Smith, Robert (1815-1897)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1864
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1864

Early years

Robert was born on 23 June 1815 at Preston, Yorkshire (nr Hull). He was educated at Kirkells, a village 5 miles west of Hull. Robert was converted in February 1834 and joined the Primitive Methodist society. He was briefley on the plan of the Keyingham Branch of the Hull circuit before being called into ministry in June 1836.


For many years Robert was Secretary to the Leeds District Committee. He was recognised as having a wide and judicious exposition of connexional law.

Robert was General Secretary of the Mission Committee (1869-1874), Secretary of Conference in 1868 and 1878, and President of Conference in 1875. He was Governor of Elmfield College (1880-1889).

In 1886 Robert became a Deed Poll Member of Conference. He held this appointment for 7 years until his health declined.

His obituary records; ‘As a preacher he never aimed at being popular. He was ever clear, definite, intelligent and educational. He never left his hearers in any doubt as to his meaning.’


Robert married Priscilla Gaukrodger(1810-1899) in September 1842 at Halifax, Yorkshire. Census returns identify six children.

  • Mary Martha (1843-1912) – married Charles Henry Whiteley, a joiner
  • Emma Susanna (1845-1905) – married George Newton, a PM Minister
  • Anna Matilda Eastwood (1846-1929) – married William Johnson, head-teacher at Elmfield College (1886-1891). Previously married to a Summerscales.
  • Sarah Ruth (b1848)
  • Jonathan William (1850-1880) – a chemist
  • Robert Arthur (b1856)

Robert died on 30 April 1897 at York, Yorkshire.


  • 1837 Hull
  • 1838 Leeds
  • 1839 Halifax
  • 1841 Louth
  • 1843 Bradford
  • 1845 York
  • 1847 Pickering
  • 1849 Otley
  • 1851 Wakefield
  • 1852 Leeds S
  • 1854 Burnley
  • 1856 York
  • 1858 Barnsley
  • 1861 Leeds l
  • 1863 Bradford
  • 1866 Huddersfield
  • 1869 Secretary of General Mission Committee
  • 1874 Kingston
  • 1879 Redhill
  • 1880 Governor of Elmfield
  • 1889 York l (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1864 (portrait); 1898/146; 1901/546 (Priscilla)

PM Minutes 1897/36

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share this
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone