Manning family

The Rev. Charles Manning (1715-1799), vicar of St. Mary the Virgin, Hayes, Middx 1739 to 1757, was an active supporter of Methodism from 1742. He attended the Conferences of 1747 and 1748. His evangelical preaching drove many of his parishioners to Hillingdon church. John Wesley preached for him on various occasions, e.g. when he was seriously ill in 1749, and in 1750 noted a marked improvement in the deportment of his congregation. Charles Wesley and George Whitefield also preached for him. He is said to have officiated at John Wesley's marriage in 1751. He resigned on 8 February 1757, after which nothing is known of his career. His son, John Manning (1753-1845) was a godson of John Wesley who became a Methodist at the age of 12. He had three sons who were sculptors: John, Charles and Samuel.

Of the first, John Manning junior (fl.1830-1841), little seems to be known. His brother, Charles Manning (1776-1812), was a partner of John Bacon the younger. He is best remembered for his carving of the national monument to Captain George Hardinge RN in St Paul's Cathedral, which was voted for by the House of Commons and a model of which, was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 1812.

The third son was Samuel Manning the elder (1786-1842). It was his father, John Manning the elder, who first suggested that a statue of John Wesley should be carved, and nominated his son, Samuel the elder, to carve the monument. Samuel carved a selenite model of Wesley, which he exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1825. (He also exhibited a bust of the 'late Rev Charles Manning', his grandfather.) Because of the death of its benefactor, Joseph Butterworth MP, the project did not proceed until his son, Samuel Manning the younger (1815/16-1866), encouraged Thomas Farmer to underwrite it and carved the marble statue based on the model carved by his father. After being rejected by Westminster Abbey, the statue was placed in Richmond College. In 1972 it was relocated to Westminster Central Hall, and in 2004 was moved from the top of the Grand Staircase to the main foyer. A bronze copy was unveiled in the grounds of St. Paul's Cathedral in September 1988, 250 years after Wesley's conversion.

In 1834 Samuel Manning the younger was awarded the Society of Arts Gold Medal for his sculpture of 'Prometheus Chained', which was displayed at the Great Exhibition in 1851. He exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts marble busts of Samuel Manning the elder (1847), John Wesley (1851) and Thomas Farmer (1851) and a cabinet statue copied from the marble statue of Wesley (1852).

  • The Watchman, 20 June 1849 p.197
  • Methodist Recorder, 8 September 1988
  • Algernon Graves, The Royal Academy of Arts: a complete catalogue of contributors and their work from… 1769 to 1904 (1906)
  • Rupert Gunnis, Dictionary of British Sculptors, 1660-1851 (1951; revised edn., n.d.)
  • Maurice H. Grant, A Dictionary of British Sculptors (1953)
  • Oxford DNB
  • Donald H. Ryan, in WHS Proceedings, 55:6 (October 2006) p.268
  • Donald H. Ryan, 'The Manning Marble Statue of John Wesley', in WHS Proceedings, 56 (October 2008) pp.306-19
  • David J. Jeremy, in Brands Plucked from the Burning (2013) pp.48-50