Metcalfe, Ernest (1877-1952)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

ERNEST METCALFE: born in 1876; entered the Primitive Methodist ministry from Hartley College in 1903. Born at Eastburn, near Keighley, he served the following circuits: Walthamstow, Redhill, Tranent, Nelson, Wisbech, Saffron Walden (five years), Sowerby Bridge (five years), Whitby (five years), Bolton (Moor Lane), Brighouse and Greetland (four years), Ashton-under-Lyne, and again at Whitby. He settled in Whitby in 1944 and continued to serve the churches eagerly. 

He was a minister much beloved for his gentleness, charm, and gracious manner. His ministry was outstanding in that evangelistic quality that best exercised itself in personal dealings. He led numbers of young people into the Church largely through a fellowship which he held in his own home. His work in various circuits was marked by the building up of the Christian Endeavour Society, out of which he drew young men and women to prepare themselves to be local preachers. 

He was a lover of water-colours and the violin, and brought a whimsical sense of humour to the things of God. He died suddenly at Whitby on December 21, 1952, in the seventy-sixth year of his age and the forty-ninth of his ministry.


Ernest was born on 4 October 1877 at Eastburn, nr Keighley, Yorkshire, to parents James, a wood bobbin turner (1901), and Martha.

Before entering the ministry Ernest worked as an invoice clerk relating to worsted goods (1901).

He married Elizabeth Kirkness (1876-1952). Census returns identify three children.

  • Gladys Kirkness (1908-1997) – married William R Langley in 1943
  • Alan James (1909-1956) – a school teacher (1939)
  • John Richard (1911-1972) – a school teacher (1939)

Ernest died on 21 December 1952 at Whitby, Yorkshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1903 Edinburgh
  • 1904 Walthamstow
  • 1906 Redhill
  • 1907 Trenant
  • 1909 Nelson
  • 1911 Wisbech
  • 1913 Saffron Walden
  • 1918 Sowerby Bridge
  • 1923 Bolsover
  • 1928 Whitby
  • 1933 Bolton
  • 1935 Brighouse &c
  • 1939 Ashton under Lyne
  • 1942 Whitby Church St
  • 1944 Whitby (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 1953/137

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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