William Davis Walters (1839-1913; e.m. 1865), WM minister, was born at Monmouth on 16 October 1913, the son of a brewer. He married Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev. Jabez Rought (1813-1889; e.m. 1835) and granddaughter of the Rev. Thomas Rought (1772-1845; e.m. 1799). She was killed in the street in October 1902 while trying to save a child from being run over. After 24 years in circuit, he served as the first General Secretary of the London Mission 1889-1911, a crucial period in its history. He was a dedicated pastor and skilful fund-raiser. He died at Highgate on 14 June 1913.
As a young minister in the Sherborne Circuit he became a close friend of two local preachers, Charles and Edward John Ensor and the two families became connected by marriage, one of his daughters marrying a son of the latter. Another of his daughters married Eric S. Waterhouse and a third was the mother of Bishop Norman C. Sargant. Two of his sons became Anglican priests: George Ernest Walters (1869-1949), a Prebendary of Wells Cathedral, and Thomas Walters (1882-1947), a Canon of Exeter Cathedral.
Three sons entered the WM ministry:
(1) Charles Ensor Walters (1872-1938; e.m. 1895), was born on 18 December 1872. After training at Richmond College, he became assistant to H.P. Hughes in the West London Mission and at the age of 29 succeeded him in 1902 as Superintendent. He devoted 38 years of his ministry to London, becoming General Secretary of the London Mission and Extension Fund in 1921 and was specially loved by the poor. As a councillor in the St. Pancras borough he won the approval of his fellow councillor, George Bernard Shaw. Elected a London County Councillor in 1900, in his capacity as chairman of the Public Health Committee he carried out a scheme for the replacement of slum property by model housing. He was President of the Conference in 1936. Combining the gifts of pastor, preacher, administrator and advocate, he was one of the most popular platform speakers of his day. He edited The Open-Air Speakers' Handbook (1914). He died on 17 December 1938.
(2) Arthur Walters (1879-1964; e.m. 1901) was born at Dalston and educated at Kent College, Canterbury and Richmond College. He became an army chaplain in 1915 and was wounded at Gallipoli. He wrote books on Hugh Price Hughes (1907) and John Wesley (1909).
(3) Dr Harold Crawford Walters (1886-1958; e.m. 1909), the youngest of 15 children, was born at Highgate, London. During a pre-collegiate year in the Portsmouth Mission, he drew increasing congregations in the town hall. He trained at Richmond College from 1907 to 1910; then served as a missionary in Burma (now Myanmar) from 1910 to 1930, apart from two years as a chaplain during World War I. He was Chairman of the Bradford and North Lancashire Districts and was President of the Conference in 1956, the first to visit two other continents (Africa and North America) during his presidential year. He died on 24 February 1958.
Another son Edward Walter Walters (1876-1955) trained as a dentist and became quite a prolific author. He published a memoir of his father entitled Energy of Love (1914) and one of his brother, Ensor Walters and the London he Loves (1937). His other titles included The Spirit of the Slums (1908), Confessions of a Book-lover (1913) and The Book of Art: the story of man's artistic achievement through the ages (1932).
C. Ensor Walters:
'Ensor Walters had a rich, musical voice. I remember how he read the lesson at the special service in St. Paul's Cathedral to celebrate the Bi-Centenary of Methodism. I remember going to speak at a meeting in High Wycombe. A minister offered prayer. Immediately I was struck by his voice, which I thought I knew. '"Who are you?" I said afterwards. "Oh," he said, "I'm Arthur Walters, Ensor Walters' brother." He also had the Walters' voice.'
Agnes E. Slack, People I Have Met and Places I Have Seen (1941) pp.96-7
'He had the appearance of an ecclesiastical bulldog. On the Monday evening he lectured on his work. It was more or less the same lecture every year, but none the worse for that. At a certain point he would tell a particularly pathetic story and wipe away a tear. I used to station myself near the front and wait for that tear. If it failed to appear, I was distinctly disappointed.'
Kenneth Greet, Fully Connected (1997), p.16
Entry written by: JAV and KGG
Comment on this entry