Monthly Archives: July 2014

Wesley Physic Garden at Old Rectory, Epworth

Behind the Old Rectory in Epworth, UK, you will find John Wesley’s Physic Garden. It opened in July 2006 and was created to celebrate the contribution made by Wesley to the well-being of the poor who were unable to pay for a physician. He wrote An Easy and Natural Way of Curing Most Diseases in 1747. The garden is an interpretation of a typical Georgian garden and not a reproduction of what was at the site. We placed photos from our visit on the JohnWesleyBlog flickr page.

You can find Wesley’s booklet also known as Primitive Physic here.

epworth garden

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Tour guide discusses seven Wesley sisters

We had a great tour at the Old Rectory in Epworth, UK, thanks to our guide through the Wesely house, Amy. She shared details of the Wesley family and important information discovered in the restoration of the house. Afterwards, she talked with me about the seven Wesley sisters.

A book written about the Wesley women is Seven Sisters in Search of Love by Frederick Maser.

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Strange Christianity blog looks at conversion story

Billy McMahon in his Strange Christianity blog shares a passage he found in a Texas Methodist pioneer’s autobiography about McMahon’s great-great-great-great-great grandfather.

Our Wesleyan Heritage

UM: John Wesley and the early Methodists were particularly concerned about inviting people to experience God’s grace and to grow in their knowledge and love of God through disciplined Christian living.
full article

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Kudzu Life shares Georgia Historic Marker

Blogger Scott Parrish shares a photo in his blog Kudzu Life of the Georgia Historic Marker placed at a site on the state’s coast where John and Charles Wesley lived with the Oglethorpe colony at Savannah, Georgia.

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John Wesley, George Smiley and the University of North Carolina

The link to John Wesley, George Smiley and the University of North Carolina is the Rev. Vivian Hubert Howard Green. I am currently reading Green’s book Young Mr. Wesley, focused on Wesley’s years at Oxford and published in 1961. Wesley graduated from Christ Church at Oxford in 1724. He later became a fellow a Lincoln College. Green was a Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford, for over 30 years and its Rector from 1983 to 1987. He wrote a full biography of Wesley in 1963.

One of Green’s students at Lincoln was John Le Carre, known for his spy novels. His trilogy that includes Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy tells the story of George Smiley. While Green never served in the British Secret Service, Le Carre acknowledged that he used Green’s temperment and outlook in creating the character of Smiley.

In the early 1980s, Green served a short period as a visiting professor at the University of North Carolina.

Read more about Green in this 2005 obit.



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Photo tour of the Epworth Old Rectory

Meet Amy, the tour guide for the Old Rectory, Epworth UK, the family home of John Wesley and see photos we took while Amy showed us the house on the JohnWesleyBlog flickr page. Amy provided an excellent tour, knew the story of the Wesley family and the details of the house. She pointed out specifics learned from the preservation efforts and shared stories about the Wesley family.

The Epworth Old Rectory souvenir guide states:

After Samuel Wesley’s death in 1735, the house continued to be the home for successive rectors of Epworth. Although it was recognized as the childhood home of John and Charles Wesley, it was not protected or preserved in any way, so each rector made it his own. Over the years, doors were moved, extensions were put up and taken down, plants grew across the front of the house and outbuildings were added.

By the 1950s, the Rectory was in a state of some disrepair, and the Church of England made the decision to build a new Rectory at the other end of the town. The Methodist church saw this as an opportunity to acquire it. Funds were raised from the world-wide Methodist community, and in 1954, the house was purchased by the Methodist Church.

In 2002, Epworth Old Rectory achieved the status of a Registered Museum and in 2009, it became an Accredited Museum. It is a Grade 1 listed building.


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Restoring the Wesley family home in Epworth

The Old Rectory in Epworth UK is held on trust by the British Methodist Church for the World Methodist Council. It is part of Methodist Heritage which oversees Methodist heritage sites in Britain including:

  • Wesley’s Chapel, the Museum of Methodism and John Wesley’s House and Tomb at City Road, London
  • The New Room, John Wesley’s Chapel at the Horsefair, Bristol
  • Englesea Brook Chapel and Museum of Primitive Methodism, near Crewe

The Epworth Old Rectory souvenir guide indicates

Plans are well advanced to complete the process of returning the rectory to the way it may have looked when the Wesleys lived there. Much research has been carried out so that the restoration is as near to the original as possible. It is a major project that entails installing underfloor hearing, replacing floors with traditional materials and analysis of wall finishes. Alongside this is a plan to improve access, interpretation and visitor facilities. The project has four phases:

  • Putting the hearth back into the home and external conservation
  • Improving access and interpretation
  • Restoring the Rectory
  • New visitor center and car park extension

rectory renovation project

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Rev Graham Carter discusses the Old Rectory in Epworth, UK

John Wesley’s life began in Epworth, UK. His family lived in the Rectory in the northern England community where his father served as the Anglican pastor. One of the shaping moments in young John’s life was a fire that destroyed the rectory. He was trapped in a second floor room and the family was unable to return to the house to save him. Neighbors formed a human ladder and pulled him from the flames as the room’s ceiling crashed down in flames. This fire occurred in February 1709. By December of that year, the family had returned to their new home at the site, the building today known as the Old Rectory. It is Methodist Heritage site. A Board of Trustees heads an organization working to restore the building that now serves as museum honoring John and Charles Wesley. Rev. Graham Carter chairs the board. He talks with us about the family and the house.

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Kudzu Life visits Fort Frederica

Blogger Scott Parrish writes in his blog Kudzu Life of visiting Forest Frederica where John and Charles Wesley lived with the Oglethorpe colony at Savannah, Georgia.

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