Welford, John (1844-1922)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1903
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1923

Early years

John was born in 1844 at Barnard Castle, Co Durham to parents Thomas Welford and Hannah Haigh. Thomas was a master tailor. John was baptised on 3 January 1844 at Barnard Castle.

John’s grandfather was a popular local preacher and excellent singer. His father was a respected tradesman in Barnard Castle. The family home was a resting place for visiting preachers at Barnard Castle, enabling John to hear many stories about camp meetings, conversions and earnest prayers at family worship. John resolved that he too would be a minister.


As a preacher, John ranked among the best. His sermons were logically arranged, so that the course of thought was easily followed and remembered. His teaching was positive in its character and at times gave evidence of rare spiritual insight. His wide range of reading gave freshness to his sermons and furnished him with illustrations, which added to their force and beauty.

For twelve years, John was College Secretary. He was also a member of the Candidates Examining Committee and of the Probationers Examining Committee.

In 1901 John was Secretary of Conference and 1904 became General Committee Secretary.  He was also one of the secretaries of the Centenary celebrations. In 1909 John was Vice President of Conference whilst Sir William P. Hartley was President.


John married Matilda Ann Baker (1844-1920) in late 1870 at Durham. Census returns identify two children.

  • Alfred William Baker (1872-1942) – a barrister
  • Harold Baliol (1877-1915) – a solicitor

John died on 5 December 1922 at Finchley, Middlesex.


  • 1866 Stockton
  • 1867 Shotley Bridge
  • 1869 Stanley
  • 1871 N Shields
  • 1875 Shotley Bridge
  • 1878 Newcastle II
  • 1882 Oldham I
  • 1887 Woodley
  • 1891 Norwich I
  • 1894 Newton & Hyde
  • 1897 Woodley
  • 1902 Walkden
  • 1904 Camden Town
  • 1909 Finchley
  • 1910 Finchley (Sup)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1903/675; 1923/320

PM Minutes 1923/290

H B Kendall, Origin and History of the PM Church, vol 2,405

B A Barber, A Methodist Pageant, 1932, p244

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Comments about this page

  • John Welford was my great uncle. His wife Matilda Ann Baker was born in Lanchester, Co Durham and lived at Sunniside Farm nearby. Would the chapel at Lanchester have been in John’s circuit when he was minister at Shotley Bridge in 1867-9?
    Whilst visiting the chapel I was told that it celebrated its 150th anniversary recently. John may well have preached there when it opened.

    By Richard Hewitt (12/03/2019)

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