Portnell, Charles (1839-1904)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1906

Early years

Charles was born on 18 February 1839 at Zeals, Wiltshire, to parents William Portnell and Rachel Parfitt. His parents and grandparents were Primitive Methodists. William was a thatcher.

When orphaned in childhood, Charles was adopted by his uncle, Mr Benjamin Parfitt. Charles was converted at a Sunday school prayer meeting in the Gillingham Chapel when he was fifteen years of age. He received his trial ticket on 18 November 1854 by Rev G Obern.


His ministry was chiefly spent in rural districts, and was one of hard work, but he delighted in it. He was a good pastor, visiting thirty to forty families per week, and seldom left without prayer.

His preaching was plain, but forceful, and hearers were interested and helped by the quaint manner in which his thoughts were expressed.


Charles married Mary Sarah Phillips (1847-1884) in the spring of 1868 at Sturminster, Dorset. Census returns identify six children.

  • Bertram Benjamin Parfitt (1869-1927) – a PM Minister
  • Florence Mary Phillips (1872-1883)
  • William Charles (1874-1888)
  • Lily Blanche (1878-1953) – married Albert William Hall, a medical practitioner, in 1911
  • Bessie Maud (1880-1946) -married Francis James Collett Dyer, a PM Minister
  • Elsie Laura (1882-1961)  – married William Bridge, a PM Minister, in 1926

Charles married Martha Ann Perman (abt 1840-1924) in the summer of 1886 at Christchurch, Hampshire.

Charles died on 7 October 1904 at Pokesdown, nr Bournemouth.


  • 1860 Banbury
  • 1861 Winchester
  • 1863 Brinkworth
  • 1986 Andover
  • 1866 Sturminster
  • 1868 Basingstoke
  • 1870 Salisbury
  • 1873 Malmesbury
  • 1877 Poole
  • 1880 Winchester
  • 1883 Basingstoke
  • 1886 Micheldever
  • 1888 Motcombe
  • 1890 Portsmouth
  • 1892 Silchester
  • 1897 Calne
  • 1900 Hungerford
  • 1903 Bournemouth (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1906/152

PM Minutes 1905/27

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


Transcription of Obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine 1906. Added October 2018.

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