Maw, William (1821-1848)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by George Welbourn

WILLIAM MAW was born at Hessle, in Yorkshire, on August 26th, 1821. When about three years of age, death deprived him of his father, and he and five other children were left to the care of his widowed mother, who still survives to feel the repeated visitations of an afflictive but wise Providence. From the papers left by our deceased brother, I find that in early life he had been a subject of keen convictions, and had often purposed to serve God. Being a constant, attender on our ministry, the Holy Spirit gradually enlightened his mind until August, 1838, when he ceased his work in a field to engage in fervent supplication for mercy; and the Lord blessed him with the forgiveness of his sins.

One day, awhile after this event, he was impressed with the ideas that the congregation with whom he worshipped would be disappointed of the appointed preacher, and that he must deliver an exhortation. The struggle which ensued was distressing. For awhile he hoped the preacher would be present: then he feared the task of addressing the, people would devolve upon himself. He repaired to the chapel at the usual hour; but the preacher came not. Great as the cross of addressing the large congregation appeared to be, he nevertheless resolved to take it up, rather than allow the people to disassemble without a public service. Accordingly, he told them of the ideas which had agitated his mind, and then urged them to prepare to meet God. Afterwards two other persons delivered addresses, and in the prayer-meeting which followed, three or four penitents found redemption. Might he not, then, with propriety say, “Necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel?” In a few months hence, he was appointed to fill the office of a local-preacher; and for four years he laboured with success in this capacity, being instrumental in the conversion of his mother and about nineteen other persons.

In August, 1844, he entered the itineracy in the Otley circuit, where he laboured with acceptability and usefulness until the midsummer following. He was next stationed for two years in the Leeds circuit; and here the Lord rendered him useful in the conversion of sinners. By the Conference of 1847, he was removed to the Pontefract circuit; and soon after his arrival, an abscess appeared on the left side of his back, and rendered him unable to attend his appointments for a few days. Whilst this was discharging, another appeared on the contrary side of his back; so that in February last he was obliged finally to cease preaching. For awhile he was wishful to recover, that he might continue to point the unsaved to the Lamb of God; but when apprised of his approaching dissolution, he became fully resigned to the Divine will.

I saw him a week before the vital spark fled, and was happy to find that he had become so familiar with the solemnities of death, that he could converse about them with composure and joyous anticipation. I asked him in what light his past life appeared to him; and, feeling his unprofitableness, he shook his head, and said, “I dare not look back for a resting point; but with joy I can look unto Jesus, and there find that all is well.” Thus was boasting excluded, and the Redeemer, in his mediatorial work, exalted. However, I am happy to say that about sixty souls have been brought to God by our brother’s agency as an itinerant preacher, and that in each of the circuits in which he was stationed he was much beloved. His acute sufferings closed on September 8th, 1848; and now he is for ever with the Lord. Let us, dear readers, give all diligence to make our calling and election sure; for then “an entrance shall be ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”


William was born on 26 August 1821 at Hessle, Yorkshire, to parents John and Ann. He was baptised on 4 September 1821 at Hessle by Hull.

William died on 8 September 1848 at Hessle, Yorkshire. He was buried on 10 September at Hessle.


  • 1845 Leeds
  • 1847 Pontefract


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1848/705

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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