Wilkinson, Wilfred Reuben (1871-1953)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1917
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1921
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1926
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1928
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1926

Early years

Wilfred was born in 1871 at Leeds, Yorkshire, to parents Enoch and Louise. Both parents were Primitive Methodists. Enoch, General Manager of the Leeds Co-operative Society for thirty years, helped to found the Harehills Avenue Society, where he was treasurer until his death. Wilfred was baptised on 17 March 1872.

Wilfred trained as a teacher, serving his apprenticeship at Saville Green Board School, Leeds. Teaching opened his way and he became known as a local preacher of promise. He entered Hartley College in 1891.


Wilfred served as Connexional Temperance Secretary in the period 1914-1919. He was one of the founders of the Temperance Council of Churches.

Wilfred became Book Steward in 1921, earlier than anticipated following the unexpected death of his predecessor, Rev M T Pickering.

His obituary records  that Wilfred exercised a fearless and forceful ministry, compelling attention wherever he went. His main passion was preaching, and he brought to it a well-stored and questing mind, enriched by a deep experience of the things of God. His Yorkshire upbringing, as revealed in his speech, proclaimed rather than betrayed him, and his keen sense of humour and powers of homely illustration commended his message to his people. His appeals gripped, stimulated, and converted many, and his wise counsel and advice were always at the disposal of those in need.


Wilfred authored the following.

What a teacher ought to know – Morse Lecture, 1920

Religious Experience – Hartley lecture, 1928

Gilded sixpences: talks to boys and girls

A manual of instruction for church membership


Wilfred married Alice Coates  (abt1881-1958) in the summer of 1905 at Pudsey, nr Leeds, Yorkshire. Census returns identify one daughter.

  • Edna Rose (b1906) – married Albert Edward Smith, a chartered accountant, in 1931 at Chesterfield

Wilfred died on 3 February 1953 at The Royal Hants County Hospital, Winchester, Hampshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1892 Walthamstow
  • 1893 Hull II
  • 1895 Huddersfield
  • 1896 Clayton West
  • 1897 Brighouse
  • 1900 Pudsey
  • 1903 Hull I
  • 1905 Hull II
  • 1909 Chesterfield
  • 1913 Nelson
  • 1918 Hull VII
  • 1921 Book Steward
  • 1926 Chesterfield
  • 1931 Bridlington
  • 1935 London Ilford (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1917/411: 1920/386; 1921/565: 1926/298; 1928/411

Methodist Minutes 1953/142

R Newman Wycherley, The Pageantry of Methodist Union, 1932, p399

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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