York, Royston William (1907-1978)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

ROYSTON WILLIAM YORK: born at Whitecroft, Forest of Dean, on 18th September 1907. His family was closely associated with the former Lydbrook Primitive Methodist Circuit and his early life was greatly influenced both by his parents and by an uncle who was a leader in the local community as well as in the circuit. In his boyhood, Royston York showed signs of academic ability, and his call to the ministry was encouraged by those in the circuit who recognized his gifts. He frequently paid tribute to the influence of George R. Brake, who was Superintendent of the circuit at the time the call came to him. At Hartley College the early promise came to fulfilment and he left college to begin what, in retrospect, is regarded by all who knew him as an exceedingly distinguished ministry. 

He served in the following circuits: Bournemouth (I]), Gloucester and Cheltenham, Sheerness, Sittingbourne, Helston, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Central and Sandyford), Burton-on-Trent (George Street and Trinity), London Mission (East Ham) and Leigh-on-Sea where, after being Superintendent, he remained as an active supernumerary. He was at one time Secretary of the Synod of the former Derby District. 

Royston York was a minister in the classic mould of pastor and preacher. If it was true that he lived for the pulpit, this is not to imply that he neglected the other responsibilities of the ministry. It is to stress the supremacy he gave to preaching. Having experienced the soft grandeur of the Wye Valley, he added to an appreciation of beauty in its many forms an extensive knowledge of literature. He was a student from the first. Both to his sermons and his conversation he brought the wealth of his deeply informed mind. As a preacher, few of his contemporaries matched his eloquence. His use of the English language in his sermons, and particularly in his prayers, was matchless. As a pastor, and particularly as a colleague, he was warm and compassionate. He had the capacity to listen, to know when to be silent and when to offer counsel and encouragement. His theology, though enriched by reading, was rooted in experience. He made Jesus real to others because he was real to him. 

His wife Edith shared his cultural interests and his faith and together they created a home where the best things were cultivated. He died on 21st January 1978 in the seventy-first year of his age and the forty-eighth year of his ministry.


Royston was born on 18 September 1907 at Whitecroft, West Dean, Gloucestershire, to parents Thomas William York, a colliery official (1911), and Esther Mary Joyner. He was baptised on 24 November 1907 at Bream, Gloucestershire.

He married Edith Brazier (b1914-) in late 1935 in the Bournemouth Registration District, Dorset. Birth records identify two children.

  • Gillian A (b1937)
  • Adrian R (b1942)

Royston died on 21 January 1978 in the Southend on Sea Registration District, Essex.


  • Hartley
  • 1930 Bournemouth II
  • 1932 Gloucester
  • 1934 Sheerness
  • 1937 Sittingbourne
  • 1940 Helston
  • 1946 Newcastle Central
  • 1951 Burton on Trent Geo
  • 1952 Burton on Trent Trinity
  • 1959 London M.E. Ham
  • 1966 Leigh on Sea
  • 1973 Leigh on Sea (S)


Methodist Minutes 1978/100

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

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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