Urlin, R. Denny

The Urlin family was closely connected with the Foundery and then with Wesley's Chapel from the earliest days, beginning with George Urlin (1733-1802), a wholesale meat merchant in Leadenhall Market, who was chosen by Wesley as one of the first trustees of the chapel. For some years he was the Chapel Steward, living in the house adjoining it to the north. Wesley dined with him just two weeks before his death, on 18 February 1791. His son George Orton Urlin (c.1769-1808) and grandson George Frederic Urlin (d. 17 October 1870) also served as trustees of the chapel.

George Frederic Orton married a daughter of Richard Reece so that their son R. Denny Urlin came of strong Methodist stock on both sides of his family. He wrote a biography of his maternal grandfather, Father Reece, the old Methodist minister (1899). He practised as a barrister in both London and Dublin. Though brought up as a Wesleyan, he was confirmed at an early age and became a staunchly loyal Anglican, as his books on Wesley, John Wesley's Place in Church History (1870) and The Churchman's Life of Wesley (1880), demonstrate.. But it is recorded that, on a visit to Methodist relations near Tunbridge Wells towards the end of his life, he enjoyed joining in the Methodist hymns he had known in his youth. He aloso contributerd to the Methodist Recorder his boyhood recollections of City Rroad Chapel and John Wesley's House.

['The Chapel House] is little altered in appearance… There was a quantity of very old -fashined furniture, such as four-poster beds, brassfenders, and curious writiing cabinets. Tradition associated some of these articles with Wesley and his colleagues; and even now a very few of them may be seen. The bulk of the old furniture was, however, sold off, and was replaced by more modern articles, when the Rev. John Scott (as well as I remember) followed Richard Reece as superintendent and occupier of this historic abode. I have always regretted that the complete, although very old-fashioned fittings of the house were not left exactly as the stood in the old days, so that generations to follow might more easily picture the home-life of the Methodist Founder.'

R. Denny Urlin, in Methodist Recorder, Winter Number 1901

'I am more than ever convinced that those who separate from the Church of England do so from ignorance, prejudice, or envy, or else because they have not fully and imparttially considered the subject, or hold mistaken views concerning it… That it was never the intention of the Rev. John Wesley to establish a separate sect; that the principles of modern Wesleyan Methodism are altogether at variance with the avowed feelings and determination of its Founder - also that certain of the Wesleyan doctrines are contrary to the Scriptures and of the Church of England, and that for this reason … every Wesleyan is positively bound in duty [to join the Church of England]'

R. Denny Urlin, soon after his confirmation, quoted in Ethel L.H. Urlin, Memorials of the Urlin Family, p.31

  • George J. Stevanson, City Road Chapel [1872] pp.393-6
  • Ethel L.H. Urlin, Memorials of the Urlin Family (privately published, 1909)