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Tottington is a town in Greater Manchester close to the West Pennine moors and the Rossendale Valley. The only Methodist denomination to get a foothold in Tottington were the Wesleyans. Around 1820 there were three house prayer meetings in the town and from 1822 the Wesleyans met in a room above a smithy in Market Street. The Society was led by Richard Booth (1794-1836), supported by his wife Lois, (1799-1881). With the increasing size of the congregation, in 1828 Society unanimously agreed to raise money to build a chapel. Land was bought in Market Street and the chapel was opened in 1829. The Sunday school which started in 1822 was transferred to the new chapel. New day and Sunday school premises were built in 1868-69 and a larger chapel was opened in 1905.

Among those who taught in the Tottington Sunday School was the temperance lecturer and vegetarian advocate William Hoyle (1831-86).

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The Wednesbury society, established in 1742, was known as 'the mother society of Staffordshire Methodism' and included members from Darlaston, Walsall and West Bromwich. Charles Wesley preached there in the autumn of 1742 and John Wesley followed in January 1743 - the first of 33 visits between then and 1789. The vicar, the Rev. Edward Egginton, (1698-1743), was at first friendly and supportive, until injudicious criticisms of the vicar by the itinerant preachers, Thomas Williams, a Welsh Local Preacher and former Dissenter, along with a Mr Graves, who were the preachers looking after the developing Wednesbury Society. At the time throughout England there was unrest because of the threatened invasion by the French. England had been at war with Spain, France’s ally since 1739. By 1743 England and France was in a state of de facto war. In January 1743 King Louis XV of France formally declared war on England, planning to reinstate the exiled Roman Catholic James Edward Stuart as King James III. In February 1744 a large French invasion fleet left Dunkirk for England. The weather turned and violent storms drove the fleet back to French sheltered harbours. John Wesley writing in his Journal for 7 February 1744 about the Wednesbury riots said: “(Had the French come… would they have done more ?).”

In the Derby Mercury newspaper and Aris’s Birmingham Gazette on Monday 13 February 1744 there was a report that ‘For some Months past Mr. Wesley, his Brother, and some other itinerant Preachers, have visited Wednesbury in the County of Stafford, which at different times occasioned Disturbances and Skirmishes; but no great Mischief was done before last Tuesday’ (Shrove Tuesday 7 February 1744). The first skirmish was on 21 May 1743.

When Charles Wesley returned to Wednesbury on 20 May 1743 he found that ‘the seed had taken root and that many are added to the church’. The Society numbered over 300. On Saturday 21 May Charles and several brethren sang as they walked to Walsall some four and a half miles north east of Wednesbury, where they were met with a hostile crowd shouting: “Behold, they that turn the world upside down are come here also” (Acts 17:6). Above the noise of the rioters Charles Wesley responded preaching on the Market-house steps quoting Paul’s farewell to the Ephesians, Acts 20:24 “But none of these things move me; neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.” The rioters threw stones at Charles Wesley and as he attempted to walk down the steps three times ruffians threw him to the ground. On each occasion on getting up Wesley gave a blessing and bid them go in peace. As John Wesley rode towards Wednesbury on 18 June he was acutely aware of the attacks against the Methodist people, commenting in his Journal that the “zealous High-Churchmen” hearing the rantings against the Methodists from the pulpit and the episcopal chair “had rose up and cut all that were called Methodists in pieces.” John Wesley sought advice from counsellor Edward Littleton who said that they had a case in law to prosecute rebels against “God and the King.” On 20 Octoberh 1743 John Wesley returned to Wednesbury and preached to a large and peaceful crowd. In the afternoon he went to John Ward’s house. Before long a mob stood outside but soon disappeared only to return with even more miscreants shortly before 5pm calling for the minister. Wesley was taken by the mob to Bentley Hall to see Mr John Lane (1699-1748), who told them to take Mr Wesley back. A second and larger mob arrived and John Lane’s son Thomas Lane (1703-1775) told them to be quiet and go home. The mob took John Wesley to Reynolds Hall, Walsall, to see Justice Persehouse (1691-1749). He was in bed so the Darlaston mob and John Wesley began to return from whence they had come only to be met be a rival mob from Walsall. John Wesley tried to reason with the Walsall mob who were manhandling him. Many called out “Knock his brains out, down with him, kill him at once.” A remarkably brave woman defending Wesley from the mob was knocked to the ground and three men kept pinned her to the floor whilst others beat her. Had George Clifton (1704- 1789) better known as the coalminer prize-fighter Honest Munchin not told them to stop the woman would have been killed. Charles Wesley went to Nottingham to meet his brother John and wrote in his Journal for Friday 21 October 1743. “My brother came, delivered out of the mouth of the lion. He looked like a soldier of Christ. His clothes were torn to tatters. The mob at Wednesbury, Darlaston and Walsall, were permitted to take him by the night out of the Society-house, and carry him with full purpose to murder him."

Many examples of the attacks on the Methodist people were recorded by John Wesley. These include the incident when John Eaton, the Constable whilst reading the Riot Act had his house damaged and all his windows, door and clock broken. The same happened to Jos Stubbs and his wife was so frightened that she miscarried. Roofs were damaged and many homes of Methodist people were plundered. Widow Elizabeth Lingham who had five children had her goods and spinning wheel broken. The collier Valentine Ambersly had his house damaged twice and his wife ‘big with child’ was abused and beaten with clubs. Belatedly the authorities were alerted and the storm of persecution subsided. In answer to charges that the Methodists had instigated the violence, Wesley published a detailed account of events, Modern Christianity exemplified at Wednesbury... (1745)

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Oswestry, Croesoswallt in Welsh is an English market town on the North Wales/ English border.

Although there is no recorded evidence that John Wesley preached in Oswestry he does record in his diary that on Thursday 26 March 1789 he stopped in Oswestry at 8 am for a drink of tea. Wesley was on his way to Holyhead by horse and chaise to catch the ferry to Ireland.

The English speaking Wesleyans were active in Oswestry in the late 1700s and in 1811 the Oswestry Circuit was formed with James Fussell (1783-1839) as the missionary. The Wesleyans built a chapel in Corney Street, Salop Road which was opened on 26 January 1812. As the congregations increased they needed to replace the old chapel with a more commodious building. In 1822 Oswestry was placed in the North Wales Wrexham Circuit. In 1865 the Conference re-instated the Oswestry Circuit. About the same time the Circuit bought a timber yard in Beatrice Street as the site for a new chapel. The chapel, costing around £2000 was opened on 28th February 1871 when the preacher was Rev. Dr Frederick Jobson (1812-1881). The Corney Street building was sold to the Good Templars temperance organisation.

Seion Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Chapel. Around 1800 the devout Miss Susanna Evans, affectionately known as Aunty Susan saw the need to have the Gospel preached in Welsh in Oswestry. She occasionally held Welsh language services in her own home which caused her to be evicted on a number of occasions. In 1811 a small chapel and house were built in Castle Street, Welsh Walls. Soon there was need for a larger chapel which was built in 1836. When this building was too small for the number of worshippers a new chapel was built and opened in 1837. The 1851 religious census recorded the number of worshippers in the morning were 103 and 139 in the evening. In 1869 the building was demolished and rebuilt. Around 1900 this chapel was deemed to be too far from the centre of the town so chapels were built in Albert Road and also in Oswald Road which held services in English. These three formed the Welsh Calvinist Methodist Circuit.

In May 1823, Oswestry was first visited by the Primitive Methodist preacher William Doughty, (1798-1863). He was sent by the Burland (Cheshire) circuit. He preached in a friend’s yard, without interruption. When he preached in Oswestry the following day he was interrupted by the village constable who brought him before the mayor who asked him not to preach in the area. William Doughty refused the mayor’s order and was sent to prison. The next time Doughty preached in Oswestry many were converted and a Society was formed. The Primitive Methodists first worshipped in a damp property in Oakhurst Road known as ‘The Cold Bath’. They held their first service on 12 December 1824. After 15 years the ‘Cold Bath’ building was not large enough for the growing size of the congregation so in 1840 they bought the corner site in Castle Street and Chapel Street. They opened their purpose build Ebenezer chapel on 20 December 1840. The 1851 religious census records that in the Sunday afternoon service there were 60 worshippers and in the evening there were 110. At the morning Sunday school there were 29 children and in the evening 28 children. On 15 September 1868 foundation stones were laid for an extension on the adjoining land which was opened 24 January 1869. Twenty years later more land was bought on which they built a school room which was opened in 1891. Three years later the extended premises were too small for the congregation so they decided to plan and raise funds for a new building on the site of their existing chapel. This was opened 23 March 1899.

Welsh Wesleyan Methodists built their Bethesda chapel in Penylan Lane in 1856. This was replaced by the Horeb chapel which they built in Victoria Road. Horeb eventually joined the Welsh speaking Calvinistic Methodist Circuit and services were held on alternate Sundays in the Welsh Wesleyan chapel and the Calvinistic Methodist chapel.

There was an Independent Methodist cause in the town before 1822. They built a chapel in Beatrice Street. The 1851 religious census records that there were 30 people at the afternoon service and in the evening there were 60. 30 children attended the Sunday School.

The United Methodist Free Churches first erected a preaching room and Sunday- school in Gibraltar Place, Church Street. On Sunday 12 July 1868 they opened their architecturally designed 'iron tabernacle' chapel in Castle Street. It was described at the time as a neat structure, lined with varnished wood, which seated 150 worshippers. In 1870 they held a special service to celebrate their purchase of a new harmonium. In 1877, they had only 24 members.

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Cardigan is in the county of Ceredigion, and was formerly the county town of historic Cardiganshire. It is located on the tidal reach of the River Teifi where Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire meet. The first castle was built between 1081 and 1093; by 1199 the town had become a vital trading centre and was granted its charter.

The Calvinistic Methodists had a society in Cardigan by 1739 and in 1760 they built their Pendrfe Tabernacl chapel. As the congregation increased they had to rebuild a larger chapel in 1807, with further enlargements in 1832 and 1907.

John Wesley made his only visit to Cardigan on 15 August 1777 when Mr George Bowen took him there in his chaise. He preached at 12 noon to a ‘numerous’ well behaved congregation which included several clergy. Wesley also commented ‘If our preachers constantly attend here I cannot think their labour would be in vain’.

Even though Wesley optimistically said that his preachers would be well received in Cardigan no Wesleyan society was formed in Cardigan or Cardiganshire until a Welsh Wesleyan society was formed in Aberystwyth in 1804. The reason was probably because Cardigan and the county were mainly Welsh speaking. There is no clear evidence of an English Wesleyan society in Cardigan. A Welsh Wesleyan society was formed and even that society had a checkered existence.

When Edward Jones (Bathafarn) (1778-1837) went to Cardigan in 1807 a society was formed. In 1812 Cardigan became the head of the circuit. The Welsh ministers were largely dependent on Connexional funds and when Rev Dr Thomas Coke died at sea in May 1814 on his way to start an India mission they lost their main Wesleyan Conference supporter. Some of their preachers including Edward Jones (Bathafarn) were transfered to English circuits: a far reaching tragedy which badly affected the Welsh langage mission. During the ministry of Rev John Davies the Eglwys Fach Ebenezer Wesleyan chapel was built in Priory Street, Cardigan. It was rebuilt in 1844 and 1879, but closed in 1884

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The market town of Denbigh is the former county town of historic Denbighshire, near the Clwydian Hills. The castle dates from 1282; the late-thirteenth century town was rebuilt in the late fifteenth century away from the castle and lower down the hill.

Capel Pendref in Denbigh was the first Welsh language Wesleyan chapel in North Wales. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Welsh was the main and for some inhabitants the only language spoken. When the Methodist missionaries preached in English they had limited effect on the local people.

It is believed that the orphaned John Rowlands, who in better remembered as Sir Henry Morton Stanley (1841-1904), the explorer who found Dr David Livingstone (1813-1873) in central Africa, attended Capel Pendref Denbigh with his uncle.

Evan Roberts (1755/6-1833) was born in Oswestry to a Welsh family. In his late teens he heard John Wesley and Thomas Coke preach and was converted. He started to preach in Welsh and English in Liverpool. Probably to hear the gospel in Welsh he helped establish the Welsh Calvinist Methodist Society (now the Presbyterian Church of Wales) in Liverpool. In 1777 he rejected Calvinism and joined the Wesleyan Methodists. In 1784 he preached in Welsh in the open air in Denbigh. Around 1787 he formed the first North Wales mainly Welsh speaking Wesleyan Methodist Fellowship/Society which met in the home of Hugh Carter. Evan Roberts invited John Renshaw, Richard Davies a Welsh speaker from Dinas Mawddwy (Eryri / Snowdonia), Richard Harrison (1743-1830) a Chester Local Preacher from Halkyn, Flinthire to visit the Society. Denbigh became a Society in the Chester Round. The Chester Round preachers visited the Denbigh Society fortnightly from 1792 to 1794. Because they could not speak Welsh it was decided they should visit and preach in the English speaking Societies. A second series of Chester preachers started to visit the Denbigh Society in 1798 but this was also unsuccessful because of the language. The ineffectiveness of English language preaching in North Wales convinced Evan Roberts that Wesleyan Methodism would not get a hold in the area unless the Gospel was preached in Welsh. The Chester Round preachers alerted the 1798 Wesleyan Conference of the urgent deed of Welsh speaking preachers for North Wales. At the 1800 Wesleyan Conference, at the insistence of Thomas Coke, formerly of Brecon, the Conference appointed Owen Davies (1752-1830) formerly of Wrexham, who spoke limited Welsh as the Superintendent of the Welsh Mission. They also appointed John Hughes (1776-1843) of Brecon who also had limited fluency in Welsh to be a Missionary to Wales. The effectiveness of John Owen as the administrator and success of John Hughes’s preaching and missioning (howbeit not for very long) led to the formation of the Welsh speaking Wesleyan Methodist Church. Their mission vision along with that of Evan Roberts, Edward Jones (1778-1837) also known as Edward Jones Bathafarn, and others is seen by the building the first Welsh Wesleyan Chapel, Capel Pendref in Denbigh. The chapel was opened on New Year's Day 1802 by Rev Owen Davies and Rev John Hughes. Following the evening service a Love-feast was held with around 200 attending. The chapel was extended and renovated and reopened on 5th and 6th January 1862. The Rev Dr William Davies (1820-1875) and the Rev Ebenezer Morgan. (1843-1871) were the preachers at the opening services.

In 1804 Denbigh became the head of the new Denbigh Circuit with Owen Davies as the Superintendent. Stephen Games (1779-1814) and Robert Roberts were the other ministers.

The other Methodist denominations made little impact in North Wales.

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Brecon – Welsh Aberhonddu (mouth of the Honddu) is a market town in Powys in mid Wales. The confluence and ford of the rivers Hoddu and the Usk at Brecon has made it a strategic centre for centuries. Brecon Castle (Castell Aberhonddu) was built in 1093 and fell into ruin during the reign of Henry VIII.

The Grand Jury at the Brecon Assizes in 1744 declared that the Methodists were ‘endangering the peace of our sovereign Lord the King; (George II) and that, unless their proceedings are timely suppressed, they may endanger peace in the kingdom in general.’ As this statement was written before John Wesley first visited Brecon or Wesleyan Methodism had a Society in the town, it was probably aimed at Howell Harris (1714-1773) and the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists.

Wesley referred to Brecon in his Journal in 1744, 1748 and 1750, but he first preached at Brecon on 18 March 1756, in the Town Hall. On 18 August 1763, as the Assizes were meeting in the Town Hall, Wesley ‘preached at Mr (Thomas) James’ door.' Mr James was a Brecon attorney in whose house the Methodists first met. Wesley visited Brecon at least 17 times and preached on at least 12 visits, sometimes more than once.

Thomas Coke (1747-1814), first Bishop of the American Methodist Episcopal Church, was born in Brecon, son of Bartholomew (d.1773), a prosperous apothecary, and Ann(e) nee Phillips (1713-1783). Bartholomew Coke was a Brecon Common Councilman, alderman, and the bailiff (i.e. mayor) in 1737 and 1758. Thomas Coke attended the local grammar school and then read jurisprudence at Jesus College, Oxford. Ordained deacon (1770) and priest (1772), Coke was bailiff of Brecon in 1772. There is a obituary style memorial to Coke in Brecon Cathedral,

John Hughes (1776-1843) of Brecon and Thomas Olivers (1725-1799) of Tregynon Montgomeryshire were the only two Wesleyan ministers who could preach in Welsh.

On 1 December 1748 Charles Wesley rode to Brecon with Mr James (Thomas James). On the following day he rode to Garth where he was affectionately received by the Gwynne family. On 6 April 1749 John and Charles Wesley stayed overnight in Brecon. The following day they went to Garth where on the 8th John conducted the marriage of Charles to Sarah Gwynne (1726-1822), the daughter of Marmaduke Gwynne (1692-1769) in Llanlleonfel church. Marmaduke Gwynne died in Brecon. Rev John Hughes (1776-1843) was a a member of Brecon chapel in his youth says that Charley Wesley assisted by Harri Llwyd, the first bilingual local preacher, formed the Brecon society. Rev T. Wynn-Jones (d.1916) Wesleyan minister in Brecon (1886-88) conjectures that the first Wesleyan society was founded by Charles Wesley and Howell Harris around 1749/50 although David Young suggests that John Wesley formed the society in 1750. The Methodists first met in the homes of Thomas James and William Gilbert (d. c.1784). When the Brecon Methodists agreed to build a chapel William Gilbert gave the corner of his orchard where Wesley and his preachers preached and £100. Eventually the Watton Methodist chapel was built on the corner of Free Street and Little Free Street around 1770. The chapel was rebuilt in 1815. In 1770 Brecon became the head of the North Wales Wesleyan Circuit. In 1799 Welshpool and in 1803 Merthyr Tydfil hived off to become circuits. For some 20 years until 1770 the Calvinistic Methodists and the Wesleyan Methodists worshipped together in the Watton chapel. In August 1770 a controversy over the chapel broke out. Lady Hintingdon (1707-1791) told Hugh Bold, Esq, (1731-1809) a trustee, attorney and society steward that the exclusive use of the chapel should be for her scholars and those who held her views. Hugh Bold firmly opposed Lady Huntingdon, reminding the leaders that John Wesley had given £80 to the chapel building fund and Lady Huntingdon had not given any money to the chapel. Shortly after this fracas Lady Huntingdon in 1771 built the Calvinistic chapel in Struet Street. The chapel closed around 1850. In 1834/5 the English Wesleyans built their impressive new chapel in Lion Street. The chapel was burnt down in 1978. A preacher at the opening services was Rev. John Hughes (1776-1843) the author of the two volume Horae Brittanicae - Studies in Ancient British History. John Hughes was a member of the Brecon English Wesleyan society.

The Welsh language Wesleyan Methodist Mission was established by the Wesleyan Conference in 1800 at the insistence of Thomas Coke. Welsh speakers Owen Davies (1752-1830) formerly of Wrexham and John Hughes (1776-1843) of Brecon were appointed as the Welsh speaking ministers. Wesleyan Welsh speaking preachers did not arrive in Brecon until 1808. Y Parch (Rev) William Batten (1779 -1864) and the Local Preacher Evan Edwards of Merthyr Tydfil visited Brecon and formed a society. For many years the Welsh Wesleyans met in the English Wesleyan chapel on a Sunday afternoon and a Thursday evening. This arrangement was successful but at times it caused friction. In 1810 Brecon became the head of the Welsh Wesleyan Methodist Circuit. In 1814 the Wesleyan Conference, for financial more than strategic reasons, decided to amalgamate the Welsh Wesleyan and the English speaking Wesleyan circuits. The Welsh Wesleyans built their Brecon Chapel Tabernacle Welsh Wesleyan Methodist Chapel in 1824. It was decided to sell the Tabernacle chapel. They built a small chapel in Llanfaes which they opened in 1871.

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Bangor is the oldest city in Wales and historically part of Caernarfonshire. The cathedral Eglwys Gadeiriol Bangor began as a monastery founded by the Celtic St Deiniol (died 572) c. 525. The Acts of Union which unified Britain and Ireland in 1800 stimulated the extension and improved the A5 road between London and Holyhead which made Bangor an important stopping place for politicians and travellers between London and Dublin.

On 18 October 1884 Prifysgol Bangor University opened its doors in the coaching inn called the Penrhyn Arms. It had 58 students and 10 staff and was known as the University College of North Wales. The degrees were conferred by the University of London until 1893, when Bangor became one of the three original constituent colleges of the University of Wales. In 1884 Samuel Davies (1818-1891) the Welsh Wesleyan Minister was a founder member of the Council of the University College, Bangor. One of the early students to graduate from the University College was John Roger Jones (1879-1974). He graduated with a Class 1 honours in philosophy and then went to Didsbury Wesleyan College. Most of his ministry was in the Welsh Wesleyan North Wales Districts. In 1895 David Tecwyn Evans (1876-1957) entered the University College, Bangor before training for the Welsh Wesleyan Ministry, In 1951 he was given an honorary D D by the University. Thomas Hughes (1854-1928) Welsh Wesleyan minister, whilst serving on the University College Council, established a fund to enable ministerial candidates from the Welsh Wesleyan Districts to study for University of Wales degrees. Maldwyn Lloyd Edwards (1903-1974) read History at University College, Bangor and won the Gladstone Prize for his study of John Wesley's influence on social and political life. In 1969 Owen Ellis Evans (1920-2018) was appointed the Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies at the University College. Bangor.

John Wesley passed through Bangor on Friday 13 August 1756. He was returning from Ireland and had hired horses to take him to Chester. On this first visit to the area Wesley wrote "The situation of which [Bangor] is delightful beyond expression. Here we saw a large and handsome Cathedral.” Wesley goes on to mention the “old monks of Bangor so many hundreds of whom fell to cruelty and revenge.” He was correct about the sacrifice of the monks but their monastery was at Bangor-is-y-coed 5 miles from Wrexham. Apart from making notes about his journey Wesley did not stop to preach because he did not speak Welsh. Wesley was hosted in the evening at Glan Conwy at Plas bach with the Calvinistic Methodist William Roberts and his family who spoke no English. They had fellowship, sang, and prayed together. Wesley stayed the night and the next morning continued his journey towards Chester. Although Wesley crossed the Menai Straits 16 times either going or coming from Ireland he never preached in Bangor probably because most of the inhabitants did not speak or understand English.

Thomas Coke (1747-1814) from Brecon urged the 1800 Wesleyan Conference to establish a Welsh speaking (Arminian) Wesleyan mission. The Welsh speaking Calvinistic Methodists were by this time making strong progress throughout Wales. The result was that the conference established the North Wales Mission (Welsh Speaking). On the insistence of Thomas Coke the Conference appointed the Welsh speaking Owen Davies (1752-1830) of Wrexham and John Hughes (1776-1842) of Brecon as missionaries to Wales. They visited Bangor on the 12 September 1800 on their way to Anglesey but they do not seemed to have preached on this occasion. In 1803 John Maurice of the ‘new sect’ preached in Welsh to a large crowd in the open air. The next time John Maurice preached in Bangor was by the house of Richard Griffith the shoemaker. When the owner of the house, Mr Williams of Pentir, heard that John Maurice had preached by his property he threatened to evict the shoe maker if he allowed the Wesleyans to desecrate his property. When Maurice returned with Robert Jones of Carnarvon he was told by the shoemaker he could not preach from his doorstep. Maurice asked the crowd if anyone could let him preach on their door step. Mrs Grace Griffith, a Congregationalist, offered her house near the Friars. The crowd followed Maurice to the house. The next occasion Maurice preached was at The Virgin public house. John Hughes in 1804 also preached there from the open window by the upstairs landing. Following the preaching Mrs Margaret Davies the owner of the house gave permission for the Wesleyans to preach at The Virgin. Soon it became the meeting place for the Welsh Wesleyans until they rented a property near Townhead (Pendre). The Bangor Welsh Wesleyan Society was formed in 1805 by Edward Jones] (1778-1837) of Bathafarn. In 1808 the property and the adjoining cottages were bought by the Society and became the first Wesleyan chapel to be built in Bangor. The preachers at the opening services were Owen Davies, John Jones (Corwen), John Foulkes (Pant-Ifan). William Roberts of the Talybont Society came to live in Bangor and became the first class leader. Around 1818 the Society bought the larger Calvinistic Methodist chapel. This was not ideal because it was not in the centre of Bangor. In 1821 / 1823 the minister [[Entry:1416 Rev. Hugh Hughes (1778-1855) reported that the Bangor Society was growing. In 1827 the Bangor Welsh Society built a chapel in the centre of the city which they opened on Easter Sunday and called it Horeb. In a few years the growing congregation meant that they had to build a larger chapel. Horeb 2 was opened on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Easter Monday when crowded congregations celebrated the opening of their new chapel and the centenary of the Wesleyan Connexion. Bangor became the major centre for the Welsh Wesleyans when in 1859 they moved the Book Room (y Llyfrfa) from Llanidloes to Bangor. It produced over 400 books and leaflets.

Bangor being mainly Welsh speaking area there was no English speaking Wesleyan Society in the 18th century. When John Hughes was appointed the Superintendent of the Carnarvon Circuit in 1803 he discovered the remarkable Lancastrian Samuel Ogden (1769-1839), who walked from Carnarvon to Bangor on Sundays to hold house fellowships in English. Born in Oldham, Ogden moved to Carnarvon around 1802 where he opened a hatters shop in Eastgate Street. His son William (1794-1858) was also a hatter living and trading with his family in Waterloo Place, Bangor

In 1830 the Conference sent the probationer John Gordon (1807-1880) for one year to administer the newly created Bangor English Circuit which was in the Welsh Wesleyan North Wales District. Gordon resigned from the Wesleyan Conference in 1835 and ceased to be a preacher or member, later becoming a Unitarian Minister. With the support of the friends at Horeb Welsh Wesleyan chapel the English Society was able to raise funds for their own chapel. On the 8 June 1831 the English Society opened their modest chapel in James Street when the preacher was Rev Dr Robert Newton (1780-1854). In 1838 the Rev Thomas Burrows reported that there were 113 members in the Bangor English Society. In 1875 the English Wesleyan Church was built and dedicated by Rev. William Morley Punshon (1824-1881).

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Stevenage lies about 27 miles north of London on the main road through Peterborough to the north-east of England and ultimately to Edinburgh. In the 18th century this was a major coaching route and John Wesley passed through it many times, rarely stopping for more than one night or merely a meal. The exception was on 29 October 1790 when he preached at the home of Mrs Parker from Romans chapter 3, verse 22. He made no mention in his diary of the size or quality of the congregation.

The Society had been formed and nurtured by one of his Assistants, Thomas Vasey in 1781. It appears to have met at the home of Thomas Allom on the west side of the High Street. By 1782 there were twenty-six members. Numbers fluctuated but by 1799 they had built and registered a chapel. This remained in use until 1876.

At the time of the 1851 Census the Wesleyan Methodists claimed an attendance of 50 both afternoon and evening, with between 60 and 70 children; while the Primitive Methodists claimed an attendance of 21 in the morning, 60 in the afternoon and 70 in the evening. The Primitive Methodists were active in the town for about 50 years but never built their own chapel; meeting in rented rooms. In 1875, while there were only 39 members, there were 130 ‘hearers’ and a larger chapel was required. This was built on the east side of the High Street at its southern end and is still in use. At the time of Methodist union Stevenage was in the Hitchin circuit, in the London North district.

In 1946 Stevenage was designated to be the site of a New Town and a Development Corporation was set up. The Methodist Church responded by forming the Stevenage and Knebworth Mission and appointing Rev Donald McNeill under the supervision of the Home Mission Department. The first neighbourhood to be developed was Broadwater in which the Methodist Church of St Paul’s was established. Worship began in a garage, then in an ex-army hut, until a church hall was built in 1955. The intended church was not built and in 1968 the hall was adapted to create a ‘permanent’ sanctuary. This remained in use until 1985, when it was demolished and the congregation worshipped in a sheltered housing complex until a new church was built in 1987. This closed in 2022.

The second area of the New Town to be developed was Chells, on the eastern side. St John’s Church began as a ‘house church’ in the manse in 1961 and after only a few months needed larger accommodation. The congregation moved into its own building in 1964 but only 10 years later began working ecumenically with the Anglican church of St Hugh as The Church in Chells and has become a fully united congregation in the St Hugh’s building. The St John’s building was sold to Hertfordshire County Council in 1985 as a day centre.

The third area of the New Town to be developed was Pin Green, on the northern side. From the start in 1967 this was planned as an ecumenical venture between Anglicans and a Free Church partner. Initially this was expected to be Baptist led but from 1969 there was Methodist involvement and from 1970 Roman Catholic involvement. Thus by the time All Saints Church opened in 1974 it was unique in that it was shared by Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Methodists. It was also unique at that time in that it was the first to be built as part of a Local Authority community centre. The worship area is an unusual arrow head shape. For many years Sunday worship was conducted separately for the three congregations but weekday worship, including a con-celebrated Eucharist, prayer, Bible study, missionary fund raising and social events took place jointly with all three denominations. Since 2008 the Anglican and Methodists have worshipped as a single congregation. Unfortunately Roman Catholic Masses ceased in 2013.

Meanwhile developments in what became termed the ‘Old Town’ resulted in the building at High Street being completely remodelled, the worship area turned through 180 degrees and new halls added between 1958 and 1964. In 1960 Stevenage became a circuit with Welwyn Garden City in the London North West district. From 1971 the four congregations in Stevenage, two of which were LEPs, became a separate circuit. In 1993 this merged with the Hitchin and Letchworth circuit to form the North Herts circuit, which since 2006 has been in the Bedfordshire, Essex and Hertfordshire district.

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Born at Urpeth, near Newcastle-on-Tyne, he trained for the ministry at Didsbury. Serving in several circuits, his considerable organisational capacity quickly became apparent: in 1910 he joined the Home Mission Department, becoming Secretary in 1920. Appointed Secretary of the Conference in 1922, he brought not only thorough administrative skills but a great capacity for personal relationships and spirituality. He won not only the trust, but love, both within the Wesleyan church as well as other Methodist churches and so more than laid the foundations for British Methodist Union of 1932. At his sudden, unexpected, death in 1928 he was eulogised as one of the greatest Secretaries the Conference ever had, and the central, perhaps indispensable, architect and builder of the forthcoming Union.

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Situated on the river Towy about 13 km from the estuary, Carmarthen is considered to be the oldest town in Wales. The first castle was constructed c. 1094, and when it was rebuilt in 1223 a crenellated wall was also added to enclose the town.

Howell Harris (1714-1773) the Calvinistic Methodist evangelist preached in Carmarthen in 1738, and soon afterwards a Calvinistic Methodist society was formed. Peter Williams (1723-1796) was converted after hearing George Whitefield and Howell Harris preach near the Market Cross. Williams built a meeting-house in his garden in Water Street and invited John Wesley to preach there on 11 August 1769. Williams opened the Heol Dwr (Water Street) Calvinistic Methodist Chapel on 6 January 1771. When Williams died his widow sold the chapel to the Calvinistic Methodists who built a new chapel on the same site in 1813. David Charles (1762-1834), the younger brother of Thomas Charles (1755-1814) of Bala, arrived in Carmarthen around 1790 to set up his buiness as a flax-dresser and rope-maker. He joined the Calvinistic Methodist Society and was soon appointed an elder. He became an influential Calvinistic Methodist preacher, statesman and leader of the denomination and was ordained by them in 1811.

John Wesley’s first visit to Carmarthen was on Saturday 20 August 1763. Wesley visited and preached in the town around 18 times. The society grew to 100 members and held their meetings in a warehouse in John Street. By 1779 the society met in a building in the yard of the Red Lion which was the ‘new preaching-house’ where John Wesley preached on Sunday 15th August 1779. A chapel was built in 1804 in Chapel Place. It was enlarged in 1821 and altered in 1861. The chapel was demolished in 1978 and a new chapel was erected. In 1805 Carmarthen became a Circuit with William Thoresby (c.1757-1806) as Superintendent. When Thoresby became incapacitated the Swansea circuit missionary John Hughes (1776-1843) was sent to Carmarthen to minister to the English and Welsh speakers. Hughes preached in English in the chapel and in Welsh in the cottages. In 1807 Edward Jones (Bathafarn) (1778-1837 ) and William Davies (Africa) (1784-1851) visited,preached in the chapel and were asked to form a Welsh Wesleyan society.

In 1808 the Carmarthen Welsh Wesleyan society was formed and placed in the Llandilo Circuit where Edward Jones (Bathafarn) was the superintendent. The services were held in the Carmarthen English Wesleyan chapel. In 1809 the Carmarthen (Welsh) circuit was formed with Edward Jones (Bathafarn) as the superintendent. The Welsh Wesleyans conducted their services in the English Wesleyan chapel on Sunday afternoons which became inconvenient to the Welsh people and preachers. The Welsh society also needed more space. The Rev. Lot Hughes (1787-1873) announced he would preach in the open air by the cross where Bishop Robert Ferrar had been martyred in 1555. Throughout the winter open air services contined and eighty people joined the Welsh Wesleyan Society.To meet the requirements of the growing congregation a Welsh Church was planned. In 1824 the Welsh Wesleyans built their chapel on the corner of John Ebenezer and Chapel Street and called it Ebenezer Welsh Wesleyan chapel.

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Born in Southwark on 28 March 1857, the second son of James Ramsden Shrubsall and Sarah Shrubsall, née Campbell. In 1870 he joined the Pearl Assurance Company, then a new firm with a staff of fifty. As the company grew into a major financial enterprise, Shrubsall rose to be chief clerk (1882), director (1892), managing director (1916) and president (1927). In the year of his death the company’s assets exceeded £85 million.

Shrubsall’s early years were spent in the MNC: his father was Sunday School Superintendent at Brunswick Chapel, Great Dover Street, and Shrubsall served as Circuit Steward in the MNC First London Circuit. As he moved out of London, from Newington to Norwood, and then to Chislehurst and finally to Reigate, Shrubsall joined the Wesleyans at Roupell Park and was Circuit Steward in the Brixton Hill and Chislehurst Circuits. From the first decade of the twentieth century, he was a member of several Connexional committees and a lay representative to Conference. He served on the Methodist Union committee from 1917 and was Connexional Home Mission treasurer from 1930. He was a generous supporter of Clubland and and was senior treasurer of the Deptford Mission.

Politically ‘an ardent Liberal’, Shrubsall represented Norwood on the London County Council from 1901-07. He was a strong temperance advocate, a magistrate, and an active Freemason.

George Shrubsall married Sarah Orme (1860-1914) in 1878, and they had four children. Widowed in April 1914, in the following October Shrubsall married Nettie Fawcett (1865-1957), member of a West Norwood family with Wesleyan and temperance connections.

George Shrubsall died in Reigate on 15 February 1935. His funeral at Roupell Park was conducted by the Ex-President, F.L. Wiseman, and Dr Scott Lidgett gave the address.

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