Wiseman, Dr Frederick Luke
1858-1944; e.m. 1881

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WM minister, born on 29 January 1858 at York, the son of Luke H. Wiseman. Most of his early ministry was spent as the first Superintendent of the Birmingham Mission (1888-1913). He was then pulled out to become secretary of the connexional Home Mission Department]] (1913-1938). After one year replacing Dinsdale T. Young at Westminster Central Hall, from 1940 to 1944 he was minister of Wesley's Chapel, London. He was President of the WM Conference in 1912 and of the Methodist Conference in 1933. He had a keen interest in hymnody and served as Chairman of the committee preparing the 1933 Methodist Hymn Book, which included eleven tunes he himself had composed (only two of which survived in Hymns and Psalms). Following its publication, he travelled extensively throughout the Connexion, preaching and commending the new book. In 1931 he delivered the Drew Lectures on Charles Wesley, Evangelist and Poet. He died in London on Sunday, 16 January 1944, shortly after preaching that day at Wesley's Chapel and Radnor Street.

One of his sons, Christopher Luke Wiseman (1893-1987), was born on 20 April 1893. He was a contemporary of J.R.R. Tolkien at King Edward's School, Birmingham and one of his closest friends throughout his life. He was a mathematician with a post-graduate degree in Physics. He was headmaster of Queen's College, Taunton 1926 to 1953, and at one point was persuaded by the governors not to transfer to the HM Inspectorate. Despite this being a period of financial stringencies and wartime restrictions, he saw through a number of improvements to the premises and encouraged extra-curricular activities. His musical talents enriched the musical life of the school; he learned the oboe and clarinet in order to enrich the woodwind section of the school orchestra. It is recorded that he could take an advertisement from the Methodist Recorder, sit down at the piano and sing it straight off as an anthem. Two of his hymn tunes were in the 1933 Methodist Hymn Book, but did not survive in Hymns and Psalms. He died at Milford-on-Sea on 25 July 1987.

Another son, Frederick </strong> ('Fritz')<strong> Daniel Wiseman, was editor of the Methodist Recorder.


F. Luke Wiseman:

'I remember Dr. F. Luke Wiseman whose face looked as if it were chiselled from fine marble and who rarely preached for less than fifty minutes, holding his congregation enthralled from first to last.'

Kenneth Greet, Fully Connected (1997) p.16

F.D. Wiseman:

'Between the wars, passengers on the top deck of buses in London's Fleet Street would sometimes glimpse at the top window of 161 the striking features of an aristocratic-looking gentleman with fair hair and long sideburns (many years before this became a twentieth-century fashion), busy at his desk, smoking a cigarette in a long holder... Unlike his successors, he never went to the annual Methodist Conference, his features were not connexionally familiar, he was almost completely the traditional anonymous editor, and not until his premature death in 1953 was his authorship of the "Notes of the Week", which was widely read far outside church circles, generally known... He was essentially a shy man, yet he served on county and city councils in Hertfordshire, and was a magistrate, in which capacity his judgments were invaluable, especially in juvenile courts. He had a natural rapport with youth.'

Douglas Cock, Every Other Inch a Methodist', 'pp.18-19

  • Conference Handbook, 1912, 1933
  • Methodist Recorder, 13 July 1933; 20 & 27 January 1944
  • H.J. Channon, History of Queen's College, Taunton (n.d.) pp.114-28, 134-8
  • John Garth, Tolkien and the Great War (2003)