Robinson. William

Pioneer of Primitive Methodism in Fernando Po (now Bioko) he was born on 17 April 1817 in St.Botolph’s Parish, London, to a father who had been a Philadelphian slave owner and who gave them their freedom before subsequently settling in London. William began to attend the Sutton Street PM Sunday School before going to sea about 1829. He served his apprenticeship on the ‘Valient’ under Captain Walker of Sunderland and progressed to become a sea captain about 1846. It is not known precisely when he became a Primitive Methodist but it was by August 1854 at Sutton Street (where the connexional publishing house was located). On moving to Liverpool in 1856 he joined the Macquire Street society in the Liverpool (Second) Circuit.

Many of his sea voyages were to Africa. On one of these on 23 June 1869 on the ‘Elgura’ bound for West Africa he was accompanied by a carpenter, Mr. Hand, society steward at Croston Street in the same circuit, who was a staunch teetotaller. In August the ship arrived at Santa Isabel on the island of Fernando Po and captain and hand began to preach to Fernandians in this strongly Roman Catholic Spanish colony. This led to an appeal to the General Missionary Committee and subsequently the Revs. Richard Burnett and Henry Roe were sent out.

Robinson died in Sierra Leone on 10 August 1872.

  • John Hall, Life on the Ocean; or memorials of Captain Wm. Robinson,

one of the pioneers of Primitive Methodism in Fernando Po (1874)


Entry written by: DCD
Category: Person
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