Harrison, Dr Archibald Walter, MC
1882-1946; e.m. 1905

WM minister and historian, born on 20 August 1882 in Swindon. He was educated at Loughborough Grammar School and University College, Nottingham and trained for the ministry at Didsbury College. He served in World War I, first as a combatant, then as chaplain with the 2nd Devonshires. Having survived the Battle of theSomme, in 1921 he became Vice-Principal of Westminster College, succeeding H.B. Workman as Principal in 1930. He was President of the Conference in 1945, but the strain of the war years contributed to his sudden death in the middle of his year of office. He died at Peterborough on 8 January 1946.

He was a devoted student of Bunyan and the Puritans and cherished the evangelical Arminianism of the Wesleys. The thesis for his London DD was on Arminianism. He was a leading member of the Wesley Historical Society and in 1945 gave the WHS Lecture on The Separation of Methodism from the Church of England. He was a champion of Methodist Union in 1932 and his publications include The Evangelical Revival and Christian Reunion (the Fernley-Hartley Lecture, 1942) and two books on Arminianism'; also the closing chapters of his father-in-law's life of Wesley and a memoir of the Hosegood family whom he had known in Bristol.

His wife, Grace Elizabeth ('Elsie') Harrison (1886-1964), the daughter of Dr J.S. Simon, was trained in the Manchester History School under T.F. Tout and made her own distinctive contribution to Methodist biography and history. F. Brompton Harvey described her as 'one of our personalities, a sort of Lady Violet Bonham Carter of Methodism, gifted, eloquent, enthusiastic, a passionate partisan'. Her Son to Susanna: the private life of John Wesley (1937), written in idiosyncratic style, provoked widespread debate. Her other writings include Methodist Good Companions (1935) and the 1937 WHS Lecture Haworth Parsonage, in which she traced the influence of Methodism on the Brontës. She died at Croyde, North Devon on 22 December 1964.

  • Methodist Recorder, 10 & 17 Jan 1946; 7 Jan 1965
  • Conference Handbook, 1945
  • F.Brompton Harvey, Archibald Harrison, an appreciation (1946)
  • WHS Proceedings, 25 pp.65-7