Russell, William Charles (1894-1961)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

WILLIAM CHARLES RUSSELL: born at Pembridge in 1894. He was educated at Bourne College, entered the Ministry in 1916, and was trained at Hartley College. He served at Douglas, Harrogate, Swindon, and Birmingham. 

He was an artist whose calligraphy, woodwork, and handicraft will provide for many apt mementoes of his skill and originality. He was also a scholar who read carefully and widely, and expressed himself clearly and forcibly. His preaching was thoughtful and thought-provoking, his conduct of worship simple and dignified. He was a consecrated individualist with strong convictions which often made him a rebel, but he was always faithful to his Church. Above all, he was a true friend and a pastor who gave himself to his people fully and naturally, always meeting them at their point of need and never sparing himself. 

Humour and a deep interest in life made him a good companion, and he was always at home with people and they with him. Seven years at Quinton established him in the Birmingham District, where he remained for twenty-five years, becoming the best-known figure in the Synod and the initiator and supporter of many progressive schemes, both there and in connexional committees. As a superintendent, he was an able administrator, a wise guide, an adventurous leader, and a good colleague. He expected high standards from his colleagues, but would support them loyally in trial or difficulty. 

Ill health in the last years of his ministry sent him to hospital, where characteristically he gave comfort to fellow patients before and after his own major operation. In a short period of retirement he still retained an active interest in the work of the Church. He bore his suffering bravely and died at Lapworth on 14 June 1961, in the sixty-seventh year of his age and the forty-fifth of his ministry.


William was born on 29 July 1894 at Pembridge, Herefordshire, to parents William Russell and Hannah Carwardine.

William attended the Primitive Methodist school at Quinton, Worcestershire.

He married Ellen Provost (1895-1979) in the summer of 1920 in the Leek Registration District, Staffordshire. Birth records identify two children.

  • Helen Provost (b1926) – married Douglas Edwin Parry in 1959
  • Peter William (b1929) – a Methodist minister

William died on 14 June 1961 at Lapworth, Solihull, Warwickshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1916 Supply
  • 1920 Douglas
  • 1922 Harrogate
  • 1928 Swindon I
  • 1932 Quinton
  • 1939 Birmingham Bel Row
  • 1947 Birmingham Sutton Park
  • 1953 Birmingham Islington
  • 1957 Wye Valley Mission (S)


Methodist Minutes 1961/229

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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