John Wesley passed through the town frequently between 1748 and 1789. A society was formed by 1750, with a chapel built in 1764 (rebuilt 1806 and 1872). In 1798 it had 101 members, compared with Tiverton's 55. According to J.G. Hayman, the society here was larger than in any other town in Devon, except Plymouth.
John Wesley's Journal:
August 1750: 'I preached in a little meadow near the town soon afrer six in the evening. About the middle of my discourse hard rain began, but few of the congregation stirred. I then spent an hour with the society, and not without a blessing. [After visiting Tiverton] 'The congregation at Cullompton in the evening was far larger than before.'
August 1751: 'I preached in the little meadow at the end of New Street, and observed one circumstance which I had not seen elsewhere. The people did not come close to me but stood in a half moon some yards off, leaving a considerable space in the midst. The very children behaved with remarkable seriousness. I saw but one, a girl of three or four years old, who ran about as in play, till another not much bigger reproved her, and constrained her to stand still. Here I rested the next day. [Sunday] ' I heard at church, by way of sermon, part of "Papists and Methodists compared". But it did not lessen the congregation at one, on whom I enforced (what they were somewhat more concerned in), "What shall it profit a man" to "gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" '
September 1754: 'I … reached Cullompton by six in the evening, and, after half an hour's rest, was enabled to preach in the little meadow, without any faintness or weariness.'
September 1755: 'I rode to Cullompton, where the minister preached an excellent practical sermon. At one I preached on the parable of the Sower.'
September 1760: 'Finding the congregation waiting, I began preaching without delay, and felt no weariness or want of strength, till I had delivered my message to them. [Next day] 'After preaching at five, I examined the society, and found them more alive to God than I had done for many years.'
August 1768: 'In the evening I preached to the poor backsliders at Cullompton on "Will the Lord be no more entreated?" '
August 1774: 'I spoke strong words to the honest, sleepy congregation; perhaps some may awake out of sleep.'
August 1785: 'Cullompton house was more than filled, many being constrained to go away; and I found considerable liberty of speech here.'
August 1789: 'I had no thought of preaching at Cullompton, though we were to pass through it; but I yielded to importunity, and preached at one to a numerous audience.'
Entry written by: RFST
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