Parrish, John Freshney (1836-1902)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1887
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1903

Early years

John was born on 12 February 1836 at Theddlethorpe, Lincolnshire to parents William Parrish and Ann Freshney. William was a shoemaker.

As a child John attended Established Church services, and for a time, was a choirboy. The breaking of his voice led him to be free to attend services at the PM Chapel. He attributed his conversion to the labours of Parkinson Milson. John was essentially self-taught following his conversion. He was soon a local preacher and within two years went to Scarborough as a hired local preacher.

In 1851 John was working as a farm labourer.


Most of John’s ministry was within the West Riding of Yorkshire. When in the prime of his life, John was often immersed in building schemes or debt reduction work.

For years he was District Building Secretary. As an administrator he excelled, his knowledge of Connexional law and usage gave him the position of an expert amongst his brethren.

His obituary records that John was one of those brave and judicious men who, in our transition from the older to the newer primitive Methodism, gave steadiness and tone to the movement, and by the intelligence, tact and fine temper of Mr Parrish and kindred spirits, there has come to our community many important reforms without any serious eruption.


John married Elizabeth Saddler (1838-1878) on 18 October 1860 at Aysgarth, Yorkshire. Census returns identify six children.

  • Charles Freshney (1862-1947) – a watchmaker & jeweller, later a cycle and motor agent
  • John Bywell (1864-1923) – a schoolteacher
  • James Sadler (1866-1953) – a commercial traveller
  • Annie Jane (1868-1934) – married Albert Rawnsley, an insurance agent; later married Abraham Kendall
  • Eleanor Fanny (1871-1949)
  • William Henry (1875-1952) – a watchmaker and jeweller

Following the death of his wife, John’s sister kept house for him for 20 years.

John died on 4 January 1902 at Keighley, Yorkshire.


  • 1858 Middleham
  • 1861 Barnsley
  • 1863 Hoyland
  • 1864 York
  • 1866 Dewsbury
  • 1869 Leeds l
  • 1873 Leeds lV
  • 1877 Silsden
  • 1881 Bradford l
  • 1884 Shipley
  • 1890 Keighley l
  • 1895 Keighley ll
  • 1900 Keighley (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1879/242 (Elizabeth); 1887 (portrait); 1903/402

PM World 1900/610

PM Minutes 1902/23

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 1, p449

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


Comments about this page

  • This page was modified on 27 September 2017 to add a transcription of John’s obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine, 1903.

    By Geoff Dickinson (27/09/2017)

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