Wainwright, William (1842-1871)


William was born in Norfolk in 1842, where his father, also called William Wainwright, was a Primitive Methodist Minister.

He died before his father, at the age of 28, on 21 June 1871. This caused some confusion, with two ministers of the same name, and he was omitted from the list of Primitive Methodist ministers compiled by Leary.

William began working as a grocer’s and draper’s assistant, before entering the ministry at the age of 22.

In 1870 he married Mary Ann (nee Fry), whom he had met at Newbury. She was a widow almost 10 years his senior, whose first husband died in 1865 at the age of 34, leaving her with two small children. It is likely that William conducted the funeral.

William is buried with Mary Ann (1833-85) and her first husband William Thompson (1831-65) in Newtown Road Cemetery, Newbury.


1865  Newbury
1867  Southampton
1870  Banbury

Obituary in PM Magazine, 1872

Rev. William Wainwright, jun., was born at Yarmouth in the year 1842. His parents, being religious, sought to bring up their son in the fear and admonition of the Lord. It may be said of him as of Timothy, “He knew the Scriptures from his youth, which were able to make him wise unto salvation.” In childhood he was affectionate and obedient; in youth he feared falsehood and loved truth. He was always interested in the cause of God and his people, and found no pleasure in the company of evil doers. When about fifteen years of age he voluntarily wished to decline a situation to all appearances very advantageous, in a worldly sense, because he feared the constant association with those who feared not God might have a tendency to draw him away from the path of virtue. If through these influences he lost his love for the Sunday-school and the means of grace, he said he would never be what he desired to be – a Christian man.

At sixteen years of age he left home for the first time and entered a household where he enjoyed all the privileges of a Christian home. He soon became Secretary of the Sunday-school, and to all appearances lived an outwardly moral life, but felt nothing of the saving power of the glorious gospel of Christ. He often felt the strivings of God’s Spirit and formed good resolutions, but did not fully dedicate himself to God. One Sabbath he was called upon to address the school. When he stood up he was seized with such trembling. The thoughts rushed across his mind “How dare I stand here attempting to point these dear children to the Saviour when I myself am unsaved. Pretending to lead these tiny feet in the narrow way, while I am travelling in the broad road that leads to death.” He tried to say a few words and sat down feeling himself a guilty, lost, and ruined sinner. For some time he felt the burden of sin intolerable to be borne. Through the influence of his parents, the preaching of God’s word, and earnest believing prayer he obtained salvation.

Having presented himself to God, a living sacrifice, his time and energies were employed in doing his will. From this time till he entered regular ministry he became a zealous local preacher. In the year 1865 he was taken out to travel and pledged by the Newbury circuit. Here he laboured for two years with acceptance and profit, and some will be the crown of his rejoicings. His next station was Southampton; here he was my colleague for three years. During our station here we purchased the chapel in the town of Romsey, which had been lost to the Connexion for nine years. Brother Wainwright was appointed to reside in this town. During his twelve months’ residence here, in conjunction with the other circuit ministers and local preachers, he succeeded in securing a considerable congregation, a society of thirty members, a Sabbath-school, and also in reducing the debt on the chapel. In the year 1870 we were stationed together at Banbury. Here he laboured for about three months with much profit to our people, but in November he was laid aside by consumption, from which he never recovered. By his own request he removed to Newbury, where he remained, gradually growing weaker and weaker, till June 21st, 1871, when he fell asleep in Jesus, aged twenty-nine years. During his illness he felt and manifested great anxiety to be restored to health that he might preach the gospel and labour for the salvation of souls. But when he drew near the end and knew there was no hope of recovery, he felt complete resignation to the Divine will, and that all was right with the Almighty.

On Tuesday, June 27th, the mortal remains of this servant of God were deposited in the Newbury cemetery, the circuit ministers and the writer performing the burial service in the presence of a numerous concourse of friends. There was one trait in his character which I wish to notice, and which is worthy of the imitation of all young ministers, and that was the willingness with which he sought to promote the work of God. Of him it might be said “What his hand found to do, he did it with his might.” A more willing colleague I never had, nor expect to have. He has left behind to mourn their loss, a widow, a faithful father, and an affectionate sister, but they sorrow not as those without hope.  T.P.

Newbury Weekly News, 29 June 1871

The funeral of the Rev. W. Wainwright, Primitive Methodist Minister, took place on Tuesday at the Cemetery, the remains of the deceased being followed by several ministers and local preachers. The service in the chapel was read by the Revs. J. Richards and G. Shore, and the ceremony at the grave by the Rev. D. Harding; the Rev. T. Powell, of Banbury, delivered an address. The deceased was 28 years of age, and had been six years in the ministry, two years being spent at Newbury. The funeral sermon will be preached on Sunday evening next at the Primitive Methodist Chapel

The funeral arrangements were conducted by Messrs. Lucas and son.

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