Boardman, Richard
c. 1738-1782; e.m. 1763

WM itinerant, probably born at Warrington in 1737 or 1738. By 1759 he was a shoemaker in Liverpool and had joined the Liverpool society.

At the Leeds Conference of 1769, shortly after his wife and child had died in tragic circumstances at Barnard Castle, he and Joseph Pilmore offered to go as the first British preachers appointed to America. On his way from Leeds to Bristol he preached at Monyash, Derbys, on 'Jabez was more honourable than his brethren' (1 Chron. 4:9). A young woman, Mary Redfern, found spiritual comfort in the sermon and when she later married William Bunting in Manchester called her son Jabez. Boardman's American ministry extended from Philadelphia to New York and into New England, where in 1772 he formed a small society in Boston that did not survive. Perhaps through periodic ill-health his leadership of the American connexion was relatively ineffective. He seems to have been more gifted as a pastor than as a pioneer. Following the arrival of Francis Asbury, he returned to English and Irish circuits in 1774 and died in Cork on 4 October 1782 after a seizure which left him blind.


'Pious; - fine temper, and good sense. - Greatly beloved. - Eminently useful… Preached the night before his death.'

Wesleyan Takings (1840), p.325

  • Charles Atmore, Methodist Memorial (1801) pp.58-61
  • John P. Lockwood, The Western Pioneer: or Memorials of the Lives and Labours of the Rev. Richard Boardman and the Rev. Joseph Pilmoor (1881)
  • William Moister, Missionary Worthies 1782-1885 (1885) pp.1-3
  • E.S. Bucke (ed.), The History of American Methodism (Nashville, 1964) vol.1 pp.89-91
  • R.H. Gallagher, Pioneer Preachers of Irish Methodism (Belfast, 1965), pp.15-17
  • Frank Baker, From Wesley to Asbury: Studies in Early American Methodism (1976) pp.86-94
  • John H. Lenton, in Methodist History, 44:2 (January 2006) pp.125-28