John Wesley passed through the city only once and without staying to preach, having battled his way from Chepstow through a severe hailstorm. In 1770 Richard Rodda visited from Brecon and was roughly treated as he attempted to preach near St Nicholas Church. A cottage meeting eventually led to a society which in 1804 rented the Assembly Room in East Street. Hereford was one of the Home Mission stations formed in 1807 at Thomas Coke's instigation. It became the Hereford and Ledbury Circuit in 1812. Bridge Street church (1829, extended 1866) was the centre of the Herefordshire Mission 1907-21. A second chapel, Holmes Road, was opened in 1879.

A small PM society was formed in 1826, but made little headway in the face of opposition. The arrest of John Morton (1809-52; e.m. 1829) for preaching in the open air evoked considerable local support and brought official (but not popular) hostility to an end. About 1830 a hayloft in Union Street was rented as a meeting place. The chapel in St Owen Street which replaced it in 1838 was rebuilt in 1880. Originally in the Pillowell Circuit, Hereford became a separate circuit in 1840. A second chapel in Chandos Street (replacing one in Clifford Street) was opened in 1909. Following Methodist Union in 1932, the amalgamation of the two circuits was completed in 1942. The WM and PM societies in the city centre, together with Holmes Road, united in 1967 in the St Owen Street premises, renamed St John's and with rebuilt ancillary premises.

  • Methodist Recorder, Winter Number, 1896, pp.64-70
  • William Parlby, A Brief Sketch of the Rise of Methodism in the County and City of Hereford (Hereford, 1929)
  • St John's Methodist Church, Hereford 1880-1980 (Hereford, 1980)

Entry written by: JAV
Category: Place
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