Watson, William (1868-1940)

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1923
Primitive Methodist Magazine 1923

Early years

William was born in 1868 at North Stainmore, Westmorland. Both his parents died before he was eleven. He was brought up by his grand-father, John Watson, a farmer.

William was brought up within the PM Church, but it was not until he was eighteen that he made ‘the great decision’. In little over twelve months he was on the plan taking preaching appointments on ten or more Sundays per quarter. Within a short time, William was engaged conducting Special evangelistic Missions in his own and adjoining circuits. After much pressure, a reluctance due to a genuine innate modesty, and a high ideal of the office, was overcome, and he sat the candidates’ examination.


William’s obituary records that his evangelistic passion was enriched by a deep love of books, and through years of self-discipline he became a true scholar and an outstanding preacher.

After his retirement in 1933, William visited South Africa, where he also did much preaching.

Quiet, modest, studious, and kindly, he was a great friend and truly loved.


William married Elizabeth Coates (1870-1931) in the summer of 1897 at Brough, Westmorland. Census returns identify five children.

  • John Christopher (b1899) – a technical chemist (1938); emigrated to South Africa
  • William Herbert (1901-1956) – an electrical engineer (1940)
  • Elizabeth Margaret (b1902)
  • Ivy Rosamund (1905-1984) – married Rupert Cyril D’Arcy Gifford in 1935
  • George Francis (1907-1993) – an elementary school teacher (1940)

William died on 1 February 1940 at Bingley, Yorkshire.


  • 1894 Clapton
  • 1897 Stroud
  • 1900 Clapton
  • 1906 Carlisle
  • 1910 Leeds V
  • 1913 Buckley
  • 1918 Bradford VI
  • 1925 Bradford V
  • 1933 Bradford (S)


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1923/250

Methodist Minutes 1940/174

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers



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