Wood, William Jefferson B.A. (1905-1975)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

WILLIAM JEFFERSON WOOD, B.A.: born at Coalbeck Farm, Bassenthwaite, on 2nd August 1905. He was educated at Carlisle Grammar School and Manchester University. After some five years in the building and engineering industries he responded to a call to the ministry and was accepted by the Primitive Methodist Church.

He had hoped to be a medical missionary but there were no openings at that time so he readily agreed to work in education. After training at Hartley and Kingsmead colleges he was sent in 1931 to Nigeria where he gave forty years of devoted service to that country and its people. His first assignment was to the Methodist College at Uzuakoli where he showed such outstanding ability that he was appointed Principal of the college after only eight years. It was in this period that a vast scheme of expansion was carried out. The Public School section became a college in its own right and two teacher training colleges were established. He ably piloted the changes. Many Nigerians now holding high office in political and public life can testify to the way in which he inspired and helped them. 

From 1953 to 1957 he was in charge of the Methodist Schools Administration over a very wide area and his great gifts were further developed. During the next seven years he was the General Secretary of the Christian Council of Nigeria and educational advisor to the Protestant Missions. His ecumenical understanding, his penetrating analysis of difficult situations and his skill in negotiation led to his appointment as Secretary of the Nigeria Church Union Committee. The greatest disappointment of his life came when at the last moment the union that he had worked so hard to achieve was not consummated. 

In the last four years of his missionary career he gave unstinted service to the Bible Society in the country in which he was so greatly loved and respected. He became a supernumerary in 1971 and settled at Westbury in the Trowbridge and Bradford-on-Avon Circuit. For him retirement meant continued activity in the service of the Kingdom. He preached regularly and with great acceptance in all the churches in the circuit and in many churches of other denominations. Under his guidance and encouragement the local Bible Society Auxiliary enjoyed a new lease of life. In spite of his many achievements he was an exceedingly modest man but nothing could hide his deep devotion to his Master. His intellectual and spiritual powers, his brotherliness and personal charm will long be remembered by all who had the privilege of knowing him. 

He died on 10th April 1975 in the seventieth year of his age and the forty-fifth year of his ministry.


William was born on 2 August 1905 at Coalbeck Farm, Cockermouth, Cumberland, to parents Joseph Jefferson Wood, an insurance superintendent (1911), and Jane Garner.

He married Alice Mary Mason (1906-1997) on 14 December 1933 at John Street PM Church, Sheffield, Yorkshire.

William died on 10 April 1975 at Westbury, Wiltshire.


  • Hartley
  • 1930 E Nigeria
  • 1957 Per Christ. Coun. Nigeria
  • 1963 Nigeria Conference


Methodist Minutes 1975/192

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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