Musson, William John (1880-1966)

Christian Messenger 1910

Early years

William was born in 1880 at Leicester, Leicestershire, to parents John William and Anna. John was a printer compositor.

In 1899 he took First Aid training and went with the St John Ambulance Brigade attached to RAMC to the South African War. He returned to Leicester in 1901 and was accepted for the Primitive Methodist Ministry in 1903 and entered Hartley College.


In the first World War he served as chaplain to the forces in France and Germany. He retired from the active ministry in 1935 but served as an active supernumerary at Birkenhead in 1940 and returned to the full work in Liverpool in 1941 for five years, and followed this with a year as active supernumerary in the Bebington Circuit, including the chaplaincy to four Liverpool hospitals.

In Bournemouth he served as Chairman of the District, and was a frequent broadcaster and had the responsibility of arranging all Free Church broadcasting in that area.

He was keenly interested in social questions and at Kiveton Park he was a member of the Parish Council and the R.D.C. Education Committee. He was a strong temperance advocate and made successful appearances at Licensing Sessions in Clacton and Southend. At Southend he was President of the local temperance council, a member of the Civic Guild of Help and a life governor of Southend General Hospital. He served on a number of occasions as secretary or president of local Free Church Councils.

He was a staunch supporter of nonconformist principles and had been opposed to Methodist Union but loyally accepted the situation when Union took place. He was a man of deep convictions and was quite fearless in his expression of them. His preaching was both evangelical and topical and he most effectively proclaimed the saving grace of God for all men. In his work as chaplain to the forces especially he had the joy of seeing large numbers of men turn to Christ as their Saviour. His early ambulance work in South Africa and as chaplain to the forces equipped him with a special appeal to men, and his understanding of both their strength and their weakness enabled him to exercise a most gracious pastoral ministry in his circuits and hospital chaplaincies.

In college and probation he showed very considerable academic ability and he kept an alert mind through all his long ministry. He had a great interest in sport and this also brought him into easy friendly relations with his fellow men. His life and ministry were outstanding for their combination of strongly held convictions with a genial disposition, brotherliness and love for his fellow men; all of which sprang from his own love and close companionship with his own Lord and Saviour. He was active in preaching, caring for the people and the administrative affairs of the Church until the last few weeks of his life.


William married Edith Mary Birchenough (1888-1963) in the summer of 1909 in the Pottersbury Registration District, Northamptonshire. Edith was the daughter of Rev. Albert Alan Birchenough. Census returns and birth records identify six children.

  • John Albert William (1910-1994)
  • Gwendoline Edith (1912-2004) – married Sidney W Felts in 1939
  • Ernest R (1913-1913)
  • Constance Mary (1915-1987)
  • Roy Francis C (1918-1981)
  • Margaret J (1921-1921)

William died on 5 July 1966 at Rochford Hospital, Southend-on-Sea, Essex.


  • Hartley
  • 1905 Shrewsbury
  • 1907 Liverpool I
  • 1909 Yarmouth
  • 1911 Kiveton Park
  • 1915 Chesterfield II
  • 1916 Chaplain H.M Forces
  • 1920 Retired
  • 1922 Birmingham V
  • 1923 Newton & Hyde
  • 1925 Bournemouth I
  • 1929 Clacton
  • 1935 Southend (S)
  • 1941 Liverpool Cen (Ac)
  • 1946 Bebington (S)


PM Minutes 1967/177

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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