Purdy, Fred(erick) (1903-1968)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

FRED PURDY: born in Morpeth, Northumberland in 1903. He had an early love of football and it was through playing football for a Primitive Methodist church that he was drawn into its full life. Within the church, in due time, he received a call to the ministry. Family responsibilities, however, made it impossible for him to enter college at that time. It was only after some years that he was able to begin training at Hartley College and in 1931 he became the probationer minister at Wymondham. He then served in Hornsea, Market Place, Hull, St George’s Road, Gateshead East, Hexham, Stanley, Consett, Alston, Coatbridge, Airdrie and Armadale circuits. He was Superintendent of the last four circuits. 

His humble origins gave him an affinity with ordinary people, for whom he had a deep interest and love, and this was the secret of his most effective pastoral work. He had a keen and quick intellect and constantly sought to complete the education which he had missed at the beginning due to leaving school early. The result was that he was no mean scholar of the Bible, he read much, and had an astonishingly wide knowledge of the arts, particularly poetry. His ever active mind channelled all knowledge to the preaching of the Word of God. Each sermon was carefully prepared and was itself a work of art and this made his preaching not just powerful but glorious. 

He was a man who felt things deeply and yet one who would not often show his feelings. His leadership was strong, yet never dominating. He was a man whose presence inspired confidence and faith. He captured the affection of all by his cheerfulness and homeliness, and he reflected the radiance of the Master whom he served. To his people he was a pillar of strength, to his young colleagues in the ministry he was a father. 

He died quite suddenly and unexpectedly during the active work of the ministry on 3 June 1968, in the sixty-fourth year of his age and the thirty-seventh of his ministry.


Fred was born on 17 June 1903 at Morpeth, Northumberland, to parents John William Purdy, a boot repairer (1911), and Margaret Eleanor Jewitt.

The 1921 census return records Fred working as a grocer’s assistant.

He married Doris Lilian Leeds (6/4/1904-2000) in the summer of 1935 in the Mitford Registration District, Norfolk. Birth records identify three children.

  • John (b1938)
  • Janet (b1943)
  • Margaret (b1946)

Fred died on 3 June 1968.


  • Hartley
  • 1931 Wymondham
  • 1935 Hornsea
  • 1940 Hull St Georges Rd
  • 1944 Gateshead East
  • 1949 Hexham
  • 1953 Stanley
  • 1960 Consett
  • 1965 Alston
  • 1967 Coatbridge


Methodist Minutes 1968/199

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • Jane,

    You may be able to find out more about Fred’s early life in the church in records of Ashington PM Circuit, held in Northumberland Archives, or records of the Morpeth PM Church, also in the Northumberland Archives. If they have any preaching plans you may be able to deduce when he started to preach.
    I have added some information about Fred’s occupation before entering the ministry from the 1921 census.

    By Geoff Dickinson (31/07/2023)
  • This was my great grandfather! How can I find out more about him?

    By Jane Beniston (30/07/2023)

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