Rev Benjamin Heseltine
Benjamin Heseltine was born Evenwood, County Durham in 1882 , the son of Frank and Elizabeth Heseltine. Benjamin was employed in 1901 a Coal Puller.
Heseltine entered the WM Ministry, training at Handsworth College. He served in Reeth, Northampton and Bedford St Mary Circuits. R Cooper in Memories of Methodism in Wilstead recalled Benjamin as being ‘tall and of a fine build’. He was also the first minister Cooper encountered ‘to have a powered vehicle to take him about’. This was a Douglas belt-driven motor cycle. However R Cooper notes that the bike’s acetylene lights ‘were always going wrong’. Mr Irons the Church Steward at Wilstead kept a tin of carbide in case of emergency in order to avoid further journeys home to Kempston without lights.
However, Mr Cooper also records the missionary work Heseltine carried out during his time in Bedford. This included a series of meeting held for a fortnight in which he was assisted by a team of Local Preachers. This was followed up by training a group of young men as Local Preachers, Sunday School Teachers and Society Stewards.
After leaving Bedford in 1923, Benjamin Heseltine was appointed by the church as Home Mission Connexional Evangelist. This work around the whole country continued for 17 years before he returned to Circuit work. These missions included; Wolverton (1927), Belfast (1932), Saltash (1933), Pilling (1937), Hebburn (1939). His Conference obituary states that ‘many were those whom he had the joy and privilege of leading to Christ in the campaigns that he conducted’. Heseltine retired from the South Devon Mission in 1950.
Benjamin Heseltine married Gwendoline M Dyke in 1925. The couple had 2 children. Benjamin Heseltine died in Milbourne Port, Somerset 8 November 1964.
Sources and References
Minutes of Methodist Conference 1965
Methodism in Wilstead – R Cooper
Census, Birth and Marriage records