Terry, William Snowdon (1898-1984)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

WILLIAM SNOWDON TERRY: born in Gillingham, Kent on 14th May 1898. He grew up in the Primitive Methodist church where his father was Sunday School superintendent and circuit steward. He was educated in the Mathematical School, Rochester and the Royal Dockyard School, Chatham, with a career in naval architecture in view. The call to the ministry, however, was insistent and he was accepted for the Primitive Methodist ministry in 1919. 

After a pre-collegiate year at Banbury, he entered Hartley College in 1920, followed by travel in the following circuits: London (East), Windsor, Hull III, London (Stanstead Road and Brixton Hill), Reading, Birmingham (Wesley and Belmont Row), Morecambe and Heysham, and Eastleigh. His time at Reading is particularly remembered by his family as being one of fruitful growth and service, especially in youth work. On retirement, William went first to Southampton as an active supernumerary, and then to Weston-super-Mare and Axbridge, finally returning to Weston in 1983. 

He continued to preach into his eighty-first year, then standing in as church treasurer and steward in a period of difficulty in the local church. Earlier in his ministry he was greatly interested in questions of mental health and qualified as a psychiatric social worker, keeping in touch with this work for many years. His marriage in 1925 to Clara Bevis, from his home circuit, was to give nearly fifty-eight years of devoted happiness, and was blessed with two children and five grandchildren. 

During retirement, William and Clara made four visits to America and found great joy in the fellowship of the Methodist Church there. The death of his wife soon after their final move to Weston was a bewildering experience in his own increasing difficulty with advancing years, which he bore bravely. His life had been full in every way, with faithful service in the Church as pastor and preacher. 

He died peacefully on 31st January 1984 in the eighty-sixth year of his age and the sixty-third year of his ministry.


William was born on 14 May 1898 at Gillingham, Kent, to parents Alfred Snowdon Terry, a draughtsman at Naval Dockyard (1911), and Jane Fairley.

He married Clara Bevis (1900-1983) on 2 July 1925 at the PM Chapel, Nelson Road, Gillingham, Kent. The ceremony was carried out by Rev. Joseph Johnson. Birth records identify two children.

  • Geoffrey B (b1927)
  • Margaret (b1932) – married Albert E Tomer in 1955

William died on 31 January 1984 at Burnham on Sea, Somerset.


  • 1919 Banbury
  • 1920 Hartley
  • 1922 London East
  • 1925 Windsor
  • 1928 Hull III
  • 1933 London Stans
  • 1938 Reading
  • 1946 Birmingham Wesley
  • 1949 Birmingham Belmont
  • 1955 Morecambe &c
  • 1959 Eastleigh
  • 1963 Southampton (S)


Methodist Minutes 1984/85

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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