Dudley, Staffs

Bissell, Bert(ie) MBEThe yard in which Wesley preached on his second visit to the town, in1751, was known as 'the Mambles'. Anoctagonal chapel was replaced by King Street chapel in 1788, enlarged in 1818, 1825 and again in 1904. William Southall (1737-1822), converted as a boy under Wesley's preaching, was one of his first converts in Dudley and provided an early meeting place for the society.

See also: Bissell, Bert


John Wesley's Journal:

October 1749: 'About noon we came to Dudley. At one I went to the market-place, & proclaimed the name of the Lord to a huge, unwieldy, noisy multitude, the greater part of whom seemed in no wise to know 'wherefore they were come together.' I continued speaking about half an hour, and many grew serious and attentive, till some of Satan's servants pressed in, raging and blaspheming and throwing whatever came to hand. I then retired to the house from which I came. The multitude poured after, and covered over with dirt many that were near me; but I had only a few specks.'

April 1751: 'The dismal screaming wherewith we were welcomed into the town gave us reason to expect the same kind of reception as I had when I was there before. I began preaching immediately in a yard not far from the main street. Some at first seemed inclined to interrupt; but when they had heard a little they grew more attentive, and stayed very quietly to the end, though it rained a great part of the time.'

April 1757: 'In the afternoon I rode to Dudley, where the work of God increases greatly, notwithstanding the immense scandal which has been given by those who once rejoiced in the love of God. One of these has lately killed his own child by a blow upon the head... Sunday 17th. The rain constrained me to preach within at eight, though the house would ill contain the congregation.'

March 1760: 'I rode over to Dudley, formerly a den of lions. I was constrained to preach abroad; but no one opened his mouth, unless to pray or praise God. I believe the steady behaviour of the society has made an impression on most of the town'

March 1761: 'About five I preached to a far larger congregation at Dudley and all as quiet as at London. The scene is changed since the dirt and stones of this town were flying about me on every side.'

March 1764: 'I rode to Dudley, formerly a den of lions, but now as quiet as Bristol. They had just finished their preaching-house, which was thoroughly filled. I saw no trifler, but many in tears.'

March 1776: I preached at Dudley, in the midst of Antinomians and backsliders, on 'We beseech you not to receive the grace of God in vain' .'

March 1788: 'About noon I preached at Dudley, and with much liberty of spirit.'

March 1790: 'About one I preached in the new house at Dudley - one of the neatest in England. It was a profitable season, where two persons, they informed me, found peace with God.'

  • Wesleyan Methodist Magazine, 1823, p.568
  • S.G. Davies, Souvenir Handbook (1929)

Category: Place
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