Beckerlegge, Dr Oliver Aveyard
1913-2003; e.m. 1944

Methodist minister and scholar, born on 1 October 1913 in Sheffield, the grandson of a UMFC minister. He took his degree in French and German at Sheffield University and gained a doctorate for an edition of a medieval French text. Before World War II he taught English at Dusseldorf, Germany, and as a conscientious objector during the war taught in Derby.. After one year at Richmond College, he was sent into circuit, serving circuits as widely scattered as Scotland and Cornwall (where his family had originated). He retired to York in 1981 on health grounds, but was able to return to circuit work for a while as an active supernumerary and then full-time at Brigg. Physically, but not mentally impaired by a stroke in 1995, he died at Chesterfield on 18 February 2003.

He was forthright in expressing his convictions, both as an evangelist and as a controversialist.He was active in the Voice of Methodism Association, serving for eight years as its editor. His Free Methodist ancestry led him to take an interest in the more radical strands of Methodism's history, on which he published such important contributions as The United Methodist Free Churches: a study in freedom (the Wesley Historical Society Lecture, 1957) and United Methodist Ministers and their Circuits (1968). As an enthusiastic admirer of Charles Wesley, he was joint editor of The Unpublished Poetry of Charles Wesley (3 volumes, 1988-1992) and of Wesley's 1780 *Collection of Hymns in the Bicentennial Edition of John Wesley's Works (1983). He was honoured by being given a life membership of the Charles Wesley Society in 1991. He served on the editorial committee of Hymns and Psalms and compiled its index of Scriptural references. His autobiographical A Methodist Life was published in 2000.

  • Methodist Recorder, 22 May 2003