Sadler, Thomas (1854-1914)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by M.C.

THOMAS SADLER was born on June 23rd, 1854 at Whexall in the County of Salop. His father was a farmer, and died when his youngest son Thomas was a boy. The widowed mother carried on the farm, and he worked at the plough and devoted his spare time to the cultivation of his mind. He was converted when about thirteen years of age, and attended prayer meetings and the varied means of grace for the development of his spiritual life. 

Joining the Church at that early age, he grew up into manhood under the influence of Godly men and women. John Powell, local preacher, had great influence over him, and with others, was the means of directing him in his preparation for the work of a local preacher. He was about eighteen years of age when his name was put on the Plan by the quarterly meeting of the Wem Circuit. 

This circuit sent him into the ministry, and he began his labours in the Tunstall Circuit under the superintendence of the late Rev. William Jones, whose intimate friendship he for many years enjoyed. After he had laboured three years in this county he volunteered to go to New Zealand, and was sent to labour there under the direction of the General Missionary Committee. 

Our brother at that time was strong and vigorous, and was in labours abundant. At the end of his four years’ probation he was married to Miss Kirby, of Canterbury, New Zealand, who entered into practical sympathy with his life and work. Mrs. Sadler was a great help to her husband, often taking public services, and holding classes for young people, a work in which she still takes a delight. She thus shared, with her husband, the labour, trial and joy of a minister’s life. Nine years of excessive toil in New Zealand broke down our brother’s health, and he returned to this country in the year 1889.

Health improving, he laboured on the following Stations: St. Ives, Cornwall, Midsomer Norton, Calne in Wiltshire, New Wandsworth, Bedford I., and Chinnor, Brinkworth District. While on the last named Station his health failed, and after twenty-seven years of strenuous service for his Master physical suffering and weakness compelled him to retire from the work of the active ministry. 

After he was superannuated he and his family went to Whitchurch. From Whitchurch they came to Welshpool over four years ago. Largely through the influence of the Rev. W.S. Howlett, our brother became the librarian of the public library in the town of Welshpool, a position he occupied at the time of his death. During this time he has rendered good service in our own pulpits and in the other Nonconformist pulpits in the town. He has received many expressions of esteem from those for whom he has laboured. 

His death, which was rather sudden, came as a blow to his wife and family; the eldest son being from home at the front in connection with the war. Our brother lived and died in the faith of the Gospel, and was buried with a sure and certain hope of the resurrection from the dead. We pray for the widow and family, and trust for brighter days and the home in Heaven where there is no death.


Thomas was born on 23 June 1854 at Whixall, nr Prees, Shropshire, to parents John Sadler and Elizabeth Barlow. He was baptised on 30 July 1854 at Whixall.

Before entering the ministry Thomas was a farm servant (1871). When superannuated, Thomas worked as a librarian and caretaker at Welshpool (1911).

He married Elizabeth Kirby (1859-1944) in 1881 in Canterbury, New Zealand. Census returns identify six children.

  • Nellie Colveille (1882-1929)  – suffered a nervous breakdown at the age of 22
  • Edith Barlow (1883-1947) – a general domestic servant (1911)
  • Herbert Selby (b1885)    in the army (1911); emigrated to Canada in 1920; a farm labourer (1921)  
  • Freda Lottie (1894-1978) – married William Trevor Davies in 1918; emigrated to Canada in 1918
  • Gwendoline Lizzie (b1896) – married George H Wilson in 1927   
  • Arthur Kirby (1900-1977) – a railway locomotive fireman (1939)       

Thomas died in April 1915 at Welshpool, Montgomeryshire. He was buried on 29 April 1915.


  • 1876 Whitchurch
  • 1877 Tunstall
  • 1878 Wrockwardinewood
  • 1880 Geraldine – New Zealand
  • 1881 Manuwatu
  • 1885 New Plymouth
  • 1888 St Ives – England
  • 1891 Midsomer Norton
  • 1894 Calne
  • 1897 New Wandsworth
  • 1900 Bedford
  • 1902 Wallingford
  • 1903 Whitchurch (S)


PM Minutes 1915/39

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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