William Balls

Photo:Primitive Methodist Magazine 1913

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1913

Photo:Primitive Methodist Magazine 1913

Primitive Methodist Magazine 1913


By Geoff Dickinson

Early years

William was born in 1853 at Southwold, Suffolk. His father died when William was a few months old and his mother, Sarah, was left to struggle hard to provide for herself and the orphaned children. She was a member of the little PM Society at Southwold.

William was converted in the Robert Street Chapel, Plumstead, after moving there. At seventeen, William was placed on the plan as a local preacher. Two years later, William became writing master at Elmfield College under the governorship of Rev Thomas Smith.

Intense application to study produced an early breakdown in health, and in 1877, William left the college for more active circuit work. He was sent as honorary lay preacher to Aylsham circuit, and was called into ministry from that circuit. Rev Mark Warnes was the superintendent of the Aylsham station at that time.


His obituary records that William never cared for the glare of the footlights, but loved the quiet of the study and the plodding regular ministry of pastoral work. He delighted to present the great evangelical truths of the Gospel and his finest efforts were in a little village chapel on a week evening.


William married Emma Susanna Warnes (1855-1918) in the summer of 1881 at Aylsham, Norfolk. Emma was a daughter of Rev Mark Warnes. Census returns identify two of three children.

  • Eleanor Fanny (b1882) - married John Robert Loveless, a commercial traveller
  • William Mark (1887-1968) - a grocer’s assistant (1911)

William died on 17 June 1914 at Norwich, Norfolk.


  • 1877 Aylsham
  • 1878 Bury St Edmunds
  • 1879 Wymondham
  • 1882 Rockland
  • 1883 Colchester
  • 1884 Kirby le Soken
  • 1886 Aylsham
  • 1889 Briston
  • 1894 Rockland
  • 1896 Swaffham
  • 1898 N Walsham
  • 1902 Briston
  • 1905 Ely
  • 1908 Newmarket
  • 1910 Wallingford
  • 1913 Winchester


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1913/294; 1918/140

PM Minutes 1914/257

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

This page was added by Geoff Dickinson on 12/05/2014.

If you're already a registered user of this site, please login using the form on the left-hand side of this page.