Rowe, William (1826-1914)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1872
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1914

Early years

William was born in 1826 in Birmingham, Warwickshire. He spent his early years in Devon where his father’s house was always open to preachers. William signed the pledge when he was 15. He started to preach at the age of 17.


In his first circuit at Andover, William suffered severe treatment from mobs when preaching outdoors.

Antliff writes; Amongst the ministers who have served the (Canadian) Connexion in connection with the Book Room and Christian Journal may be mentioned the Rev. William Rowe, who was for many years the chief executive officer of the Church. He returned to England in 1872, on account of ill-health.

Kendall records that the church in Toronto prospered under William’s superintendency. Churches were erected in Parliament Street, Queen Street and a new church built at Yorkville. Alongside this the ministerial staff increased. The stations constituting the London District were, with the exception of two, created and formed by Mr Rowe, who spent several years in following the settlers into new townships and organising them into PM churches.

In his obituary it is recorded that William nearly froze to death on one occasion whilst in Canada.

On returning to England, William lived firstly in Newbury and then moved to Clapham Common where he was Governor and Chaplain to the Primitive Methodist Ladies College.


William married Thirza Stratton (1822-1900) on 11 April 1849 at Chippenham, Wiltshire. Records identify seven children.

  • Mary Thirza Osmond (b1850) – a schoolmistress
  • Bessie Stratton (b1852) – a schoolmistress before marriage; married Thomas Johnson, a botany professor
  • Evangeline (1854-1854)
  • Osmond Stratton (1856-1931) – a merchant
  • Julia Whickam (1858-1863)
  • Florence Hannah (1860–1882) – a teacher
  • Gerald William (1863-1927) – a schoolmaster

William died on 24 March 1914 at Kew, Surrey.


  • 1844 Andover
  • 1845 Salisbury
  • 1846 St Ives
  • 1847 Chippenham
  • 1849 Tredegar
  • 1851 Redruth
  • 1853 Pontypool
  • 1854 to Canada
  • 1855 Hamilton
  • 1856 London
  • 1861 Etobicoke
  • 1864 Toronto
  • 1867 Book Steward
  • 1873 Newbury (Sup)
  • 1876 Governor of Ladies College, Clapham Common
  • 1882 Lavender Hill (S)
  • 1890 Richmond


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1872 (portrait); 1914/493

PM Minutes 1914/38

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 2, p452

J Cooper Antliff, Centennial of Canadian Methodism; Historical Sketch of the PM Church in Canada

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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