Boston, Lincs

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Although John Wesley paid three visits between 1759 and 1780, it was his preachers who founded the society.Alexander Mather, appointed to the Epworth Circuit in 1757, describes in considerable detail the violent treatment he received at the hands of the Boston mob. A small chapel was erected in 1764 in Wormgate, replaced by another, privately owned, in 1808. Centenary Chapel (1809) was in a new style, with twin towers and a massive colonnade. It was replaced by the present chapel (1911), following a disastrous fire in 1909. Others included a small mission chapel in Hospital Bridge (1870) and the post-Union 'Zion' (1934).

Boston WM Circuit, separated briefly from Horncastle in 1795-97, dates from 1812.

PM took root in the town in 1819 through the efforts of two self-appointed roving preachers. A chapel in George Street (1839) was replaced by one in West Street (1866), where the Band of Hope, Sunday School, choir and orchestra and a lending library flourished. Boston also had a strong MNC society, formed in 1828, and under William Innocent (father of the China missionary, John Innocent) a chapel was built in West Street (1829). A WR group established themselves in Pump Square in 1856, struggled through the 60 years of the UMFC, failed to unite with the local MNC in 1907, but joined the former WM and PM societies in 1947.


John Wesley's Journal:

April 1759: 'At three in the afternoon I preached at Bostol. A rude multitude quickly ran together to a paddock adjoining to the town. A more unawakened congregation I have not seen for some years. However, the far greater part were attentive, nor did any interrupt or offer the least rudeness. 'At seven I met the little society in the house, but they were the least part of the company. People crowded in from all sides; and I believe God touched most of their hearts.' [Next day] 'At six, finding the house would not contain one-fourth of the congregation, I was constrained to stand in the street. Abundance of people assembled together, whom I exhorted to 'repent and believe the gospel.' The word of God fell heavy upon them, and, I trust, broke some of the stony hearts.'

June 1780: 'We went on to Boston, the largest town in the county except Lincoln… At six the house contained the congregation, all of whom behaved in the most decent manner. How different from those wild beasts with whom Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Mather had to do! [Next day] 'The house was pretty well filled in the morning and many were much affected. A gentleman who was there invited me to dinner, and offered me the use of his paddock; but the wind was so exceeding high that I could not preach abroad… and Mr. Thompson, a friendly Anabaptist, offering me the use of his large meeting-house, I willingly accepted the offer. I preached to most of the chief persons in the town, on 1 Cor. xiii.1-3; and many of them seemed utterly amazed. 'Open their eyes, Lord, that they sleep not in death!' [Next morning] ' I gave them a parting discourse at seven; and, after adding a few members to the little society, and exhorting them to cleave close to each other, I left them with a comfortable hope that they would not be scattered any more.'

  • Lives of the Early Methodist Preachers, vol.2, pp.172-5
  • Methodist Recorder, Winter Number,1904 pp.40-43
  • W. Leary, Methodism in the Town of Boston (Boston, 1972)

See also

Entry written by: WL
Category: Place
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