Thorp, James Eric (1907-1989)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

JAMES ERIC THORP: born in Devonport on 20th July 1907, the son of James Ernest Thorp, a Primitive Methodist minister.  He was educated at Devonport Foundation School, Bourne College (Quinton, Birmingham), and at Pitman’s Commercial College in London, after which he worked as a Local Government Officer with the Hackney Borough Council. He offered as a candidate from the Whitechapel Mission, entering Hartley College in 1930, from where he was called out in his third year to fill an emergency appointment in Wishaw, Scotland. Subsequently he served in the following circuits: East Dereham, Ledbury, Kings Lynn, Reading, Pontefract (Micklegate), Huddersfield (Lindley), Dover, Willenhall (Union Street), Oswestry, Louth, Canterbury and Faversham. 

In 1937, while in the East Dereham Circuit, he married Hilda Mary White, whom he had known from childhood. Hilda gave him loving and devoted support throughout his life and ministry. He served as an Army Chaplain in Pontefract, and an officiating Chaplain in the R.A.F., at Manby Louth. During his time in Canterbury he served as Chaplain to St. Augustine’s Psychiatric Hospital, a period of challenge and usefulness, to which he responded with great compassion and care. At Oswestry he was President of the Free Church Council. He always showed special interest in M.A.Y.C. and assisted in Youth Camps for several years. 

He retired to Grimoldby near Louth, finding a new interest in caravanning, enjoying planning his journeys. Everything he did was prepared thoroughly, especially his services and his administration. His preaching was practical with an active concern for social issues. Throughout his life he was a fine family man devoted to his wife and proud of Martin and Colin, their children. He died on 6th November 1988 in the eighty-second year of his age and the fifty-sixth year of his ministry.


James was born on 20 July 1907 at Devonport, Devon, to parents James Ernest Thorp, a PM minister, and Annie Heywood.

He married Hilda Mary White (1910-2003) in the summer of 1937 in the Stepney Registration District, London. Birth records identify two children.

  • Martin B (b1939)
  • Colin J (b1944)

James died on 6 November 1988 at Louth, Lincolnshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1933 Wishaw
  • 1935 E Dereham
  • 1938 Ledbury
  • 1942 Reading
  • 1944 Pontefract Micklegate
  • 1948 Huddersfield lindley
  • 1951 Dover
  • 1955 Willenhall Un
  • 1957 Willenhall
  • 1958 Oswestry
  • 1962 Louth
  • 1968 Canterbury
  • 1972 Louth (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 1989/70

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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