Searle, Frank Clifford (1900-1974)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

FRANK CLIFFORD SEARLE: born in Liverpool in 1900. He was accepted for the Primitive Methodist Ministry in 1921 and after two pre-collegiate years at Selby, went to Hartley College. His ministry was long and varied and for forty-two years in remarkably different places he showed great versatility. 

Everywhere his work was effective and all kinds of people remembered his homeliness, his pastoral diligence and his warm-hearted preaching. At the beginning he coped with the problems of the industrial North in Hull II, Hull IV and Leeds IX circuits. Then he exercised an equally able ministry in the rural South, going first to High Wycombe and then spending ten memorable years at Witney, during seven of which he was officiating chaplain at R.A.F. Brize Norton. A further change in 1948 brought him to Manchester (Chorlton and Moss Side) Circuit and through his vigorous leadership the Great Western Street congregation was revived and invited to share his pastoral concerns. 

Then he became Superintendent of the London (Brentford and Hounslow) Circuit. At sixty years of age he was asked by the Home Mission Department to be Chairman of the then Zetland District. Without hesitation he moved to the far North and, living in Lerwick, readily adapted himself to serve the widely scattered island communities. 

His retirement at Ludham beginning in 1967, was active: he preached regularly in the Martham Circuit and agreed to serve as Free Church chaplain at Little Plumstead Mental Hospital. A stroke in 1972 meant the end of his preaching ministry, but he persisted faithfully with his weekly hospital visits and on the day before he died spent several hours calling on his friends at Little Plumstead, who with so many others, knew and respected him as their father in God. 

He died on 22nd June 1974 in the seventy-fourth year of his age and the fifty-first of his ministry.


Frank was born on 5 March 1900 in Liverpool, Lancashire, to parents Edwin Pearson Searle, a corn merchant’s clerk (1911), and Priscilla Partington. He was baptised on 25 May 1900 at Princes Avenue PM Church, Liverpool by James Watkin.

He married Laura Mary Emerson (1900-1980) in the spring of 1927 at Grimsby, Lincolnshire. Birth records identify two children.

  • Frank R (b1929)
  • Brenda M (b1934)

Frank died on 22 June 1974 at Little Plumstead, Norfolk.


  • 1921 Selby
  • 1923 Hartley
  • 1925 Hull II
  • 1927 Hull IV
  • 1930 Leeds IX
  • 1933 High Wycombe
  • 1938 Witney
  • 1948 Manchester Chorlton
  • 1954 London, Brentford
  • 1960 Lerwick &c
  • 1967 Martham (S)


Methodist Minutes 1974/153

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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