Oates, Stephen (1836-1891)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1890

Early years

Stephen was born on 12 November 1836 at Burringham, Lincolnshire to parents George Oates and Arabella Johnston. His father was a farmer who did not profess any religion. His mother was a Wesleyan. Stephen was one of a large family of sons, several of whom became local preachers.

He was converted, aged 18, during a revival in the village and joined the Primitive Methodists. After six months he started to take appointments on the plan.

Stephen served an apprenticeship as a tailor within his village. At the close of his apprenticeship, Stephen moved to Brigg and in 1859 was recommended for the ministry.


Stephen’s first appointment was to Market Rasen to replace Rev George Grey, who went to Australia as a missionary. During his second appointment to Market Rasen a beautiful church was built at a cost of £650 – fully funded.

The 1890 biography records that Stephen possessed a good library, which he used wisely and well. His sermons were carefully prepared, while his delivery was free and unfettered. He had no taste for learned or metaphysical discourses, but delighted in dealing with the great and simple truths of the Gospel, and was always at home when treating the parables and narratives of the Evangelists and the historical portions of Holy Scriptures.

Stephen’s obituary records that he was of a friendly disposition and generous to a fault. His wise counsel and willingness to assist all who needed help won for him many friends. He assiduously attended to the spiritual and financial state of his circuits.


Stephen married Jane Todd (1836-1880) on 1 September 1863 at Glanford Brigg, Lincolnshire. Census returns identify three children.

  • Cleophas Henry (1865-1949) – a chemical manufacturer (1911)
  • Walter Thomas (1870-1949) – a draper’s assistant (1911)
  • Frederick Charles (1873-1900)

Stephen married Mary Ellen Jackson (1852-1927) in late 1882 at Goole, Yorkshire. Census returns identify two children.

  • Arthur Jackson (1884-1977) – a house builder (1911)
  • Sidney Ernest (b1890) – a library assistant (1911)

Stephen died on 5 November 1891 at Bedworth, Warwickshire.


  • 1859 Market Rasen
  • 1860 Doncaster
  • 1861 Patrington
  • 1863 Pocklington
  • 1865 Retford
  • 1866 Filey
  • 1868 Swinefleet
  • 1870 Driffield
  • 1873 Louth
  • 1876 Market Rasen
  • 1880 Howden
  • 1883 Patrington
  • 1886 Filey
  • 1889 Hornsea
  • 1891 Coventry (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1881/179 (Jane); 1890/193

PM Minutes 1892/19

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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