Chadwick, Samuel
1860-1932; e.m. 1886

WM minister, born of humble origins at Burnley on 16 September 1860. From 8 to 21 he worked, like his father, in the Oak Mount cotton mill, but studied in his free time to make up for his limited education. He was converted in 1870 and joined the WM church in 1875. His experience as a lay agent at Stacksteads in Rossendale before being accepted, at the second attempt, for the WM ministry in 1883, was normative for his later tactics. At Didsbury College the influence of Dr W. Burt Pope was great and he learned his technique of expository preaching while in Glasgow. He had a notable ministry at Oxford Place in the Leeds Mission (1894-1907), where he combined a fervent evangelistic and teaching ministry with Bible study and a deep concern for poverty and deprivation. He also developed Lenten devotions, being expert in Catholic spirituality. Membership rose from 294 in 1894 to 957 in 1907.

He became the leading Methodist evangelical preacher of his time, linking with the holiness tradition on which he had a profound influence, not least in his concern for social action. Though remaining suspicious of the 'higher criticism', his first four years, spent in Scottish circuits, made him sympathetic to moderate biblical scholarship and he was one of those attacked by the Wesley Bible Union. From 1907 to 1932 he was Tutor, then from 1913, Principal of Cliff College. His regime was firmly Methodist with a happy, almost Franciscan style of spirituality. The 'Cliff Trekkers' of the 1920s were very much in the Chadwick style. The Southport Holiness Convention (the first meeting of which he attended in 1885) was a significant part of his influence.

As Chairman of the Sheffield District, 1911-1926, he pioneered the South Yorkshire Coalfields Mission (1912). He was elected to the Legal Hundred in 1902, was President of the Conference in 1918 and later President of the National Council of Evangelical Free Churches. He was editor of the holiness quarterly Experience from 1890 and from 1905 of Joyful News, where much of his writing is to be found. As a 'high church evangelical Methodist', he roundly criticized the Churches for missing the opportunity to evangelize the nation after World War I and for forgetting that learning without fervour and spirituality is deadening. He died at Cliff College on 16 October 1932. In 2015 a blue plaque was placed on the wall of Burnley Central Hall to commemorate his ministry.


'His evening services at Oxford Place [Leeds] were lefendary. Once he preached for one hour 20 minutes and intimated that he would close, but was urged from the congegation, "Go on, go on!" '

'At that time the Cliff Principal had a personal maid. One of them, Elizabeth, had had hardly any contact with the Church. Early one morning she was in the principal's study doing the dusting and it was still rather dark. He came in unexpectedly and asked, "Who's there?" to which she replied, "It's only Elizabeth, sir." Chadwick said, "Don't let me ever hear you say that again - 'It's only Elizabeth'. You're as important as the King of England. You're a child of God." '

'The Rev. Paul Hulme [Elizabeth's son] says, "Chadwick's preaching had a profound effect upon my mother and gave her a lifelong love of the Scriptures… But I have a strong feeling that it was his genuine Christian kindness that influenced her more than anything initially. The fact that he treated her as if she mattered was something quite new to her. For example, when he realised that she hadn't got an umbrella, when it was raining and he wanted her to go and post a letter, he gave her the money to buy one - the first umbrella she'd ever owned." '

Steve Wild in Methodist Recorder, 2 October 2015

  • Methodist Recorder, Winter Number,1897, pp.43-7; Methodist Recorder, 18 October 1928; 27 October 1932
  • Times, 18 October 1932
  • Norman G. Dunning, Samuel Chadwick (1933)
  • K.F. Bowden, Samuel Chadwick and Stacksteads(1982)
  • David H. Howarth, How Great a Flame: Samuel Chadwick, 50 years on (Ilkeston, 1983)
  • Herbert B. McGonigle, Samuel Chadwick, Preacher and Evangelist (2017)
  • Oxford DNB