Rose, William (1893-1975)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

William Rose: born on 9th June 1893 into a family of Primitive Methodists. His father, a local preacher in the Andover Circuit, had not been able because of straitened circumstances, to realise his own ambition of entering the ministry. Instead he made it his constant prayer that his son should become a Methodist minister. It was not surprising therefore that the call to the ministry should come eventually to young William and that he should make an immediate response. 

He began by offering himself. as a ‘hired local preacher’ in the Clun Circuit in rural Shropshire. From there he moved to other places: South Devon, industrial South Wales, and Shotton Colliery, Co. Durham. In each place he gained valuable experience which prepared him for the exercise of a remarkable ministry later. 

After a pre-collegiate year in the Thornley Circuit he entered Hartley College, and there he brought to his studies an eager mind and a sensitive heart. He took full advantage of the rigorous training and was ready to meet the challenge of his first post-collegiate appointment—as colleague to Thomas Jackson at the Whitechapel Mission in London. Three years in the Chinnor Circuit followed and then began a notable ministry in the Haverhill Circuit which lasted for thirty-three years. 

The move to Haverhill was accompanied by a deep personal tragedy in the death of his fiancée but he never allowed this experience to embitter his heart, although he never subsequently married. Indeed, he threw himself the more into the work and an added depth was manifest in his preaching and his pastoral concern. His superintendency of the circuit embraced the war years during which he became beloved of many airmen passing through R.A.F. Stradishall where he served as an officiating chaplain. 

In 1959 he retired from the active work after a long and fruitful ministry and went to live in Great Oakley, near Harwich. In 1968 he returned to his beloved Haverhill still preaching until approaching his eightieth birthday when failing health prevented him. Further deterioration of his physical powers resulted in his moving to Southampton to be with his sister and brother-in-law, and they cared for him until his death on 19th August 1975 in the eighty-third year of his age and the fifty-sixth year of his ministry.


William was born on 9 June 1893 at Abbotts Ann, nr. Andover, Hampshire, to parents Frank, a baker (1901), and Fanny.

William died on 19 August 1975 at Southampton, Hampshire.


  • 1919 Thornley
  • 1920 Hartley
  • 1923 Chinnor
  • 1926 Haverhill
  • 1959 Harwich (S)
  • 1968 Haverhill


Methodist Minutes 1976/88

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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