Travis, James (1840-1919)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1890
James Travis in 1911
Seventy-five years: the life and work of James Travis, 1914
Pictures of James Travis
Seventy-five years: the life and work of James Travis, 1914
Chapels associated with James Travis
Seventy-five years: the life and work of James Travis, 1914
Seventy-five years: the life and work of James Travis, 1914
Jane Travis
Seventy-five years: the life and work of James Travis, 1914

Early years

James was born in 1840 at Bentspool Farm, Blatchinworth and Calderbrook, nr Rochdale, Lancashire to parents Joseph and Mary. Joseph worked as a general contractor and was not a member of a church. Mary was one of the first Primitive Methodist converts when Knowlwood PM’s missioned Summit. Prior to that James attended the Congregational Sunday School.

The 1890 biography records that James youth was full of fun, just a little boisterous, only slightly fond of mischief, with a shrinking from actual vice.

James was converted aged 14. Almost immediately he was appointed to conduct cottage meetings to continue the revival in which he had been converted. He also started to work in the Primitive Methodist Sunday School. James went on the plan about a year after conversion and was known as “The Little Preacher”.


In 1858, James was sent to Liverpool, but almost immediately he was sent to Douglas, Isle of Man, to supply the place of a probationer who failed on his pledge. James was District Meeting Secretary for the Manchester and Liverpool District for two years, and continued in that role within the Liverpool District upon its formation.

James served as President of the National Free Church Council in 1903/4

James was in great demand as a preacher for all occasions. Plain, pointed and practical expositions of evangelical truth, his sermons were often white hot with spiritual passion.

After superannuation, James lived with his daughter.

Contribution to the Connexion

James was Secretary to the Reading Conference in 1885 and President of Conference in 1892. He was appointed as Secretary of the General Missionary Committee in 1889.

James is credited with being the originator of several pieces of Primitive Methodist legislation in the areas of missionary affairs, chapel debt and liquidation schemes, ministerial education and the Jubilee Fund.


James wrote the following.

The local preacher’s manual

Seventy-five years: the life and work of James Travis , 1914


James married Ann (1840-1871). Census returns identify two children.

  • Edith (1867-1872)
  • Lillian (1871-1945) – married Arthur William Vernon, a builder

James married Jane Killip (1834-1911) in 1872 at Douglas, Isle of Man.

James died on 8 December 1919 at Chester.


  • 1859 Liverpool
  • 1861 Manchester l
  • 1862 Oldham ll
  • 1863 Manchester lll
  • 1865 Chorley
  • 1871 Bolton
  • 1874 Manchester lll
  • 1878 Liverpool lll
  • 1882 Chester l
  • 1889 Sec of GMC
  • 1894 Oldham l
  • 1899 Chester l
  • 1906 Chester (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1890/385; 1894/563; 1920/199

The Primitive Methodist 1892/385

PM Minutes 1920/271

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 2, p454

B A Barber, A Methodist Pageant, 1932, p244

R Newman Wycherley, The Pageantry of Methodist Union, 1932, p175

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers



Article published in the 1923 Christian Messenger.

Comments about this page

  • This page was modified on 12 April 2016 to add an article published in the 1923 Christian Messenger.

    By Geoff Dickinson (12/04/2016)

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