Venables, John Wardman (1864-1945)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1919
Clara Adelaide Venables
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1910
Bessie Jane Venables
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1919

Early years

John was born in 1864 at Welsh Frankton, Shropshire, to parents Edward Venables and Jane Wardman. Edward was a butcher.

As a child John attended services held in his father’s and grandfather’s houses. He was converted at Oswestry when seventeen, and at once began to speak in the open air, and was made a local preacher. The 1881 census describes John as a photographer’s apprentice.

John moved to London, where in the Caledonian Road circuit, Thomas Guttery urged him to take up the work of ministry. He spent three months as a hired local preacher in the High Wycombe Circuit to prove himself and was accepted as a candidate in the District Meeting of 1887.


His first year was spent in supply work at Great Yarmouth and Cambridge.

A great deal of John’s time was given to juvenile missionary work. He revived and initiated juvenile classes, took a great interest in the Christian Endeavour and wrote article in magazines directed towards young people.

His obituary records that vitality was, perhaps his outstanding characteristic; he worked with abandon. His sermons, models of the homiletic art, were prepared with meticulous care, and he was a true shepherd of souls. His interests were wide, and he took especial delight in music and literature. John abhorred crookedness, and did not find it easy to suffer fools gladly. He left his circuits stronger than he found them, and by his preaching and influence won many for the kingdom.


John married Clara Adelaide Clare (1864-1910) in the summer of 1894 at Wrexham, Denbighshire. Census returns identify four children.

  • Muriel Clare (1895-1995) – married Ernest Stamp, a PM Minister in 1920
  • Edith Wardman  (1897-1973) – married George Herbert Anderson, an accountant, in 1923
  • Ethel Mary (1898-1998)
  • Jessie Winifred (b1901)

John married Bessie Jane Grimble (1874-1921) in the summer of 1911 at Norwich, Norfolk.

John died on 19 May 1945 at Norwich, Norfolk.


  • 1888 Yarmouth & Cambridge II
  • 1889 Cambridge I
  • 1891 Wymondham
  • 1894 Whitchurch
  • 1896 Wisbech
  • 1906 Norwich I
  • 1910 Oldham II
  • 1915 Goole
  • 1920 Leeds VIII
  • 1923 Pontypool
  • 1925 Lincoln I
  • 1927 Norwich (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1910/652 (Clara); 1919/265

Methodist Minutes 1945/139

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers


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