Markham, Wilfrid Elior M.B.E. (1910-1992)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

WILFRID EBOR MARKHAM: born in York on 16th February 1910, the son of Anglican parents. The family later moved to Saltburn, and became active members of the Primitive Methodist church. Following a private education, he worked on his uncle’s farm, but at an early age was invited by his Minister to consider the Ministry. He was trained at Hartley Victoria College, being the youngest student at the time; then in 1933 aged 23 years he was posted to the Spanish Colony of Fernando Po, where he spent the whole of his active ministry. 

A fluent Spanish speaker, he combined his preaching and pastoral Ministry with a teaching post at the Mission School at Santa Isabel, the island’s capital. He endured difficult times during the Spanish Civil War, and during the Second World War continued his missionary work, becoming Chaplain to Anglican and Church of Scotland congregations in addition to his Methodist work. He served British interests in the island and in 1961 was awarded an M.B.E. for his services to the community. 

In 1948 Wilfrid married Marion (Marie), a childhood friend, and they have one daughter Vicki. 

About this time he began a re-building programme, including a new Church, Manse, School and out buildings at Santa Isabel, and restoration of the out-stations; a task completed by 1963. The work flourished and Sunday worship at Santa Isabel was conducted in six different languages. Thirty years of incessant labour in an unhealthy tropical climate, sometimes accompanied by harassment and physical abuse, forced his return home in 1963, suffering from river blindness. He and his family settled in Saltburn. 

In 1966, a Dictator named Macias gained control of Fernando Po. Foreign nationals fled, and those who opposed him were brutally murdered, the main Methodist Church became an arsenal, and Methodist work was virtually destroyed. The news led to a further breakdown in Wilfrid’s health and he later suffered several strokes. Recent news from Fernando Po (now re-named Bioko) including the re-opening of the Santa Isabel Church and the appointment of a new Minister, brought encouragement to Wilfrid and Marie. 

He entered a Nursing Home near York, where he died peacefully, on 3rd November 1992, in the eighty-third year of his age, and the sixtieth year of his ministry.


Wilfrid was born on 16 February 1910 at York, Yorkshire, to parents Harold Markham , a railway goods clerk (1911), and Mabel Helen Lowcock.

He married Marion Moore in late 1948 in the Cleveland Registration District, Yorkshire.

Wilfrid died on 3 November 1992 at York, Yorkshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1933 Fernando Po
  • 1939 E Nigeria
  • 1963 Nigeria Conf
  • 1964 Mission Committee
  • 1965 Saltburn (S)


Methodist Minutes 1993/47

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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