Greeves family

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A WM ministerial dynasty, beginning with John Greeves (1791-1846; e.m. 1815), born on 18 May 1791 at Lynn Regis (i.e. King's Lynn). He trained for the ministry at Hoxton. He published four books, including Maria's Legacy (1823), which ran to six editions, and a life of William Cumberland, a local preacher. He died on 25 June 1846.

John W Greeves   Click to enlarge
All three of his sons entered the WM ministry. (1) John Wakefield Greeves (1823-1894; e.m. 1846), was Financial Secretary to the Home Mission Committee 1876-94 and died on 2 July 1894. His daughter Edith Greeves (1852-1947) published a number of books and wrote the hymn 'Lover of children, I come unto Thee' in the 1950 School Hymn-book. (2) Francis Wakefield Greeves (1825-1894; e.m. 1849), born on 10 October 1825, was secretary of the Conference Memorials Committee for 22 years and died at Plymouth on 18 December 1894. (3) Dr. Frederic Greeves I (1833-1895; e.m. 1855).

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Frederic, born at Bedford on 30 April 1833,was educated at Kingswood School, and received a DD from Victoria University, Toronto. He began his ministry in Paris, then at Hinde Street, London, and became well known in the Connexion. He became Chairman of the Oxford District in 1872, was appointed to the Legal Hundred in 1875 and was President of the 1884 Conference. He was Principal of Southlands College, 1886-95. He published a book of sermons, In Remembrance (1894). He died on 10 March 1895. His sons John Henry Greeves (17 November 1863 - 19 October 1924; e.m. 1886) and Edward Greeves (1871 - 10 July 1942; e.m. 1894) continued the succession.

Edward in turn had three ministerial sons. (1) Frederic Greeves II (1903-1985; e.m. 1925), born at Sidcup on 1 June 1903, graduated at Manchester and was Assistant Tutor at Didsbury College 1924-1928. At Oxford he was a founding member of OXFAM. He was a broadcaster and chaired the West of England Religious Broadcasting Advisory Committee. He returned to Didsbury in 1946, becoming Principal in 1949. He delivered the Fernley Hartley Lecture in 1956 on The Meaning of Sin and the Cato Lectures in 1960 on Theology and the Cure of Souls. He was President of the 1963 Conference. He died on 23 February 1985. (2) Hubert Trevor Greeves (1905-1970; e.m. 1928), born in London on 12 September 1905, was a gifted pianist and poet. He died at Pontlyfni, near Caernarvon on 23 March 1970. (3) Derrick Amphlet Greeves (1913-1991; e.m. 1935) was born at Bowdon, Cheshire on 29 June 1913. He was an RAF chaplain during World War II and minister of Westminster Central Hall, 1955-1964. A gifted preacher and broadcaster, he served on the Central Religious Advisory Council and wrote many sermons for the Methodist Recorder. He died at Langwathby near Kirkoswald on 14 March 1991.

There were also seven members of the family who entered Anglican orders, including Roger D. Greeves, at present chaplain at Robinson College, Cambridge.

  • Methodist Recorder, 14 & 21 March 1895; 23 Oct 1924; 16 July 1942; 4 July 1963; 9 April 1970; 7 March 1985; 28 March 1991
  • Conference Handbook, 1963
  • Wesley and his Successors (1895) pp.247-48