Edwards, Lillie

A shadowy figure, Lillie Edwards' only claim to be remembered is as the last remaining Bible Christian 'Female Preacher' at the time of the union of the three smallest Methodist bodies in 1907. She is first listed in the BC Minutes of 1894 as one of three 'Female Preachers on Trial' at Sevenoaks (the others being A[nnie] E. Carkeek and L[ily] L. Oram, plus one other who had been in the ministry since 1890, E. Giles, at Mitcheldean, Glos. By the following year: 'Lily Oram has resigned and Annie E. Carkeek is to be employed as an evangelist.' Both disappear from the records at that point, leaving Lillie Edwards as the sole survivor. In 1901 she was stationed at St. Mawes, Cornwall and from 1903 to 1907 was listed as at Guestling Thorne, near Hastings. In 1907 she is still listed after the Itinerant Preachers as 'Female Special Agent', followed by three 'Female Missionaries' in China. By 1908 her name has disappeared, and 'Supply' has replaced it under Hastings, presumably because neither of the other uniting Churches, the MNC and the UMFC, approved of women ministers.

  • C. Paul Burnham and Colin Short, 'Lillie Edwards, a female Methodist superintendent minister from 1894-1911' in WHS Proceedings, vol.60 pp.64-73