Antliff brothers

PM ministers and scholars. Dr. William Antliff (1813-1884; e.m. 1830) was born on 6 December 1813 at Caunton, Notts.Called into the ministry at 16, he served mainly in the East Midlands and Lancashire. Largely self-educated, he became proficient in the ancient languages, developed into a considerable public speaker, launched the periodicals The Christian Messenger and The Child's Friend, and published a number of books, including a life of Hugh Bourne. He was awarded a DD by Middletown (Methodist) University, Ct. He was Connexional Editor 1862-1867 and became first Principal of the Sunderland Theological Institute, 1868-1881. He became a teetotaler and was vice-president of the United Kingdom Alliance. He was President of the PM Conference in 1863 and 1865 and died on 7 December 1884.

His brother Dr. Samuel Antliff (1823-1892; e.m. 1840) was born at Caunton on 5 July 1823 and ministered in East Midland circuits, except for two years (1874-1876) in Australia and New Zealand. He was a powerful preacher, lecturer and temperance advocate, and as Missionary Secretary 1869-1874 he travelled widely in Canada, the USA and Australasia. He was President of the Canadian Conference in 1871 and 1874, of the British Conference in 1873 and of the New Zealand Conference in 1875. He was Secretary of the General Missionary Committee in 1878 and Treasurer of the Mission Fund in 1880, and played an important role in founding the PM Connexional Fire Insurance Company. As an advocate of improved education, he supported the founding of Elmfield College and the Sunderland Theological Institute. He died on 2 February 1892.

Of William Antliff's sons, Dr James Cooper Antliff (1844-1920; e.m. 1862), served mainly in the East Midlands. While superintendent of the Edinburgh Circuit 1870-1874, he graduated MA at the University, the first PM minister to gain a degree by examination. He moved to Canada in 1878, where he had a distinguished ministry. From 1880 until the Union of 1884 he was connexional Editor.

Another son, Samuel Robert Antliff (1851-1927) entered the Congregationalist ministry and, following in his father's footsteps, was founder and first secretary of the Congregationalist Fire Insurance Society.

Samule Antliff's son F.S. Antliff was architect of Watchorn Memorial PM chapel, Alfreton (1927-28) and of Draycott PM church (the memorial chapel for his father. He was also the architect for the Dean Street Chapel in Derby.


'Dr. William Antliff … was a tall, stately person, my own ideal of a Principal, kindly and considerate of the men (such as wre prepared to work) with a pawky kind of humour, which he doled out for our ewdification. He did not, however, succeed as a tutor, and Mr. Greenfield in later years remedied the defect.'

Rev. Silas E. George, quoted in WHS Proceedings, 30 p.118

  • F.H. Hurd, Earnest Men: Sketches of eminent Primitive Methodists, ministers and laymen(1872) pp.149-58, 204-15
  • G.J. Stevenson, Methodist Worthies(1884-86), 5 pp.748-58
  • Joseph Ritson, The Romance of Primitive Methodism(1909) pp.250-54
  • A.Wilkes & J. Lovatt (1942) pp.79-81
  • B.A.M. Alger, History of the Derby District Affiliated Free Churches (1901), p.118
  • Dean Street Methodist Church: Centenary Celebrations March 1906 - March 2006 Our Yesterdays, Our Todays and our Tomorrows, p.4