Milson, Clowes Garner (1857-1931)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by J.W.E.

Clowes Garner Milson was a son of the Manse, and was born at Brigg in 1857. His father, Rev. Parkinson Milson, was one of the most renowned ministers of the Hull District, whose life breathed a holy fragrance, and revealed the ardour of a flaming evangelism. No greater soul ever laboured in the Hull District than Parkinson Milson, and though his manse might be meagre of material means, yet it was rich beyond measure in ideal values. His example in the home was one of supreme devotion to Christ and passion for souls.

In such an atmosphere Clowes Garner grew to manhood, receiving early impressions which matured into a call to the Ministry. Though not so gifted as his father, yet he exercised a quiet effective ministry for thirty-seven years. He began his probation in 1883, at Bury St, Edmunds and completed it at Bury, Lancs. His subsequent Circuits included Barton-on-Humber (twice), Donnington (twice), Penton Stand, Hadnall, Howden, Old Leak, Leintwardine, Bury 2nd (second term), and Saffron Walden. Most of these were wide country Circuits with long journeys and small congregations. But he exercised a plodding, evangelistic ministry, giving his best for the edification of his churches, and conscientiously attending to pastoral visitation and Circuit administration, A consistent Gospel preacher, he embodied in his life the truth which he taught with the certitude of conviction, He was a friend to the poor, and a missionary to gypsies—among whom he found a hearty welcome. He loved the cause of Missions, and contributed generously to it. He won the love and trust of his people by his pure Christian character and devoted service,

Milson was naturally reserved and introspective, and these characteristics were intensified by defective eye-sight which supervened in his early ministry. But to those who came to know him intimately he was genial, fraternal, and communicative. He lived in communion with Christ, and witnessed for God both as preacher and teacher. While he was a man of “The Book,” he was a fairly wide reader, acquainted with the Classics, a great lover of nature and always made himself familiar with the local history of the places where he resided. But his chief joy was in devotional literature which stirred his soul, enthused endeavour, and aided holy living. He was fond of poetry and music—a musician and singer of no mean order, and revelled in singing the hymns of our great evangel.

His home life was particularly happy. His wife (formerly Miss Emma Leadley) was a choice spirit and a brave helper in his Circuit work, and a true mother to their two daughters. After his superannuation in 1920, he located at Hull, subsequently living at Bridlington and Grimsby. In 1929 he returned to Saffron Walden, the last Circuit of his active ministry, in all three places rendering such service as he was able. For some months previous to his death on February 8th, 1932, his health was impaired. Unfortunately his wife had to enter a nursing home for an operation, but returned to her home a few weeks before the parting came, during which they were privileged to take some short walks together. The end came with tragic suddenness. He was at breakfast when the call came for him to go home to God. The interment took place at Cherry Hinton Churchyard, near Cambridge, the service being conducted by Mr. Milson’s friend, Dr. H.L. Hughes, assisted by the Vicar, Rev. H. Walker, M.A. The representative of the General Committee was Rev. J.W. Everingham, an intimate friend of the deceased and his family. “Now the labourer’s task is o’er,” Mr. Milson’s favourite funeral hymn, was sung at the service.

He is not dead; but he has passed
Beyond the mists that blind us here,
Into the new and larger life
Of that serener sphere
Where Christ is.


Clowes was born late 1857 at Brigg, Lincolnshire, to parents Parkinson Milson, a PM minister, and Jane Southern.

Between 1874 and 1877, Clowes worked for the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway Company in an office role.

He married Emma Fairweather Leadley (1859-1956) in the summer of 1889 in he Sculcoates Registration District, Yorkshire. Census returns identify two of three children.

  • Emma Fairweather (1894-1953) – a school teacher
  • Jennie (1896-1948) – married Harold John Pye, a company director, in 1927

Clowes died on 8 February 1932 at Saffron Walden, Essex.


  • 1883 Bury St Edmunds
  • 1884 Ipswich
  • 1885 Bury
  • 1887 Paisley
  • 1888 North Cave
  • 1889 Patrington
  • 1890 Barton on Humber
  • 1893 Donington
  • 1896 Keaton Strand
  • 1901 Hadnall
  • 1902 Howden
  • 1905 Barton on Humber
  • 1908 Donington
  • 1911 Leake
  • 1913 Hay
  • 1914 Leintwardine
  • 1916 Bury II
  • 1918 Saffron Walden
  • 1920 Hull (Sup)


PM Minutes 1932/325

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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