Williams, John Lewis (1868-1940)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

J. LEWIS WILLIAMS: born at London in 1868. Shortly afterwards his parents moved to Leeds, where their home was the meeting-place of the society out of which grew the Meanwood Road Circuit. Before he reached fourteen years of age he received from Dr. Samuel Antliff a note authorizing him to take part in public services. After training at Hartley College he began his ministry in 1891, and for forty-one years served with great faithfulness. 

He was an eager student and an earnest preacher. He loved expounding the Scriptures. His messages were clear and profound and were often used in moving people to decide for Jesus Christ. He had the joy of witnessing many conversions. He gave much time and thought to the training of local preachers. He was passionately interested in the work overseas, and kept himself so well informed that often it was taken for granted that he was a returned missionary. His spiritual experience was so deep and fresh, his mind so clear and active that those who knew him as counsellor, teacher, and friend were highly privileged. 

He became a supernumerary in 1932 and made his home in Bristol. In spite of failing health he was always ready to serve. He was a Christian gentleman, and his life adorned the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. He entered into rest on July 9, 1940.


Lewis was born on 13 September 1868 in London, to parents John Lane Finch Williams, a skinner (in leather trade) (1871), and Emma Heron.

He married Mina Beatrice Smith (12/11/1871-??) in the summer of 1895 in the Bury St Edmunds Registration District, Suffolk. Census returns identify six children.

  • Adeline Ethel Louise (1896-1956) – a music teacher (1939)
  • Herbert Lewis Octavius (1898-1941) – a PM minister
  • Sybil Ophelia Mina (1899-1987) – married Henry Craik-Smith, a monumental mason’s manager (1939), in 1927
  • John Cyril Victor (1901-1970) – a roofing contractor’s managing clerk (1939)
  • Harold Roy Llewellyn (1903-1985) – an electrical engineer & contractor (1939)
  • Ronald Sylvester Dennis (1905-1957) – an education officer (1949), working in Africa

Lewis died on 9 July 1940 at Bristol, Gloucestershire.


  • Hartley
  • 1891 Hammersmith
  • 1893 Wickhambrook
  • 1895 Liskeard
  • 1896 Plymouth
  • 1898 Mere
  • 1901 Wellingborouggh
  • 1905 Reading
  • 1908 Redhill
  • 1911 Bristol V
  • 1914 Cardiff 1
  • 1917 Lydney
  • 1921 Dartford
  • 1924 Manchester VII
  • 1927 Sheffield Atter
  • 1931 Hindley
  • 1932 Bristol (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 1940/184

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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