Spoor, John (1885-1973)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

JOHN SPOOR: born at Butterknowle, Co. Durham in 1885. He stemmed from the tradition of early Primitive Methodism, which for him meant a combination of fervent religious devotion with venturesome thinking. From boyhood he retained a great reverence and gratitude for the experience of conversion. 

He entered the ministry in 1912, and after training at Hartley College served in the following circuits: Tranent, Sheffield (Abbey), Barnsley, Amble, Risca, West Bromwich, Bishop Auckland, Barnard Castle, Leeds (Joseph Street), Dewsbury, Osset (Queen Street), Castleford (Bradley Street) and Peterborough. 

He feared to prolong his stay in any circuit beyond what he thought to be the full powers of his usefulness; his close friends often thought him unduly sensitive about this, and there is no doubt that it resulted in shorter periods of ministry than should have been the case. His contributions to theological discussion with his brethren reflected his diligent reading of philosophy. 

He lived in retirement in Bexhill from 1956, and even when age and disability prevented any kind of active ministry, his evangelical spirit remained undimmed. To the end he continued to correspond with friends needing counsel, drawing freely from his resources of wisdom, experience and fervent faith in God. Only a few days after celebrating his eighty-eighth birthday with his family he entered into rest, a devoted minister of Christ who exemplified the graces of the Christian character. 

He died on 2nd September, 1973 in the eighty-ninth year of his age, and the sixty-second year of his ministry.


John was born on 28 August 1885 at Butterknowle, Co. Durham, to parents Thomas Jackson Spoor, a colliery owner (1901), and Lavinia Dowson. He was baptised on 2 March 1888 at Lynesack, Softley, Co. Durham.

He married Betsey Jane Wild (1891-1950) at Tranent, Scotland. Betsey was a daughter of Rev. Barnabas Wild. Birth records identify two children.

  • Donald (1917-1984) – a dental student (1939)
  • Gwynneth Margaret (1925-2007) – married Lewis W. White in 1952

John died on 2 September 1973 at Bexhill, Sussex.


  • Hartley
  • 1912 Tranent
  • 1916 Sheffield Abbey
  • 1919 Barnsley II
  • 1921 Amble
  • 1924 Risca
  • 1927 W Bromwich II
  • 1931 Bishop Auckland
  • 1932 Barnard Castle
  • 1935 Leeds Joseph St
  • 1938 Dewsbury
  • 1942 Ossett Queen
  • 1945 Castleford
  • 1948 Peterborough
  • 1950 New Mills (S)


Methodist Minutes 1974/155

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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