Fly Sheets

A series of anonymous papers, circulated to WM ministers between 1844 and 1849. They were critical of what they called 'centralization' - some leading ministers staying too long in office, and in London; of Mission House extravagance; of the Connexional Committee and of the Stationing Committee. On almost every page Jabez Bunting's name appeared in a bad light. They were answered in 1849 in five 'Papers on Wesleyan Matters', published by the Book Room. These were also anonymous and even more scurrilous than the Fly Sheets, which were reprinted as a result. Instead of answering the complaints, Conference set about trying to discover the author(s). James Everett was accused, declined to answer the charge in the absence of evidence, and was expelled with two others. This led to the eventual formation of the United Methodist Free Churches.

  • Samuel Dunn, Recollections of Thomas Jackson and his Acts (1873) pp.14-17
  • Benjamin Gregory, Sidelights on the Conflicts of Methodism (1898)
  • E.C. Urwin, The significance of 1849, Methodism's Greatest Upheaval (1949)
  • O.A. Beckerlegge, The United Methodist Free Churches (1957)
  • John C.Bowmer, Pastor and People (1975), pp.145-61
  • A History of the Methodist Church in Great Britain, vol.4 (1988) pp.472-3, 486-91
  • C Alan Parker, '1849 - and all that!', in Paul Bolitho (ed.), Silver Jubilee Miscellany 1965-1990 (Wesley Historical Society, West Midlands Branch, 1990), pp.64-69
  • David Whitehead, Autobiography (Helmshore, 2001) pp.172-79