Russell, Robert William (1865-1955)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

ROBERT WILLIAM RUSSELL: born at Halesowen, Worcestershire, in 1865. After training at Hartley College, he entered the Primitive Methodist ministry in 1889. In the earlier years he worked in country circuits—Winsford, Hay, Leek, Cheadle, and Watford. Then, after a term at Peel, in the Isle of Man, he travelled in three circuits in the industrial areas of central England—Hanley, West Bromwich, and Nottingham. And later, for fifteen years, he was in London, at Kentish Town, Plumstead, and Stoke Newington. 

He was a likeable, lovable man, gifted with a touch of originality and of the unconventional. He walked the ways of this world at his own pace. He took a kindly interest in the things around and the people he met, but lived much also in a world of his own—dreaming, musing, soliloquizing. He was a welcome comforter and counsellor in the homes of his people. He loved children and understood young people. Whilst in Nottingham he came to know intimately James Flanagan, whose biography he wrote. 

He becamea supernumerary in 1930, and, after the death of his wife, lived with his daughters at Frinton-on-Sea. In spite of loss of sight, he kept active until a few days before his passing, which came quietly in the early hours of 7th May 1955, just four weeks after his ninetieth birthday, in the sixty-sixth year of his ministry.


Robert was born 9 April 1865 at Halesowen, Worcestershire, to parents William, a stocktaker (1871), and Mary. He was baptised on 28 May 1865 at Dudley, Worcestershire.

He married Louisa Anna Cain (1867-1928) on 19 October 1893 at Kirk Braddan, Isle of Man. Census returns and birth records identify four children.

  • Ivy Roberta (1894-1962)  – a pharmacist (1939)       
  • Lily Anna (1895-1974) – a journalist (1939) 
  • Clarise May (1898-1961)  – married Joseph B Wilson, a schoolmaster (1939), in 1929   
  • Frederick William (1900-1900)

Robert died on 7 May 1955 at Frinton on Sea, Essex.


  • Hartley
  • 1889 Winsford &c
  • 1893 Hay
  • 1894 Leek
  • 1897 Cheadle
  • 1900 Watford
  • 1901 Peel
  • 1904 Hanley
  • 1906 W Bromwich
  • 1911 Nottingham II
  • 1915 Kentish Town
  • 1924 Plumstead
  • 1927 Stoke Newington
  • 1930 Kentish Town (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 1955/141

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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