Warburton, Ernest (1869-1908)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by W.S. Potter

Rev. Ernest Warburton was born in Bradford in 1869, and passed into rest January 19th, 1908. He was born of pious parents, and it was in their home that he received his first impressions for good. The Christly influences of that home culminated in his early conversion, which occurred at a juvenile missionary meeting in which he had taken part.

His call to the ministry was sudden and unmistakable. He entered the training college in Manchester, and distinguished himself as a most painstaking and capable student. His probation and nine successful years were spent in England, with the exception of a little time spent in Glasgow and Guernsey.

In 1894, he was married to the daughter of the Rev. L.E. Ellis, Primitive Methodist minister of Pocklington, Yorkshire, in whom he found a true helpmeet.

When his health began to fail about eight years ago, the Conference made the most suitable appointments possible, with a view to his recovery. Of the kindly consideration shown to him both in the Old Land and in this he spoke in warm terms of gratitude during his last days. In quest of a more congenial climate he came to Auckland about five years ago, and became the guest of the Rev. and Mrs. Laycock, under whose care his health gradually improved until he was able to take charge of the Mount Roskill Church.

During 1906, his health failed, and a trip was taken to the Islands, which in a measure restored him, so that after about eighteen weeks he resumed his much-loved work. At this time his congregation testified their appreciation of him by tendering a hearty welcome and presenting a purse of sovereigns. About the end of August last his health again failed. His illness, which lasted nearly four months and involved much pain and weakness, was borne with a calm, Christian fortitude but rarely witnessed. His weekly message to his congregation expressed the most perfect resignation to the will of God, and sometimes seemed to the preachers who read it more impressive than their sermons.

All that medical skill and loving devoted attention could do failed to arrest the progress of the disease and at last, after only two hours of unconsciousness, his redeemed spirit joined the choir invisible.

Our deceased brother possessed a rare combination of gifts. Having an enquiring mind and a strong memory, his sermons were far above the average. He spoke in clear, simple, forceful language, and having a quiet, earnest style, he commanded attention. He loved the Word of God, and while knowing the trend of critical thought, was ever true to his Lord, and drank deeply from the spring of grace and truth. Thoroughness characterised all that he did. He never did anything by halves. He was a most painstaking worker, and the motive that prompted him was a love for men that he had learned at the Cross.

As we think of his dear ones, of the needs of the church, of his gifts, of his genial inspiring presence, of his love of children, of his wonderful power to comfort the sorrowing, of his power to expound God’s Word, of his peerless example, of his devotion to God’s service, we feel sad that he has gone. But as we think of the work he accomplished, of the sufferings he endured, and of the rest that he has won, we bow submissively to the will of God.

The burial took place on January 22nd. Prior to going to the Purewa Cemetery, a service was held at the Mount Roskill Church, which was packed, many being unable to get in. The service was conducted by the Rev. W.S. Potter, who in a brief address paid a warm and tender tribute to the memory of the departed. The Revs. G. Clement, T.H. Lyon, F.A. Thompson, and J. Wilson also took part. At the grave the service was conducted by the Venerable Archdeacon Calder and the Rev. W.S. Potter. It was apparent to the most casual observer that our deceased brother was respected and beloved by all classes. There were representatives from all the local sister churches, including the ministers, not excepting the Anglican Church, while floral emblems and expressions of sympathy were very numerous. 

The “In Memoriam” service was held on Sunday evening, January 26th, in the Mount Roskill Church, when the Rev. W.S. Potter preached from, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” In front of the pulpit loving hands had placed a white floral cross, while above the pulpit hung a crown in golden flowers, fitting emblems of our deceased brother’s experience, seeing that he suffered so much and triumphed so gloriously.


Ernest was born in early 1869 at Bradford, Yorkshire, to parents Jospeh, a coal merchant (1871), and Susannah. he was baptised on 4 April 1869 at Bradford, Yorkshire.

He married Alice Wilson Ellis (b1868) in the summer of 1894 at Pocklington, Yorkshire. She was a nurse before her marriage. Census returns identify one child.

  • Elsie (b1897)

Ernest died on 19 January 1908 at Auckland, New Zealand.


  • Hartley
  • 1890 Brigg
  • 1892 Shipley
  • 1894 Glasgow II
  • 1895 Bradford IV
  • 1897 Skipton
  • 1899 Keighley II
  • 1901 Dartmouth
  • 1902 Gen Mission Secretary
  • 1904 Auckland, New Zealand


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1908/653

PM Minutes 1908/34

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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