Swift, Wesley Frank
1900-1961; e.m. 1924

Methodist historian and archivist, born in Reading on 17 November 1900. He worked as a railway clerk and then as a lay pastor before training for the ministry at Richmond College. He was a frequent contributor to the Wesley Historical Society's Proceedings, which he edited from 1946 and was British Secretary of the International Methodist Historical Society. After 36 years in circuit work, in 1961 he was appointed the first full-time Connexional Archivist and also the British editor of the Encyclopedia of World Methodism. He gave the WHS Lecture in 1947 on Methodism in Scotland and compiled an invaluable guide to historical sources, How to Write an Local History of Methodism (1954). His Ministers' and Laymen's Handbook (1946) was for many years the circuit minister's vade mecum. He was also interested in liturgical matters and was convener of the connexional Lectionary Committee. He died suddenly on 26 December 1961.

His brother Rowland Cook Swift, a sales representative and director of the Italian firm CIRIO, was a local preacher for fifty-seven years and for many years Treasurer and Registrar of the Wesley Historical Society. He wrote histories of Methodism in Warlingham (1978), Purley (1980) and Nottingham (1979 and 1982), and was awarded a posthumous MLitt by the University of Sussex for a study of Methodism in Sussex (1984). He died in November 1984.

  • Methodist Recorder, 4 Jan 1962
  • WHS Proceedings, 33 pp.90-93, 111