Mallalieu, William (1823-1896)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by Joseph F. Sherman

WILLIAM MALLALIEU was born at Spring Mill, Booth Dean, in the parish of Rishworth, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, March 2nd, 1823. He was sent to the Baptist school when he was five years of age. A year afterwards he and his brother began to attend the Wesleyan Sunday school at Stones, near Rippenden. After a time they were both converted, and became Sunday school teachers and local preachers. In 1846 Mr. Mallalieu removed to Manchester. His services as a local preacher were so acceptable that he was recommended by his circuit for the Wesleyan ministry. That year there was a superabundance of candidates and there was no opening for him and several others. His superintendent minister was a large-hearted man, and being persuaded that the ministry was the work to which God had called our friend, and hearing that our church was in want of ministers, recommended him to our connexional authorities, through the late Rev. G. Stansfield. 

He was accepted and sent to Whitby in Yorkshire; but owing to a variety of circumstances over which he and the circuit had no control he returned in a few months to Manchester, where he became a local preacher in the second circuit. He subsequently laboured as a hired local preacher at Knowlwood, Runcorn, Northwich, and in Manchester Second. After this the Manchester District authorities invited him to make application to re-enter the ministry, and in 1872 he was stationed at Bolton, where he remained two years, and afterwards travelled in Manchester Third, Warrington and Widnes, Blackpool, Bacup, St. Austell, and Skelmersdale. He was superannuated at the Conference of 1890, and resided at Blackpool, where he was, as in other places, the most dearly loved by those who knew him best. 

He was a thorough Christian, transparent, frank, and free from all duplicity, and lived and worked with God. His sermons were striking and quaint, and hard to forget. It was no unusual thing when visitors were making enquiry about him to say, ‘We remember hearing him preach so many years ago, and the text was’—generally some strange text. Nor were these strange texts chosen, and these quaint things said to provoke a smile. There was nothing strained about his wit, it came bubbling up out of the well-spring of his nature. It was not manufactured, it was natural. The faculty of wit that God had blessed him with was regarded by him as a talent to be consecrated and used in the service of the Lord. In his last hours the same characteristic was still manifested. 

A day or two before his departure, when he found it difficult to talk much, with his face all aglow with the light of heaven he spoke of the preciousness of Christ, and as I parted from him for the last time, holding his hand in mine, I said, ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me,’ but I got no farther with the quotation, for his ready wit, even when his feet were in the Jordan, did not fail him, for he interjected, ‘Yes, all that is within me and outside of me too.’ What a charm there was in those prayers of his, so simple, so striking, just the outpouring of a child’s heart, into the ears of a loving Father in heaven. 

For some time past, it was only too evident that our dear friend’s journey was almost finished, and that we should all too soon have to lose him from the church on earth. For although since his settling down at Blackpool, the state of his health forbade him taking an active part in the work of the church, yet a look on that face did the heart good, for it was illuminated with ‘a light that never shone on sea or land.’ It was lighted with the radiance of a Saviour’s love, and a talk with him about the best things was an inspiration. Calmly and peacefully he fell asleep in Jesus March 28th, 1896. His departure was in harmony with his life, for he had a calm trust in Christ. What more befitting than that Elijah, the ‘Man of Fire,’ the ‘Prophet of Fire,’ should be taken home in a chariot of fire, and with equal appropriateness was the nature of our brother’s departure. He was interred in West Houghton cemetery, April 1st, the Revs. Wilshaw, Yearsley, Maylott, W. Graham, J. F. Sherman, J. Graham, and J. Travis taking part in the ceremony, the last named—one of his longest and best friends—preaching his funeral sermon at Daisy Hill on Thursday, April 17. His memory will be cherished for long to come, ‘for he was a good man.’


William was born on 2 March 1823 at Spring Mill, Rishworth, Yorkshire, to parents James, a cotton overlooker (1841), and Sarah.

The 1841 census return records William as a cotton spinner. The 1871 census return records William as an ironmonger. I have not been able to locate William in 1851 or 1861.

He married Jane Horsfall (abt1821-1868 on 27 August 1852. Census returns identify one child. 

  • Annie (b abt1857)

He married Ellen Aspinall (abt1838-1926) on 6 July 1876 in the Bolton Registration District, Lancashire.

William died on 28 March 1896 at Blackpool, Lancashire.


  • 1872 Bolton
  • 1874 Manchester III
  • 1876 Preston Brook
  • 1879 Warrington
  • 1880 Blackpool
  • 1884 Bacup
  • 1887 St Austell
  • 1888 Skelmersdale
  • 1890 Blackpool (S)


PM Minutes 1896/27

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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