Leadley, James (1826-1907)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by Samuel Bates

JAMES LEADLEY.—Rev. J. Leadley was translated to the ‘Better Land’ on Thursday, December 12th, 1907, in his eighty-first year. He left his home early in the afternoon of that day in his usual health, and while conversing with two of our church members at Ravensthorpe, he was seized with an acute pain, and passed peacefully away. 

He was born at Patrington, Yorks, on July 22nd, 1826. While he was still young, his mother was left a widow with seven boys, all of whom attended the Primitive Methodist chapel in the village. His gifts and devotion were soon recognised; he became a diligent worker in the Lord’s service, and his name apeared on the circuit plan as a local preacher. But by the general acceptability of his preaching, and his qualities of mind and heart, he was marked out for the wider sphere of the active ministry, which he entered at the early age of twenty-one in 1847. 

He laboured with much acceptance and success in the Ripon, Pontefract, and York circuits. At York he was the colleague of the Rev. Jeremiah Dodsworth, whose saintly character, Christian fellowship, and inspiring ministry had an enriching influence upon Brother Leadley to the end of his days, and was one of the most cherished memories of his life. It was always an intense joy to him to speak of the times of refreshing and spiritual blessing he had in those early days. 

In 1854 he was compelled to resign the active work of the ministry on account of a throat affection. He afterwards started in business at Skipton, then at Knaresborough, Keighley, and, finally, at Dewsbury. At the latter place, in addition to following his secular employment, he did some of the best work of his life. He rendered very acceptable and valuable service in the Dewsbury and surrounding circuits, frequently preaching, and seizing many other opportunities of advancing the Master’s Kingdom. In the Dewsbury Station he was ‘in labours abundant,’ and rendered long and faithful service as class leader, Sunday School superintendent, trustee, and circuit steward, which office he held nearly up to the time of his death. 

He was regular in attendance at the means of grace and the Sabbath services, and his interest in the welfare of the connexion was deep, and sustained to the last. In his business as a draper he was very prosperous for some years, and thus he was enabled to give considerable financial assistance to the circuit and the connexional institutions. Only a short time before his death he promised to give £10 to the Centenary Fund, and to open the Christmas bazaar in the church of which he was a member—both of which promises were honoured by his family.

On the Sunday evening, before he passed away, he assisted in conducting the Communion Service at Wellington Road church, and when the writer was urging the young men to renewed consecration to God, and remarked that Brother Leadley and others who had long borne the burden and the heat of the day, would soon be gone to the ‘Home Eternal,’ he said, in a tone of joyful triumph, ‘And it won’t be long.’ It was not long. With so many years of useful and successful Christian service behind him, and a rich spiritual experience, he was ready for the call of his Divine Master. ‘And now he rests from his labours, and his works follow him.’ 

On December 16th his body was laid to rest in the Dewsbury Cemetery. Mr. Leadley leaves two sons and one daughter, to cherish a fragrant memory.

‘Servant of God, well done !
Rest from thy loved employ !
The battle fought, the victory won,
Enter thy Master’s joy.’


James was born on 22 July 1826 at Patrington, Yorkshire, to parents John and Hannah. He was baptised on 1 August 1826 at Patrington.

Census returns identify the following occupations for James.

  • 1851 PM minister
  • 1861 superannuated PM minister
  • 1871 draper
  • 1881 draper
  • 1901 superannuated PM minister

He married Maria Suddaby (1823-1905)  in the spring of 1854 at Keyingham, Yorkshire. Census returns identify three children.

  • Hannah Maria (b abt1856) – married Walton Batley, a professor of music, in 1884            
  • James William (b1858) – not identified after 1861 census return                 
  • Louis (Lewis) Henry (1865-1943) – scholar at Elmfield College (1881); a secondary school teacher (1911)

James died on 12 December 1907 at Ravensthorpe, Yorkshire.


  • 1849 York
  • 1850 Ripon
  • 1852 Pateley Bridge
  • 1853 Silsden
  • 1855 Ripon (S)
  • 1857 Keighley
  • 1869 Leeds III
  • 1874 Dewsbury


PM Minutes 1908/17

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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