Lapham, William Albert (1850-1877)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by H. Platt

The Rev. W.A. LAPHAM was born at Frome, in Somersetshire, on June 19, 1850. His father is one of the oldest local preachers in the Frome Circuit, and his mother been a God-fearing woman for many years. It may be said of this young man that from a child he had known the Holy Scriptures. He was carefully looked after, and earnestly prayed for. When only eight years of age he accompanied his father to a special chapel service and was so wrought upon by the Holy Spirit, while his father was praying, that he never entirely forgot the impression. Though he did not become decidedly pious at this time, but for a time followed the vanities and pleasures of life, which boys at his age generally do, yet he had occasionally strong desires after the Lord, which eventually resulted in his conversion. 

Successful services were being held by our people in the town, when one evening a companion called for him to go to the chapel; his mother retired to pray for him during his absence, and on his return he had the pleasure of making known to her the fact of his conversion. This was joyful news to his dear mother, who had been so earnestly desiring his salvation. He united with the society. His exemplary piety and every day’s conduct commended him to the notice of the officials, and in the seventeenth year of his age the initials of his name appeared on the plan, and a wider sphere of usefulness opened up to him. 

He was apprenticed to a painter and decorator, in Frome. His surroundings were not at all favourable to the growth of his religious life, but he consistently and creditably pursued his way, and gained the respect and prayers of a large circle of friends. He removed to the High Wycombe Station, and as a local preacher was useful, and his labours were highly appreciated. He was employed for some little time as a Town or Temperance Missionary in Chesham. We have heard him relate most pleasing and interesting cases of conversion in connection with his mission work. 

In November of 1873, the Sturminster Newton Station was in want of a young man, and Mr. Lapham was recommended. He entered on his new sphere of labour with a willing mind and a warm heart for the good of souls and the honour of God. For the whole of the four years spent on this station he followed these great and grand purposes. 

His preaching was clear and powerful; many precious souls have been profited and saved through his agency, and we trust will be the crown of his rejoicing in the day of the Lord. He was greatly beloved and highly esteemed for his piety and earnestness in the cause of God. He had a genial spirit and a generous heart; he was an agreeable and faithful colleague. But his days on earth were few. In the midst of a useful life, and with bright hopes of many years of Christian labour before him, he was smitten down. After three weeks of extreme weakness and prostration, on Monday, Nov. 19, 1877, at Broad Oak, Sturminster Newton, with apparently little pain he sank into the sleep of death, aged twenty-seven years. 

During his illness, when his mind wavered, he was sometimes busy in soul-saving meetings, but in his lucid hours he expressed his confidence and hope in Christ. He was taken to his native town, and on Nov. 23, buried in the neat quiet cemetery, in the presence of sorrowing friends.


William was born on 19 June 1850 at Frome, Somerset, to parents Samuel Lapham, a woollen cloth factory worker, and Leah Sutton.

William died on 19 November 1877 at Sturminster Newton, Dorset.


  • 1875 Sturminster


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1879/306

PM Minutes 1878/8

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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