Ballard, Frank, DD
1851-1931; e.m. 1873

WM minister, gifted lecturer and debater, born in Chelsea in February 1851. His academic versatility included science, philosophy and several languages. At Headingley College he came under the influence of G.G. Findlay.He disliked the circuit system and on his appointment to Norfolk Road church, Brighton in 1891 persuaded the authorities to create a new one-church Norfolk Road circuit. The extension of his appointment for a fourth year in 1894 was made possible by the fiction of appointing a Supernumerary, William T. Brown, as Superintendent, with Ballard acting 'under the direction of the Chairman'. This led to a memorable debate in the 1905 Conference on the 'three-year rule'. Although appointed for a fifth year, he resigned from the WM ministry in January 1896 and from 1896 to 1901 served Congregational churches, but was readmitted at the Conference of that year. As 'Christian Evidence Missioner' from 1907 to 1922 he toured the country, using his skills as lecturer and debater to oppose the influence of rationalism and agnosticism. A controversialist rather than a scholar, though without personal acrimony, his many publications included The Miracles of Unbelief (1900) and the Fernley Lecture of 1916, Christian Reality in Modern Light. He died on 21 December 1931.

See also: Ministry - men who returned.


'The invitation to the Revd. Frank Ballard to remain a 4th year at Norfolk Road was the occasion of an exciting debate, and the appointment was only secured by an evasion of the rule limiting the term of Circuit residence to three years - a Note in the Minutes simply states that Frank Ballard shall reside in Brighton and act under the direction of the Chairman of the District … and there is nothing in the Minutes to show that Mr. Ballard has any connexion with Norfolk Road. This [was] a unique arrangement [and was] continued by [the 1895] Conference … after a memorable debate on the three-year limit of Ministerial appointments, in which Revd. H.P.*Hughes, Drs. *Rigg and Perkins. and others took part.'

A contemporary historian of Brighton Methodism

  • Times, 23 Dec 1931
  • Methodist Recorder, 24 Dec 1931
  • WHS (North East Branch), March 1997