Leary, William

He was born at Tetney, Lincs on 5 November 1917 and grew up in Humberston, near Grimsby. After wartime service in the Navy he was accepted for the ministry and trained at Hartley Victoria College. After 15 years in circuit work, he resigned in 1962, but continued to serve as a local preacher. Having trained as a teacher at the Lincoln Diocesan Training College, he taught in two Lincoln schools and then became head of R.E. at the City School,Lincoln. From 1978 to 1989 he served as the Connexional Archivist and during that period, in 1981, was reinstated as a Supernumerary. He was also quite an accomplished pianist. He died on 1 September 2001.

He was a prolific writer on Methodist historical subjects, including, among many other local Methodist histories, books on Lincoln (1969), Boston (1972) and Louth (1981) and one on Lincolnshire Methodism (1988). He wrote a history of the Wesley Guild (1995) and was immensely industrious in compiling valuable reference lists and registers, e.g. of Primitive Methodist ministers (1990). He won the Eayrs Essay Prize four times. He was secretary to the Epworth Rectory trustees. A long-standing member of the Wesley Historical Society, for 40 years from 1968 he was its Exhibition Secretary and, with his wife Marion, manned the Wesley Historical Society's stall at Conference. In 1987 he gave the WHS Lecture, Man of One Book, on John Wesley's reading.

  • Methodist Recorder, 4 October 2001
  • WHS Proceedings, 53 p.137