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Rev. Arthur William Edwards
1854 - 1910

EDWARDS Derivation


Arthur William Edwards was born in Mattishall on the 20th July 1854 the son of Samuel and Elizabeth Edwards. He was educated at the Academy, Ely and the Primitive Methodist College, Sunderland. He was eventually ordained and became the Reverend Arthur Edwards, a Methodist Minister. He laid one of the foundation stones in the Methodist Church at Prickwillow. He married Sarah M. Church, the daughter of the Rev. Robert Church. They had a family of four sons and two daughters. He was the minister at the following places in year order:

Arthur William Edwards - His Circuits
  • 1874 - Ipswich
  • 1882 - East Dereham
  • 1893 - Wisbech
  • 1876 - Cambridge
  • 1885 - Manea
  • 1902 - Norwich (Circuit II)
  • 1878 - Kings Lynn
  • 1887 - Downham Market
  • 1903 - Luton (Circuit II)
  • 1880 - Swaffham
  • 1890 - Watton
  • 1908 - Wymondham

    In 1888 Arthur Edwards was the Methodist Minister at London Road Methodist Church, Downham Market, Norfolk. From 1903 he was the minister at Luton responsible for the second circuit which incorporated Brache Street, Park Town and High Town and lived at 32 Rothesay Road, Luton.

    This is an extract from the Primitive Methodist Magazine 1910.

    "The Rev. A. W. Edwards was born at Mattishall, East Dereham, in 1854, yet another of the many sons Norfolk has given our ministry. His ancestry, for at least four generations, consisted of godly people. For fifty years his father was a local preacher, class leader, and societysteward. Converted in 1870, in the village chapel at Prickwillow, Ely, Mr. Edwards began preaching, with his father, next year. In 1873 he was recommended for the ministry, spent a year at Sunderland Institute, and in 1874, began his probation at Ipswich. Completing his probation at Cambridge, he was next stationed at King's Lynn, where he married a daughter of the Rev. Robert Church. Swaffham and East Dereham were his next circuits. By this time his constructive abilities began to show themselves, and at Manea and Downham, his following spheres, new schoolrooms were built at Manea, Upwell, and Downham.(The importance of the child has ever had a first place in his ministry.) Passing to Watton Circuit he was instrumental in building Ashill Chapel. Each of his stations has shown financial and numerical advance, and at Wisbech, where he stayed for nine great years, the circuit income doubled, missionary revenue trebled, membership increased, the ministerial staff enlarged, and three schoolrooms and four chapels were built; the town of March was re-missioned and a healthy church established in fine premises. From Wisbech he went to Norwich II, and thence to Luton II. Here he effected considerable improvement in chapel properties (in one case to the tune of £1,000), saw a fine work of grace add many to the membership, and established our church in the town of St. Albans. He has now commenced a hopeful term at Wymondham. Amid years so full of circuit work Mr. Edwards has served his District as candidates' Examination Secretary, Sunday School Secretary (five years), and Missionary Secretary (six years). Twice he has been G.C.D. and four time delegate to the Conference.


    Though he has, already, such a record, he is not physically robust; he has ever done a strong man's work without a strong man's body. Highly strung and sensitive, he yet never flinches from distance, weather, or difficulty. Intensely in earnest he expects earnestness in others, and has exceptional faculties for inspiring it. He has a keen eye for promise in men and is an efficient recruiting officer for "the plan". His ministry to children induced one District to invite him to undertake that branch of service.He is pronounced Temperance advocate, an able political speaker, a man of unusual initiative power, a loyal colleague, a steadfast friend, "given to hospitality". His deeply spiritual nature is felt in his sermons, which are fruitful in conversions and remarkable in detail of application. He has ever been helped by a wife who not only welcomes his friends to his home, but has often rendered him more public assistance.We are thankful that Mr. Edwards is only fifty-five years old, that we may hope this chapter of successful service is "to be continued in our next"., May it be long before we read "Finis".


    A few months later the following extracts can be found in the Minutes of the Methodist Conference 1910.

    "The tragic suddenness of Mr. Edwards death, the news of which was wired to us at Tunstall on the Conference Sunday......Our friend was born at Mattishall, on the East Dereham circuit, in 1854. ..... For four generations at least his forebears were godly people.... He became a local preacher on the Ely circuit, and in 1874 went to the Sunderland Institute, beginning his ministry on the Ipswich station the following year. He subsequently travelled several circuits...probably his best work was done on Wisbech Station, on which he laboured nine years....In 1908 he succeeded me in the Superintendency of the Wymondham circuit....... Our friend was in his usual health, and doing his usual work, on Saturday, June 18th, when he had a sudden seizure, lapsed into unconsciousness, and after a few hours passed peacefully away.....

    On the day of the funeral the townspeople showed the utmost sympathy with the bereaved and great respect for the dead. Large numbers attended the service in the chapel. Business was suspended, windows were shaded. Scores of people, in reverent, sorrowful silence, lined the streets, followed the funeral car, and crowded around the grave in that beautiful cemetery......

    Mr. Edwards leaves a widow (the daughter of the Venerable Robert Church), four sons and two daughters.....

    Arthur T. Wardle"

    His grave in Wymondham Cemetery has no headstone. A conflict arises as "Cox's County Who's Who Series" lists him as still being alive in 1912 although this may be due to the period of time needed to compile such a book.

    Reference site John Rylands University Library

    The first references to the name Edwards were found in the Domesday Book 1066 as Eaduuardus, Eduuard(us) and Æduuardus; Edwardus serviens 1206 in the Curia Regis Rolls for Cornwall; William Edward’ 1219 in the Curia Regis Rolls for Suffolk; Cristina Edwardis 1279 in the Rotuli Hundredorum for Huntingdonshire; John Edwards 1498 in Chirk. The Old English name Éadweard means ‘prosperity/happiness guardian’.

    'A Dictionary of British Surnames' by P.H. Reaney,
    Second Edition, published by Routledge & Kegan Paul, second edition, ISBN 0 7100 8106 5

    Edward, first name, 'prosperity/happiness guardian', Old English. The confessor preceded George as patron saint of England. Edward(e)s '(son) of E-',-s was the 20th commonest surname in England and Wales in 1853 (it is found especially in Wales and the south), and 32nd in the USA in 1939. Edwardes is the family name of the barons Kensington. Edwardson 'son of E-'.

    'The Penguin Dictionary of Surnames' by Basil Cottle, second edition, ISBN 0 14 051032 X

    EDWARDS Photographs

    Arthur William Edwards

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