Courtice, William
1792-1866; e.m. 1820

BC itinerant, born at Buckland Brewer, Devon. When William O'Bryan separated himself from the Connexion in 1829 there were several enduring financial problems that needed to be resolved, and Courtice helped guide the Connexion through those problems in the Connexion in the years following the departure of O'Bryan. He was recognised as 'one of a trio of men who for many years exercised an unrivalled influence in the Denomination', the others being James Thorne and William Reed. It was well that it was recognised by others, for he did little to draw attention to himself. As long as two years was regarded as the normal maximum appointment, he never sought to stay longer; yet as soon as three years was accepted he only twice stayed less. He was Connexional Treasurer 1853-1865 and Missionary Society Treasurer in 1827 and 1844-1865. Under his guidance the debt of more than £1,400 on the Book Room was dealt with and the Missionary Society's income rose from just over £1,000 to more than £5,000. He was President in 1834 and again in 1856.

As against his financial acumen he was regarded as 'simplicity itself – in dress, speech, manner'. Unusually in the pages of F.W. Bourne's History (1905), Bourne appends to the notice of his death a personal tribute ('the first man who gave me the impression that complete self-effacement and self-forgetfulness were attainable in this life'). He married a widow with children who predeceased him by just over a year. He died in Devonport on 2 January 1866.

  • F.W. Bourne, The Bible Christians (1905)