Wiffen, Albert John (1905-2004)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

ALBERT JOHN WIFFEN: born in Chelmsford, Essex, on 4th February 1905, and baptised at Hall Street Primitive Methodist Church, the third of four sons. He left school aged thirteen to join the staff of the County Architect. At the age of sixteen the Circuit Local Preachers’ Meeting invited him on to the Plan as an Exhorter. He was received on to Full Plan as a Local Preacher in 1923. He entered Hartley College in 1928 to begin a three-year course, but encouraged by his distinguished tutor, Dr A S Peake, he extended his studies by a further two years and was awarded a BA degree. As a probationer John served for two years in St Ives, in the Hunts Mission, and then for a year at Market Drayton. Here he met Muriel Foster, elder daughter of the postmaster. He was ordained in 1936, and stationed in the Deal Circuit. 

John and Muriel were married on 10th October 1936. In 1939 they moved to the Thetford Circuit, just as the Second World War broke out. They were allotted evacuees and had soldiers billeted. At the end of the war they moved to the Downham Market Circuit, and then to the Weardale Circuit. John served as Superintendent in the Wigton and Kirkoswald Circuits; and finally in the single station circuit at Alston. In all these places, John’s ministry was a blessing: faithful, gracious and encouraging. 

In 1971 John and Muriel retired to Armathwaite. Sadly, after less than three years’ retirement, Muriel died from cancer following several months of suffering. At the age of eighty-two John returned to his native Chelmsford and then, in 2001, at the age of ninety-six, he moved into the care of Queenswood Methodist Home in Beeston, Nottingham. 

John is remembered for his lively mind and keen memory. John and Muriel had no children of their own but their nephews, nieces and their families meant a great deal to them. John followed their lives and progress very attentively, especially in his later years. He had a wonderful gift for writing letters, which was greatly appreciated by all those with whom he kept in contact. John died after a short illness on 10″ January 2004 in the ninety-ninth year of his age and the seventy-first year of his ministry.


Albert was born on 4 February 1905 at Chelmsford, Essex, to parents Samuel Wiffen, a postman (1911) and Annie Gilder.

He married Muriel Rose Foster (1903-1974) on 10 October 1936 in the Wycombe Registration District, Buckinghamshire.

Albert died in January 2004 at Nottingham, Nottinghamshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1933 President’s List
  • 1934 Hunts Mission
  • 1935 President’s List
  • 1936 Deal
  • 1939 Thetford
  • 1945 Downham Market
  • 1950 Weardale
  • 1956 Wigton
  • 1961 Kirkoswald
  • 1967 Alston
  • 1971 Carlisle (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 2004/53

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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