Phelps, Thomas (1852-1924)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1925

Early years

Thomas was born in 1852 at Hungerford, Berkshire to parents George Thomas Phelps and Eleanor Gosling. George was a baker and grocer and was a local preacher for nearly seventy years.

Thomas is identified as working as a baker in the 1871 census. He became a hired local preacher on the neighbouring circuit of Andover at the age of twenty-one.


His obituary records that Thomas was a man of strong individuality, intense conviction and deep and noble passion, he often stood as champion of the poor and the dispossessed against the powers that be.

Thomas deliberately maintained a predominantly rural ministry in some of the most extensive and difficult circuits in southern England. He was particularly remembered as a young minister for an impassioned speech at Conference in support of rural Primitive Methodism.

Thomas served as District Missionary Secretary for fifteen years.

Following superannuation, Thomas moved to Worthing, but then moved to take charge of the Bognor Society. Later, family reasons were behind his move to Purton in Wiltshire.


Thomas married Mary Jane Maslin (1852-1912) in the summer of 1879 at Hungerford, Berkshire. Census returns identify three of four children.

  • Wilfrid Maslin  (1880-1948) – a chemist’s assistant (1911)
  • Grace Eleanor (b1885) – a certificated teacher (1911)
  • Alice Margaret (b1885) – a schoolteacher (1911)

Thomas died on 20 November 1924 at Purton, Wiltshire.


  • 1875 Winchester
  • 1878 Bourton
  • 1879 Salisbury
  • 1883 Brinkworth
  • 1885 Blandford
  • 1888 Sturminster
  • 1892 Witney
  • 1895 Swindon II
  • 1899 Motcombe
  • 1902 Poole
  • 1907 Portsmouth
  • 1910 Redruth
  • 1912 Wolverton
  • 1915 Dartford
  • 1918 Worthing
  • 1921 Worthing (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1912/926; 1912/993 (Mary); 1925/439

PM Minutes 1925/265

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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