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List of presidents of the Methodist Conference

This is a chronological list of presidents of the Methodist Conference of the Methodist Church of Great Britain and its predecessor churches.

William Thompson was the first President of the Methodist Conference after John Wesley's death.

John Wesley, founder of Methodism, organised and presided over the first Methodist Conference, which was to become the church's governing body. This article lists his successors, who are elected by the British Methodist Conference to serve a one-year term. Presidents follow Wesley's example in travelling the length and breadth of Great Britain, visiting and preaching in local Methodist chapels.[1] Presidents also have an important role representing the Methodist Church in the wider world (notably appearing at the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in Whitehall).[1][2]

The first century of British Methodism was characterised by multiple splits from the original Wesleyan Methodist Church. Other Methodist branches, such as the Primitive Methodist Church, Bible Christian Church and the Methodist New Connexion had their own conferences and presidents. The various branches were re-united in 1932.

John Wesley and the early conferenceEdit

Methodism traces its roots to the 18th-century Anglican preacher John Wesley and, to a lesser extent, his brother Charles. The Wesley brothers began an evangelical revival within the Church of England. They adopted unconventional and controversial practices, such as open-air preaching, to reach factory labourers and newly urbanised masses uprooted from their traditional village culture at the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Over time, John Wesley organised converts locally, founding Methodist "societies", organised into "circuits", and linked in a "connexion". John and Charles Wesley, along with four other clergy and four lay preachers, met for consultation in London in 1744. This set a precedent for future conferences; subsequently, the annual conference became the ruling body of the Methodist movement.

In 1773, John Wesley had designated John William Fletcher to be his successor, however he outlived Fletcher. In 1784 Wesley made provision for the governance of Methodism after his death through the Yearly Conference of the People called Methodists. He nominated 100 people and declared them to be its members and laid down the method by which their successors were to be appointed.

Wesley himself was the original president of the Methodist Conference, but after his death it was agreed that in future, so much authority would not be placed in the hands of one man. Instead, the President would be elected for one year only, to sit in Wesley's chair.[1]

Thomas Coke, twice President of the Conference in 1797 and 1805, was the first Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Joseph Benson was elected President twice, in 1798 and 1810.

A list of Wesley's early successors was produced by the Wesleyan Methodist Church, listing all Presidents up to 1890.[3] The My Methodist History website has compiled all Methodist presidents from the 1932 deed of union to 2000.[4] and the My Primitive Methodist Ancestors site has collated the list for the Primitive Methodist presidents from their first conference up to union of 1932.[5] The gap in the Wesleyan records is filled from entries in the Methodist Who's Who of 1912[6] and the Wesleyan Historical Society Dictionary of Methodism[7] The Methodist Church of Great Britain website has a list of Presidents (and lay Vice-Presidents) since 2000.[8] Additional information on twentieth century Presidents is provided by the Manchester University's Methodist Archives and Research Centre.[9]


Year of election President of Wesleyan Methodist Conference
1791 William Thompson
1792 Alexander Mather
1793 John Pawson
1794 Thomas Hanby
1795 Joseph Bradford
1796 Thomas Taylor (DNB00)
1797 Thomas Coke LL.D
1798 Joseph Benson
1799 Samuel Bradburn
1800 James Wood
1801 John Pawson
1802 Joseph Taylor SEN.
1803 Joseph Bradford
1804 Henry Moore (DNB00)
1805 Thomas Coke LL.D
1806 Adam Clarke M.A LL.D
1807 John Barber
1808 James Wood
1809 Thomas Taylor (DNB00)
1810 Joseph Benson
1811 Charles Atmore
1812 Joseph Entwisle
1813 Walter Griffith
1814 Adam Clarke LL.D
1815 John Barber
1816 Richard Reece
1817 John Gaulter
1818 Jonathan Edmonson M.A
1819 Jonathan Crowther

1820–1932 Wesleyans and PrimitivesEdit

(During the early years of the Primitives' conference the presidents were not recorded, and may have been elected for each day of the conference. A later record indicates that amongst those serving as Primitive Methodist presidents before 1849, there were, in addition to those listed below, Hugh Bourne, William Garner, Thomas Bateman, Joseph Bailey, George Tetley, Sampson Turner.[10])

Year of election President of Wesleyan Methodist Conference President of Primitive Methodist Conference
1820 Jabez Bunting A.M D.D George Handford
1821 George Marsden
1822 Adam Clarke LL.D
1823 Henry Moore (DNB00)
1824 Robert Newton D.D
1825 Joseph Entwisle Thomas King
1826 Richard Watson James Bourne Esq
1827 John Stephens
1828 Jabez Bunting A.M.
1829 James Townley D.D. James Bourne Esq
1830 George Morley
1831 George Marsden
1832 Robert Newton
1833 Richard Treffry SEN
1834 Joseph Taylor (2ND)
1835 Richard Reece Thomas King
1836 Jabez Bunting D.D
1837 Edmund Grindrod
1838 Thomas Jackson
1839 Theophilus Lessey
1840 Robert Newton
1841 James Dixon D.D (DNB00)
1842 John Hannah D.D James Bourne Esq
1843 John Scott John Garner
1844 Jabez Bunting D.D William Clowes
1845 Jacob Stanley William Clowes
1846 William Atherton William Clowes
1847 Samuel Jackson John Garner
1848 Robert Newton D.D Thomas King
1849 Thomas Jackson Stephen Longdin
1850 John Beecham D.D John Garner
1851 John Hannah D.D John Garner
1852 John Scott John Garner
1853 John Lomas Joseph Bailey Esq
1854 John Farrar John Garner
1855 Isaac Keeling George Tetley
1856 Robert Young Sampson Turner
1857 Francis A West Thomas Bateman Esq
1858 John Bowers Sampson Turner
1859 Samuel D Waddy D.D William Garner
1860 William W Stamp D.D John Petty
1861 John Rattenbury William Garner
1862 Charles Prest William Harland
1863 George Osborn D.D William Antliff
1864 William L Thornton M.A James Garner
1865 William Shaw William Antliff
1866 William Arthur M.A George Lamb
1867 John Bedford Thomas Bateman Esq
1868 Samuel Romilly Hall William Lister
1869 Frederick James Jobson D.D. Phillip Pugh
1870 John Farrar Moses Lupton
1871 John H James D.D James Garner
1872 Luke H Wiseman M.A James Macpherson
1873 George T Perks M.A Samuel Antliff
1874 W Morley Punshon LL.D William Rowe
1875 Gervase Smith D.D Robert Smith
1876 Alexander M'Aulay John Dickenson
1877 William Burt Pope D.D Thomas Smith
1878 James Harrison Rigg D.D Henry Phillips
1879 Benjamin Gregory D.D Thomas Newell
1880 Ebenezer Evans Jenkins M.A D.D Colin C McKechnie
1881 George Osborn D.D Charles Kendall
1882 Charles Garrett Joseph Wood
1883 Thomas M'Cullagh William Cutts
1884 Frederic Greeves D.D George Lamb
1885 Richard Roberts Ralph Fenwick
1886 Robert Newton Young D.D John Atkinson
1887 John Walton M.A Thomas Whitehead
1888 Joseph Bush Thomas Whittaker
1889 Charles Henry Kelly Joseph Toulson
1890 William Fiddian Moulton M.A D.D[9] John Hallam
1891 Thomas Bowman Stephenson[9] Joseph Ferguson
1892 James Harrison Rigg[9] James Travis
1893 Henry John Pope[9] John Stephenson
1894 Walford Green[9] John Wenn
1895 David James Waller John Watson
1896 Dr Marshall Randles William Jones
1897 William L Watkinson James Jackson
1898 Hugh Price Hughes[9] John Smith
1899 John Edward Radcliffe William Goodman
1900 Thomas Allen Joseph Odell
1901 William Theophllus Davison H Bickerstaffe Kendall
1902 John Shaw Banks Thomas Mitchell
1903 Marshall Hartley Thomas H Hunt
1904 Silvester Whitehead Robert Harrison
1905 Charles Henry Kelly George E Butt
1906 Albert Clayton George Parkin
1907 John Smith Simon Henry Yooll
1908 John Scott Lidgett James Pickett
1909 William Perkins Sir William P Hartley
1910 John Hornabrook Samuel S Henshaw
1911 Dr Henry Haigh Edwin Dalton
1912 Frederick Luke Wiseman Thomas Jackson
1913 Samuel Francis Collier Joseph Ritson
1914 Dr Dinsdale Thomas Young George Bennett
1915 Richard Waddy Moss John D Thompson
1916 Dr John Greenwood Tasker Arthur T Guttery
1917 Simson Johnson James T Parr
1918 Samuel Chadwick William A Hammond
1919 Dr William Theodore Aquila Barber James Watkin
1920 John Thomas Wardle Stafford Matthew P Davison
1921 Dr John Alfred Sharpe Samuel Horton
1922 John E Wakerley Henry J Taylor
1923 Thomas Ferrier Hulme George Armstrong
1924 Amos Burnet Joseph T Barkby
1925 John Holland Ritson James Lockhart
1926 William Russell Maltby Albert L Humphries
1927 William Hodson Smith George Armitage
1928 Dr John William Lightley John G Bowran
1929 William Francis Lofthouse James H Saxton
1930 Dr Herbert Brook Workman William M Kelley
1931 Charles Rider Smith Edward McLellan
1932 Dr Henry Maldwyn Hughes William Younger


In 1932 each denomination held a conference which elected their own interim presidents, followed a few months later by a unified conference at which a new president was elected.

Year of election President of Methodist Conference
1932 John Scott Lidgett
1933 Frederick Luke Wiseman
1934 William Younger
1935 William Christopher Jackson
1936 Charles Ensor Walters
1937 Robert Bond
1938 William Lansdell Wardle
1939 Richard Pyke
1940 Henry Bett
1941 Walter Henry Armstrong
1942 Walter James Noble
1943 Leslie Frederick Church
1944 Wilbert Francis Howard
1945 Archibald Walter Harrison
1946 Robert Newton Flew
1947 William Edward Farndale
1948 Ernest Benson Perkins
1949 Harold Burgoyne Rattenbury
1950 William Edward Sangster
1951 Howard Watkins-Jones
1952 Colin Augustus Roberts
1953 Donald Oliver Soper
1954 William Russel Shearer
1955 Leslie Dixon Weatherhead
1956 Harold Crawford Walters
1957 Harold Roberts
1958 Norman Henry Snaith
1959 Eric W Baker
1960 Edward Rogers
1961 Maldwyn L Edwards
1962 Leslie Davison
1963 Frederic Greeves
1964 A. Kingsley Lloyd
1965 W. Walker Lee
1966 Douglas W. Thompson
1967 Irvonwy Morgan
1968 E. Gordon Rupp
1969 Brian Stapleton O'Gorman
1970 Rupert E. Davies
1971 Kenneth L. Waights
1972 Harry O. Morton
1973 Donald R. Lee
1974 J. Russell Pope
1975 Alfred Raymond George
1976 Colin M. Morris
1977 B. Arthur Shaw
1978 Donald English
1979 William Gowland
1980 Kenneth G. Greet
1981 John A. Newton
1982 Norwyn E. Denny
1983 Amos Samuel Cresswell
1984 Gordon Emerson Barritt
1985 Christopher Hughes Smith
1986 Nigel Langley Gilson
1987 Dr William Rhys Davies[11]
1988 Richard Granville Jones
1989 John James Vincent
1990 Donald English
1991 Ronald William Cecil Hoar
1992 Kathleen Margaret Richardson
1993 Brian Edgar Beck
1994 Leslie John Griffiths
1995 Brian Richard Hoare
1996 Nigel Thomas Collinson
1997 John Brian Taylor
1998 William Peter Stephens
1999 Stuart John Burgess
2000 Inderjit Bhogal
2001 Christina Le Moignan
2002 Ian White
2003 Dr Neil Richardson
2004 Will Morrey
2005 Tom Stuckey[12]
2006 Graham Carter
2007 Dr Martyn Atkins
2008 Stephen Poxon
2009 David Gamble
2010 Alison Tomlin
2011 Leo Osborn
2012 Mark Wakelin
2013 Ruth Gee
2014 Kenneth Howcroft[13]
2015 Steven Wild
2016 Dr Roger Walton
2017 Loraine Mellor
2018 Michaela Youngson
2019 Dr Barbara Glasson

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "The President and Vice-President". Methodist Church in Britain. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Out of the Silence – the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday". Joint Public Issues Team. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  3. ^ Wesley and his successors - a centenary memorial
  4. ^ Presidents of The Conference since 1932 Accessed 2 September 2014
  5. ^ My Primitive Methodist Ancestors: Presidents of Conference. Accessed 2 September 2014
  6. ^ The Methodist Who's Who. 1912 ed. published by Charles H Kelly, London.
  7. ^ Wesleyan Historical Society Dictionary of Methodism. Accessed 2 September 2014
  8. ^ "Presidents and Vice-Presidents of The Methodist Conference since 2000". Methodist Church in Britain. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g The Methodist Archives Biographical Index Archived 2014-02-24 at the Wayback Machine, The John Rylands University Library, The University of Manchester Archive Accessions, 1977–2011
  10. ^ History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion, J H Kendall, (undated, 1888?)
  11. ^ Vautrey, Richard (24 May 2010). "The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference: North Lancashire District visit". Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Tom Stuckey - Home". Retrieved 17 April 2014. Tom Stuckey was President of the British Methodist Conference in 2005
  13. ^ "Ken Howcroft". Methodist Church in Britain. Retrieved 17 April 2014.

External linksEdit