Wills, Nicholas Mann (1901-1985)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

NICHOLAS MANN WILLS: born at Devonport on 4th October 1901. He spent two pre-collegiate years at March in the Wisbech Circuit before college life at Hartley from 1925. Probation years were completed in the Swindon II Circuit where he started the new Society and Church at Pinehurst. Sent to Frome as superintendent he amalgamated the Frome, Radstock and Coleford Circuits. Then he went to Calne where the Melksham Forest development became the target for his talents. Pontefract (Micklegate) was where he spent the war years. followed by Middlesborough where he re-opened Linthorpe Road after war-time closure. Darlington (South) at Coniscliffe Road was followed by the superintendency of the, York (Clifton) Circuit. Here his task was to amalgamate his Circuit with Monkgate. He also extended Clifton and Haxby and supervised the new Church at Stockton Forest. From York he went to Thirsk where his first wife died. Here he was responsible for the reconstruction of the schoolroom at St James and a new school hall at Sowerby. 

He retired to Middlesbrough in 1964 and remarried. “Ness” Wills was a lively and delightful character who was deeply loved by all who knew him. His considerable abilities in his hobbies — handicrafts. fishing, gardening, music — made him a great host for the many parties which he loved. These gifts also enhanced his pulpit ministry and pastoral skills. 

He died on 29th January 1985 in the eighty-fifth year of his age and the sixtieth year of his ministry.


Nicholas was born on 4 October 1901 at Devonport, Devon, to parents Nicholas Mann Wills, a colliery engine fitter (1911), and Elizabeth Ann Richards.

He married Lilian Williams (1902-1964) in the summer of 1929 at Penzance, Cornwall.

He married Lilian M Wright (1923-2004) in late 1964 in the Middlesbrough Registration District, Yorkshire.

Nicholas died on 29 January 1985 at Yarm, Cleveland.


  • 1923 Wisbech
  • 1925 Hartley
  • 1927 Swindon II
  • 1929 Frome
  • 1933 Calne
  • 1938 Pontefract Mission
  • 1944 Middlesbrough
  • 1950 Darlington S
  • 1955 York Clifton
  • 1960 Thirsk
  • 1964 Middlesbrough (S)


Methodist Minutes 1985/91

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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