Marsh, Arthur John (1882-1971)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

ARTHUR JOHN MARSH: born in Cambridge in 1882 was a pastor of devotion and a scholar of great insight. He won a scholarship to Perse School, Cambridge and served as District Evangelist before entering the Primitive Methodist ministry. At Hartley College it was originally intended that he should take a medical course and become a medical missionary, but, under the influence of Dr. Peake, he did pioneer work in Ancoats and this shaped his future ministry. 

He left college in 1910 and went to Sleaford and thereafter served in Thetford, Sheffield (Peter Street), Staithes, Soham, Easingwold, Kingsley and Frodsham, Northwich (Bourne), Manchester (Stretford), Oldham (Middleton Road), Stalybridge (Canal Street), retiring in 1946 to Lytham St. Annes. 

He went where the need was greatest, serving in one circuit for a quarter without stipend, until the work was better established. On another occasion he left a thriving circuit after two years to help another circuit in great difficulty, where he remained, to their great benefit, for seven years. Always a great reader, philosophy and theology were his special subjects, although he did not confine himself to them. He loved to gather a group of young men to explore the faith. 

In a long retirement he and his wife achieved a remarkable place in the affections of the members of the local church. Free now to devote himself to reading, he rose early to miss no opportunity being unable to understand why any man should allow his mind to rust. He continued to discuss with any who would and helped to found the Blackpool Theological Study Circle. His theological acumen remained unimpaired, the current issue of the Cambridge Religious Studies was open on his desk when he died, quietly, in his sleep, only six weeks after his wife, on 7th July, 1971, in the ninetieth year of his age and the sixty-first of his ministry.


Arthur was born on 21 February 1882 at Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, to parents Arthur Marsh, a painter and paper hanger (1891), and Caroline Jackson Bidwell. Brothers Henry and Herbert also became PM ministers.

He married Mabel Crossley (1890-1971) in the spring of 1916 at Rotherham, Yorkshire. Birth records identify two children.

  • Arthur Ronald (1917-1995) – a school teacher (1939)
  • Phylis Mabel (1918-1991) – a school teacher (1939); married Edmund Taylor in 1948

Arthur died on 7 July 1971 at Lytham St Annes, Lancashire.


  • Hartley
  • 1910 Sleaford
  • 1912 Thetford
  • 1914 Sheffield III
  • 1918 Staithes
  • 1921 Soham
  • 1927 Easingwold
  • 1928 Kingsley
  • 1932 Northwich
  • 1935 Manchester Stratford
  • 1937 Oldham Midd Rd
  • 1944 Stalybridge Canal
  • 1946 Lytham (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 1971/192

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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