Shenton, John William (1873-1959)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1926

Early years

John was born in 1873 at Silverdale, Staffordshire, to parents Job and Mary Ann. Job was a coal-miner. John also worked as a coal-miner before entering the ministry.

John earned a high place on the ‘Reserve List’; consequently he went straight into circuit work.


John’s obituary recorded that those who sat under his ministry testify to his intimate knowledge and love of the Bible. His keen insight and vivid imagination enabled him to portray Old Testament characters with compelling interest, and his practical turn of mind made it possible for him to relate their lives and teaching to contemporary life and experience. But as much as he delighted in and valued the Old Testament, it was in the New Testament that he found his chief inspiration. He was held fast by the supreme revelation of God in Jesus Christ, and found in St Paul’s vivid conversion and subsequent glowing consciousness of the presence of the living Christ a parallel to his own experience. Converted in his teens, John felt he must tell others what Christ had done for him, and with a clear call to preach he was led to offer for the primitive Methodist Ministry.

Throughout his long term of service his evangelical zeal never ceased to glow within his heart. His evangelism, however, was directed and controlled by his alert and enquiring mind, his wide reading, and his eagerness to know and assess all the facets of knowledge and experience. He was a faithful pastor of the sick and needy, counting their wants to be the first claim upon him, after his pulpit preparation. He had a vivid imagination, a deep insight into men’s needs, an unusually strong gift of sympathy, and a keen sense of humour. He enjoyed his religion and his preaching and pastoral work were a delight to him.


John married Sarah Adams (1872-1961) in the summer of 1900 at Silverdale, Staffordshire. Census returns identify three children.

  • Dora Lilian (1902-1995) – married Wood Deane Snape, a cotton salesman, on 20 August 1927 by her father
  • John Clifford (b1907)
  • Leonard Roy (b1909) – worked in education in Nigeria

John died on 18 October 1959 at Manchester, Lancashire.


  • 1896 Chipping Norton
  • 1897 Ludlow
  • 1899 Farnborough
  • 1900 Prees Green
  • 1903 Wrockwardinewood
  • 1908 Talke
  • 1909 Whitchurch
  • 1913 Leek
  • 1916 Hanley
  • 1919 Chester III
  • 1922 Manchester V
  • 1927 Manchester IV
  • 1931 Bollington
  • 1934 Huddersfield Northd
  • 1938 Leeds Joseph St
  • 1939 Biddulph
  • 1942 Congleton Kinsey
  • 1947 Manchester (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1926/106

Methodist Minutes 1960/184

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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