Rev Joseph Bentley was my great grandfather. He was born near Barnsley, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, in 1840 and died in Wimbledon, Surrey, in 1903. Joseph was a Wesleyan Methodist minister for 36 years. During this time he served Methodist communities in 17 different places in England, from Durham to Cornwall. The constant upheaval of moving from place to place must have made life very difficult for his wife, Emma, and seven children.
Joseph's obituary appeared in the 1904 Minutes and Yearbook of the Methodist Conference:
JOSEPH BENTLEY: born in August, 1840. He was converted at the age of eighteen, entered the ministry in 1864, and died on August 7th 1903. His life was chiefly spent in the Circuits of rural Methodism, where he laboured with much energy and zeal. He was loyal to our discipline, and endeavoured to inculcate that spirit among the people to whom he ministered. His preaching was generally appreciated, and his genial disposition won him many friends. The end of his life was shadowed by failing eyesight, which created much depression, but his faith in God and his trust in the atonement of Christ were unfailing.