Saunders, Arthur William (1906-1986)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

ARTHUR WILLIAM SAUNDERS: born at Egham, Surrey on 11th May 1906. He was educated at Strode’s School in Egham, then at University College London and at Manchester University. In 1931 he entered Hartley College. He completed his training in the united Hartley Victoria College. As a probationer he was sent to Belize in 1935, and served in the following circuits: Belize, British Honduras; Stanncreek, British Honduras; Belize; Savanna-la-Mar, Jamaica; St. Ann’s Bay; Lucea; Bombay, India. 

His first appointment in Belize found him in charge of three city churches and as the general manager of fourteen schools throughout the colony. He taught part-time at the joint Anglican-Methodist School, an early mark of his ecumenical commitment. When he moved further south to Stanncreek where the man who called himself, “the world’s worst sailor” had to care for five churches along a hundred miles of coastline, his visiting of his people was by small sailing boats! His fiancee Dorothy, joined him overseas and they were married on 19th August 1937. Their daughters Prue and Bridget were born in British Honduras. 

He was able to use his great interest in heraldry whilst in Jamaica, helping to design the coat of arms of the, short-lived West Indies Federation, for the Governor, Sir Hugh Foot. Later he helped to design the arms of the Cayman Islands. Expecting in 1959 to return to the Caribbean the Missionary Society sent him to an English speaking church in Bombay, India. There he became Secretary of the Inter-Church Study Group for Church Union.  He returned home in 1967, a year prior to the inauguration of the Church of North India. He became an Area Secretary for the Leprosy Mission. 

In 1971 he retired to Sleaford, Lincolnshire where he became Secretary to the Council of Churches and officiating chaplain at R.A.F. Digby. In 1985 he came with Dorothy to live in Colnbrook, near their family and his original home in Egham. He regularly attended the Colnbrook Methodist Church in which he had worshipped as a young Local Preacher. He continued to preach throughout the Circuit, his final appointment being at Woodlands Park on 23 November 1986.

He was a Companion of the Farncombe Community. Throughout his ministry he treasured the liturgy of the Church, and was a keen member of the Methodist Sacramental Society and of the Fellowship of the Kingdom, where he was able to demonstrate his delight in A. E. Houseman’s plays. He was a Council member of the South Asia Church Aid Association and of the Modern Churchmen’s Union. 

His ministry was characterised by a preaching ability of a high order, keeping abreast of current thought and touched with humour, his words were founded on a deep and unshakeable faith in Jesus Christ his Lord and Saviour. As a pastor he was meticulous in his care and was loved by his people. Many have reason to thank God for his life and ministry. 

He died on Sth December 1986 in the eightieth year of his age and the fifty-third of his ministry.


Arthur was born on 11 May 1906 at Egham, Surrey, to parents Arthur Ernest Saunders, a soldier (1911), and Alice Elizabeth Hatt. He was baptised on 25 July 1906 at St Mary, Staines.

He married Dorothy Linacre Chadwick (1905-1988). 

Arthur died on 5 December 1986 Colnbrook, Slough, Buckinghamshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1935 Jamaica district
  • 1959 Bombay District
  • 1960 Lucknow District
  • 1968 Leprosy Mission
  • 1971 Sleaford (S)


Methodist Minutes 1987/88

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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