Thompson, William (1881-1976)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

William Thompson (A): born in Mexborough, Yorkshire, on 19th November 1881. He left school at the age of 13 and after some years’ service in the grocery trade he offered for the Primitive Methodist ministry and entered Hartley College in 1906. He served in the following circuits: Sheffield III, Leicester I, Leicester IV, Hucknall, Birmingham IV, Birmingham (Selly Oak), Birmingham (Sparkhill), and Leicester (Curzon Street). 

During his ministry in Birmingham he gave outstanding service, in an unofficial capacity, to the students living in his neighbourhood, particularly those attending the Selly Oak Colleges. During his ministry in the Sparkhill Circuit he served as Secretary of the Birmingham District. Retiring in 1948, he lived, until his death, in the Leicester (North) Circuit.

In 1912 he married Annie Stephenson, also of Mexborough, and it was a great sorrow for him when she died in 1965. Throughout the period of his retirement, until after his ninetieth birthday, he continued to preach regularly in the Leicester circuits. One of his great qualities was his gift of letter-writing which brought great joy to his multitude of friends. At Christmas 1975, a few weeks before he died, and when his health was rapidly deteriorating, he wrote, in long hand, over sixty personal letters. Perhaps the greatest ability he possessed was an empathy which enabled him to sense a need of encouragement and to know the right word to say or write. Many different sorts and ages of people can testify concerning this pastoral gift, and perhaps it explains, in part, the depth and extent of the love which hundreds of people had for him. 

He died on 11th February 1976 in the ninety-fifth year of his age and the sixty-eighth year of his ministry.


William was born on 19 November 1881 at Mexborough, Yorkshire, to parents George, a railway goods guard (1891), and Mary.

Before entering the ministry William was a grocer (1901).

He married Annie Stephenson (1881-1965) in the summer of 1912 in the Doncaster Registration District, Doncaster. Birth records identify two children.

  • Hubert Stephenson (1914-2014) – a schoolmaster, physics and maths (1939)
  • William Stephenson (1922-1979) – a bank clerk (1939)

William died on 11 February 1976 at Birstall, Leicester, Leicestershire.


  • Hartley
  • 1908 Sheffield III
  • 1911 Leicester I
  • 1915 Leicester IV
  • 1921 Hucknall
  • 1926 Birmingham IV
  • 1933 Birmingham Selly Oak
  • 1934 Birmingham Spark
  • 1939 Leicester Cursor
  • 1948 Leicester (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 1976/91

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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