Woodward, William (1879-1904)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference by Joseph Squires

WILLIAM WOODWARD.— When the sad news of the disappearance of Brother William Wooodward from the mail-boat plying between Weymouth and the Channel Isles reached us it awoke feelings of profound sorrow, that a life of such great promise should close in so sad and mysterious a manner. 

Born at Stainforth, in the Crowle Circuit, on March 18th, 1879, he was in his 26th year when the end came so sadly. Converted in the Sunday School when about 14 years of age, he early manifested signs of a vigorous Christian life and the promise of a useful career. The Christian Endeavour Society afforded an opportunity for the exercise of his gifts, and when about 19 years of age his name was placed on the Local Preachers’ Plan. In this capacity he rendered useful service, and gave such promise for the future that the circuit authorities directed his attention to the wider sphere of the ministry. 

In the month of January, 1901, he accepted an invitation to the Workington Circuit as hired Local Preacher, where he continued to labour with acceptance and success for eighteen months. Being recommended for the ministry, he was guided in his preparatory studies by the Rev. F. Richardson. Having passed the candidates examination with great credit, he was stationed by the Conference of 1902 as ministerial supply at Guernsey. During the course of the year the Rev. E. Warburton left the Island for a voyage to New Zealand, and brother Woodward had sole charge of the station. He was stationed to the Redhill Circuit in 1903. His ministry was all too short, for it terminated in a tragic manner early in December, 1904. 

Suffering from nervous prostration, he was released from work for a brief rest, and journeyed to Guernsey for a change; he remained there for a few days, and left Guernsey on Saturday, December 10th, for London. For some unknown reason he changed his plans while en route, and returned by the same boat from Weymouth. He was last seen in the early hours of Sunday, December 11th, as the steamer was nearing the Casquets rocks. This tragic conclusion to a bright and promising career must remain among the unexplained mysteries.


William was born on 18 March 1879 at Stainforth in Thorne, Yorkshire, to parents Thomas Woodward, a mariner, and Jane Sykes.

The 1901 records William was a lay PM evangelist at Harrington, Cumberland.

William died on 11 December 1904 at sea.


  • 1902 Guernsey
  • 1903 Redhill


PM Minutes 1905/45

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

No Comments

Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this page!

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.