The first Methodist to visit the Island was John Murlin in 1758, but John Crook in 1775 made a greater impact, instituting the Manx Conference and personally examining all candidates for local preaching. John Wesley visited in 1777 and when refused the church at Peel preached on the beach. In 1781 he was very impressed by the 22 preachers he met and by the Manx singing, but not by the Manx language. A Manx hymn-book was not published until 1799. George Holder (stationed there 1788-90, 1792-97 and 1806) contributed much to Manx Methodism. Despite initial opposition membership grew rapidly; by the turn of the century there were more members in the Island than in London, rising to 3,500 by 1834. (Robert Currie notes the survival of pre-Christian religion here, as in Cornwall, as a factor favouring Methodism's success.)
John Butcher introduced PM in 1822, establishing 18 preaching places in two years. Both branches of Methodism became firmly rooted in Manx society. An MNC Home Mission station was formed in 1886. The work prospered mainly in Douglas and Ramsey and survived until about the early 1920s.
At the time of the 1851 Religious Census there were 59 WM and 26 PM chapels, with one WR meeting house. The total attendances during Census Sunday were 14,376. Methodism strongly influenced Manx social and political life. In the early twentieth century 14 out of 24 members of the House of Keys were Methodist, 12 of them local preachers.
Entry written by: FC
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