Portnell, Bertram Benjamin Parfitt (1869-1927)

Early years

Bertram was born in 1869 at North Waltham, Hampshire, to parents Charles Portnell and Mary Sarah Phillips.  Charles was a PM Minister.


Whilst at Poplar as a probationer, Bertram became a student at New College.

Whilst in Kent, Bertram was active in his opposition to Mr Balfour’s Education Act, and as a consequence was honoured with a period in gaol as a Passive Resistor.

At Poplar, in 1912, there was considerable distress in consequence of a great dock strike. Bertam was instrumental in distributing the relief funds of two London newspapers, redeeming goods pawned, feeding hungry children, issuing food tickets, giving away old clothes and supplying barefooted lads with new boots; whilst continuing to manage the ‘ordinary’ work of the Church.

Bertram had a strong and unique personality. His capacity for friendship was outstanding. He seemed intimate with everybody who were sick and poor. A real shepherd of souls, no hour was too late or distance too great for his ministry.


Bertram married Annie Hunter (1877-1954) in the summer of 1898 at Polar, London. Census returns identify two daughters.

  • Hilda Mary (b1899) – a nurse; married Edwin T S Lloyd in 1926; emigrated to New Zealand in 1928
  • Winifred Joan (1903-1985) – married Alan Hunter in 1937

Bertram died on 2 September 1927 at Bournemouth, Dorset.


  • 1894 Poplar
  • 1896 Biggleswade
  • 1900 Calne
  • 1904 Ramsgate
  • 1907 Maidstone
  • 1910 Poplar
  • 1916 Stafford
  • 1920 Crewe
  • 1924 Pontefract


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1923/776; 1928/553

PM Minutes 1928/269

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.