William was born on 24 June 1838 at Louth, Lincolnshire, to parents Jacob and Elizabeth. Jacob was a carpet weaver. His brother, Charles, was also a PM Minister.
William went as a child to the PM Sunday school at Louth, continuing as a scholar and teacher until he entered the ministry. He was converted when sixteen after a sermon preached by Rev. Charles Kendall. He was soon on the plan, initially as a prayer leader, and in due course, as a full local preacher.
As a child, William worked in a carpet factory and in his teens he was apprenticed to a joiner.
During his probation, William was greatly helped in his studies by Mr Joshua Rouse of Mansfield.
Whilst in the Wem circuit, William walked in each of his three years a distance of 2,500 miles and had good health and fair success.
As a preacher, William was plain and practical, made free use of Saxon terms, used no hard words, so that it was almost impossible to misunderstand him. His sermons were well thought out, the divisions were clear and natural, easily remembered and full of evangelical teaching.
William married Maria Newton (1839-1902) on 31 October 1867 in the Bakewell Registration District, Derbyshire. Maria’s brother was Rev George Newton. Census returns identify six children.
- William Thomas Newton (1869-1901) – died after an explosion shortly after graduating from Cambridge.
- Ernest Austin (1871-1953) – an architect and surveyor
- Gertrude Elizabeth (1875-1955)
- Helen Marian (1877-1886)
- George Harold (1879-1901) – a railway goods clerk
- Grace Mabel (1883-1959) – a school teacher
William died on 30 May 1913 at Colne, Lancashire.
- 1863 Ashby de la Zouch
- 1864 Mansfield
- 1865 Winster
- 1867 Lincoln II
- 1869 Loughborough
- 1870 Sheffield II
- 1873 Nottingham II
- 1876 Melton Mowbray
- 1878 Wirksworth
- 1880 Donington
- 1881 Wem
- 1884 Colne
- 1887 Ipswich
- 1889 Eakring
- 1891 Bromyard
- 1893 Alston
- 1896 Ripon
- 1900 Maryport
- 1904 Colne (Sup)
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1898/803; 1903/242 (Maria); 1913/744
PM Minutes 1913/42
W Leary , Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits , 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers