Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: September 23, 2019
Webpage updated: January 04, 2020




William Hamilton Jollow Priest was born at Millbrook, in Cornwall, on November 9th 1895, the son of Mr Richard Priest and his wife, formerly Miss Bessie Ann Jollow.  At the time of the 1891 census his father was described as an 'Implement Engineer's Clerk'.

Young William was educated at Plymouth College and from there entered his father's ironmongery business, Messrs Priest's (Plymouth) Limited.  He was then apprenticed to Messrs Davey, Sleep and Company Limited at Laira.

After serving as a member of the Plympton Saint Mary Parish Council for seven years, in 1925 he was elected to Plymouth Borough Council as a representative for Charles Ward.  Mr Priest became chairman of the Establishment Committee, a member of four other Council committees, a member of the Labour Employment Committee, served on the committee of the Plympton Agricultural Show, and was a vice-president and later president of the Plymouth Albion Rugby Football Club.  In addition he was the Land Tax Commissioner for Plympton and Ermington.

In 1927, on his 32nd birthday, November 9th, he was chosen to be the Mayor of Plymouth for 1927-28.  He was the youngest Mayor of the Borough by five years and was serving when the Borough was elevated to the status of a City.

At the time of his appointment Mr Priest was managing director of Messrs Priest's (Plymouth) Limited and Messrs Davey, Sleep and Company Limited.

Mr Priest was a trustee of the Homoeopathic Hospital and in 1934 was elected chairman of the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce.  At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 he was appointed chairman of the Plymouth Food Control Committee and remained until it was disbanded in 1954.  In 1946 he became Deputy Lord Mayor to Alderman W Harry Taylor and in 1947 was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE), becoming a Companion (CBE) in 1950.

Mr William Hamilton Jollow Priest died in the South Devon and East Cornwall Hospital, Greenbank, Plymouth, on Wednesday April 24th 1957, after a long illness.  He was 61 years of age and left a widow, a son and a daughter.