Shenton, Joseph (1840-1928)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1898
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1929
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1919

Early years

Joseph was born on 22 April 1840 at Kidsgrove, Staffordshire. His father, Job, was a Primitive Methodist local preacher.

When Joseph was three, the family moved to Tunstall. Four years later they moved to Mow Cop. At the age of 11, Joseph was employed at ‘mending and minding’ the fires for the water pumping engine at Stonetrough Colliery, where Hugh Bourne had once worked as a joiner.

Whilst at Mow Cop in 1857, the Jubilee Camp Meeting was held. In the following April, Joseph committed his life to the service of Jesus Christ. The December 1859 Quarterly Meeting of the Congleton circuit asked Joseph to accompany Enoch Mould to start his local preacher training.

In May 1860, Joseph moved to Silverdale in the Newcastle under Lyme circuit. There he was stimulated to devote himself to self-improvement and intellectual pursuits. He applied himself to arithmetic, geography, grammar and geology as well as biblical studies.


During his ministry Joseph built the following chapels; Cardington in the Bishops Castle circuit, Llandewy in the Knighton circuit, Bishops Offley in the Stafford circuit, Stoke on Trent and herons Cross in the Newcastle under Lyme circuit, Bettisfield in the Wem circuit and Chasetown in the Lichfield circuit.

Joseph served two years as Secretary of the District Equalisation fund, seven years as District Sunday School Committee Secretary and four years at District Chapel Building Committee Secretary. He also served as a ministerial candidates examiner.

His obituary records that his service to the Church was the outcome of intellectual wrestling with the problems which the vocation of a minister presented. He fought his doubts and came into the calm assurance of faith, not a faith of the ignorant that fears lest the foundation is undermined but of one who has tested and proved it in the fiery ordeal of life’s experiences.


Joseph authored the following.

Religion no fable: an essay on the adaptation of the Christian religion to the necessities of the human spirit, 1874

Tom Lattimer the prodigal: a true narrative from humble life, 1877


Joseph married Elizabeth Ann Reddish (1843-1902) in July 1867 at Macclesfield, Cheshire. Census returns identify seven children.

  • William Henry (1868-1937) – an insurance broker (1911)
  • Frederick George (b1869) – a grocer (1891)
  • Lizzie Ann (1871-1965) – a certificated midwife and nurse; married Thomas Coniah Littley, a schoolmaster
  • Joseph (1873-1931) – a schoolmaster
  • John Latimer (1876-1968) – an accountant
  • Francis David (1879-1887)
  • Arthur Wesley (1880-1975) – a colliery office clerk (1911)

Joseph married Julia Church nee Greenfield (1850-1919) in the spring of 1903 at Dudley, Staffordshire.

Joseph died on 8 September 1928 at Coventry.


  • 1863 Leek
  • 1864 Minsterley
  • 1866 W Bromwich
  • 1868 Church Stretton
  • 1870 Knighton
  • 1873 Stafford
  • 1876 Newcastle under Lyme
  • 1879 Wem
  • 1881 Willenhall
  • 1886 Lichfield
  • 1889 W Bromwich
  • 1892 Bristol II
  • 1895 Cardiff I
  • 1897 Ludlow
  • 1899 Walsall
  • 1902 Tipton
  • 1905 Dudley (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1898/723; 1903/915 (Elizabeth); 1919/588 (Julia); 1929/475

PM Minutes 1929/285

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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