Walker, William James (1883-1946)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

WILLIAM JAMES WALKER: born at Leadgate, County Durham, in 1883. He spent his boyhood days at South Shields and attended the church of which afterwards he was to become the minister. Trained at Hartley College, he entered the Primitive Methodist Ministry in 1905, fully equipped in mind and heart to carry out the tasks of his high calling. With one exception, the whole of his ministry was spent in busy industrial towns. 

Great demands were made upon him, but he gave unreservedly of his best. He was an acknowledged preacher of high ability. A capable administrator, he exercised a wise leadership in his circuits and was instrumental in bringing about successful and far-reaching changes. Contributions from his pen have appeared in various religious periodicals, and there was a time—before a severe breakdown in health interfered— when he frequently subscribed to the columns of the Primitive Methodist Leader. 

He was first and foremost a Christian Evangelist, and many evangelical experiments—largely effective—were tried out in his circuits. At South Shields he was largely responsible for the Christian Commando Campaign of March 1945. 

His outstanding quality was a keen sensitiveness to the problems of his people. He had an aptitude for identifying himself completely with their experiences. He could make a sick room a means of grace. He was a brotherly and sympathetic man possessing a wise approach, a fine devotional spirit, and a manly bearing all of which were able to impart confidence and strength in any time of trouble. 

He died suddenly on the 28th June 1946, in the sixty-third year of his age and the forty-first of his ministry.


William was born on 10 March 1883 at Leadgate, Co Durham, to parents Daniel, an oil merchant and insurance agent (1891), and Louisa.

Before entering the ministry William worked as a clerk (1901).

He married Annie Black Marshall (1887-1969). The 1933 Methodist Who’s Who identifies that they had two children.

William died on 20 June 1946 at South Shields, Co. Durham.

Annie married Leonard Grayshan in 1950.


  • Hartley
  • 1905 Liverpool I
  • 1907 Grassington
  • 1909 Tranent
  • 1911 Glasgow II
  • 1913 Newton & Hyde
  • 1914 Erith & Bel
  • 1919 Batley
  • 1924 Dewsbury
  • 1928 Luton I
  • 1932 Hexham
  • 1937 S Shields


Methodist Minutes 1946/148

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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