Stanwell, John Samuel Waltham (1869-1933)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1922
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1922

Early years

John was born in 1869 at Asken, Bedale, Yorkshire, to parents John Samuel Stanwell and Selina Andrew. John, senior, was a PM Minister.

John was converted at nine years of age in the Gibbert Road Church, Halifax II circuit. Alderman J Brearley was the school superintendent. Following education at Elmfield College, John was apprenticed to Mr T.A. King, a Hereford sculptor, who not only fostered his artistic instincts, but encouraged him towards the ministry, impressed with the character and ability John displayed while accompanying him on note. John spent two years as a hired local preacher at Pontypool before entering the ministry.


A convince Free Churchman, John took an active part in the Passive Resistance movement, and was the first to be imprisoned in the East Riding, Yorkshire, for conscience sake.

John had an artistic propensity. He could use chisel or brush, was extremely musical and was a skilled camerist. As a writer and lantern lecturer, John was well known beyond denominational borders.

His obituary records that unselfish and generous, John gave to the point of sacrifice in every way. The missionary cause had his passionate support. His business and administrative capacities made his circuit ministry memorable and successful.  John was a gifted preacher and speaker; choice in expression, he declared the saving truth of the Gospel with conviction.


John married Eva Chivers (1884-1969) in the spring of 1908 at Newbury, Berkshire. Records identify one child.

  • Raymond (1919-1923)

John died on 5 September 1933 at Broomy Hill, Hereford, Herefordshire.


  • 1892 Chipping Norton
  • 1896 Malton
  • 1897 Startford
  • 1898 Newbury
  • 1903 Pocklington
  • 1905 Hull VI
  • 1909 Filey
  • 1914 Hornsea
  • 1920 Lincoln I
  • 1924 Hereford
  • 1930 Hereford (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1922/260

Methodist Minutes 1934/204

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers



Transcription of profile published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine.
Transcription of Obituary published in the Minutes of Conference.

Comments about this page

  • You can now read about and enjoy the 3D photography of Rev J S W Stanwell in my book “Newbury through the Stereoscope” ISBN 978-1-9164389-1-0 It’s not quite all of RSJW’s photographic history, as it focuses on his time in Newbury. The book includes a biography and details his role in the first Camera Club in Newbury together with 24 of his 3D Stereo views. These include 3D images of both Rev JSW Stanwell himself and his father Rev JS Stanwell. Rev JSW Stanwell was an accomplished stereo photographer and Lantern Slide creator who was active from his early days at Stratford through to his time in Yorkshire. The limited-edition book is available on and at priced £10.99 plus postage.
    I would be happy to give my talk Victorian Newbury in 3D which features his story to interested groups. contact me at to discuss.

    By Ian Wallace (03/11/2022)
  • Ian,

    Thanks for your comment. The Primitive Methodist Magazine was a monthly publication. In each month in the early 1900’s the magazine published a profile of one of the ministers, usually including a picture of the minister and his wife. It was clearly ‘just his turn, in 1922.
    I will try to add transcriptions of the full 1922 article and the obituary published in the 1934 Minutes of Conference in the next couple of weeks.

    By Geoff Dickinson (18/10/2019)
  • A “skilled camerist” – interesting description for a photographer. Do you have any more Biog? Why was he and Eva in the 1922 magazine. Do you have the full obituary?

    By Ian W (17/10/2019)
  • Just read this account of a fascinating man of talent & conscience because he officiated at the wedding of one of my Great Aunts. Having now educated myself on why he went to prison, one of only 80 throughout the country to do so, I am rather glad he officiated at the wedding of my “Aunt Peggy”.

    By David Redhead (27/04/2019)

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