Wheeler, Walter Vernon Beak (1904-1955)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

WALTER VERNON WHEELER: born at Bassett Down, Wiltshire, in 1905. Accepted as a candidate for the Primitive Methodist Ministry in 1928, he served for two years at Colnbrook and Chertsey before entering Hartley College. From college he was sent to Leeds (Cardigan Road), where he cheerfully undertook a seemingly thankless task at Rehoboth. Here he gathered round him a band of young people to whom he gave unstintingly of his time and talents, often impoverishing himself financially in order that the Master’s work be done. From Leeds he went to Tamworth, and thence to the following circuits: Coventry, Pateley Bridge, Castleford, Leicester (Hinckley Road), and Birmingham (Belmont Row). It was here in 1950 that he suffered a breakdown in health and became a supernumerary for a year. He then went to Redcar, Saltburn, and Guisborough circuit, working at Guisborough for three years, and from there to Hetton-le-Hole as superintendent. 

Gentle, scholarly, unassuming, he led men to God wherever he laboured. He possessed to a remarkable degree the ability to make young people realize what God could do in them and through them, and there are many serving God in different walks of life today, including several in the Ministry, because of what he saw in them and caused them to see in Jesus. A man of many gifts, being exceedingly well-read and an excellent preacher, he missed the acclaim accorded to many other men by reason of his innate modesty. Yet even this had its compensations, as it enabled him to know intimately a number of humble folk whose lives will always be richer because of his friendship, and nearer God’s purpose concerning them through his influence. At times, he judged himself far too harshly, seeming unable to accept for his own soul the love and forgiveness he offered to others, with the result that he was torn by an awful sense of unworthiness. Some of his sermons, and more particularly his prayers, were such a cry from the heart to God that no one heard them unmoved.

He fought a valiant fight against overwhelming odds, and the great consolation is that God knows and will understand. His earthly ministry ended at Hetton on 26th July 1955, in the fiftieth year of his age and the twenty-fourth of his ministry.


Walter was born on 6 August 1904 at Bassett Down, nr Swindon, Wiltshire. He was baptised on 19 November 1905 at Wroughton, Wiltshire. His baptism record identifies Walter as being born to an un-named single woman with the surname Corp. I have not been able to identify Walter in the 1911 census return.

Walter died on 26 July 1955 at Hetton le Hole, Co. Durham.


  • 1928 Colnbrook
  • 1930 Hartley
  • 1932 Leeds III
  • 1935 Tamworth
  • 1936 Coventry
  • 1938 Pateley Bridge
  • 1941 Castleford B St
  • 1947 Leicester Hinckley
  • 1949 Birmingham Belmont
  • 1950 Supernum
  • 1951 Redcar &c (Ac)
  • 1954 Hetton


Methodist Minutes 1956/175

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

Note: There is some confusion regarding Walter’s birth date. The obituary records 1905. His birth was recorded in Q3, 1904. The 1939 register gives his birth date as 6 August 1906.

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