Bideford was visited by John Wesley in 1757. The WM chapel in Allhalland Street (1809) was replaced in 1892 by one in Bridge Street, seating 1,000. Both WM and BC had circuits centred on the town, which was also the centre of a short-lived PM mission from Cornwall in the 1830s and 40s. Perhaps because it was the nearest town to Shebbear, four BC Conferences were held there between 1857 and 1885, in their Silver Street chapel of 1844 (replaced in 1913 by the imposing UM chapel in High Street). In 1884 they established Edgehill College for girls to complement the boys school at Shebbear. The High Street and Bridge Street congregations amalgamated in 1962 in the High Street premises. A dissident group which joined the WRUceased in 1981.
John Wesley's Journal:
October 1757: 'I rode to Bideford, but did not reach It till after five, the hour appointed for my preaching. So I began without delay, in an open part of the street, where we alighted. One man made a little noise at first, but he was easily silenced. All the rest (a large number) quietly attended, though the wind was piercing cold, while I opened and applied, "God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." '
Entry written by: RFST
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