Ridley, John Thomas (1875-1948)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1930

Early years

John was born in 1875 at Prudhoe, Northumberland, to parents Thomas and Dorothy. Thomas was a bootmaker. John’s father and grandfather were both local preachers.

John became a local preacher early in life and was recommended for the ministry before he was twenty. Ripon circuit called him to serve as a lay agent. From Ripon, the young evangelist went for a term to Elmfield College before entering Hartley College in 1899.


John spent his probation in the Manchester XI circuit (Unsworth), where the work was difficult but the test was met. However, overwork induced a long illness.

Throughout his ministry John laboured under the disability of a deafness which in his college days troubled him and rapidly increased. This thorn in his flesh, however, was not allowed to stand in the way of the work to which he knew God had called him.

His particular genius, though he served in many town churches, was for the building up of country causes and the creation of new churches, often in places which others had thought to be barren soil. This genius was perhaps nowhere more clearly demonstrated than in the ten years he spent at Chatham, The real reason for his success was his unremitting zeal as a pastor. He was much beloved by his people and a welcome visitor in their homes, where his gentleness and cheerfulness were always a source of great encouragement.

On becoming a supernumerary in 1943, he undertook for four years the pastoral charge at Box in the Bath circuit.


John married Isabella Ann Bell (1873-1960) in the summer of 1905 in the Tynemouth Registration District, Northumberland. Birth Records identify three children.

  • Elisabeth Ellen (b1910) – a nurse; married Ernest George Young, a PM minister, in 1932
  • John Roseau (b1911) – a bank clerk (1960)
  • Dorothy Bell (1912-1994)

John died on 17 July 1948 at Watford, Hertfordshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1901 Unsworth
  • 1907 Hexham
  • 1911 Bradfield
  • 1917 Chatham
  • 1927 Winchester
  • 1933 Hull Holderness Rd
  • 1939 Redruth
  • 1943 Bath (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1930/375

Methodist Minutes 1948/146

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • So thrilled to see this article on my Grandfather

    By Linda Liddiard nee Ridley (22/03/2015)

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