canterbury
  • 1862 Bedford
  • 1863 London III
  • 1864 Marlborough
  • 1867 Redhill
  • 1869 Rochford


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1871/367

PM Minutes 1870/16

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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