Tag Archives: Epworth

Visiting the Wesley family home

We left Kings Cross station early Friday for Doncaster several hours to the north of London. From there we attempted to drive to Epworth and the Old Rectory. We talked with Rev Graham Carter who heads the Old Rectory Board of Trustees about the Wesley family and the home where they lived for 40 years. Carter talked about Samuel Wesley, a church leader in Epworth and his wife Susannah who raised their 3 sons and 7 daughters.

In coming weeks we will have video and photos from the Old Rectory,  a historical treasure of the Methodist faith.



The Old Rectory in Epworth UK



Amy, our tour guide, describing the restoration work in kitchen.

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Bishop Hope Morgan Ward visits Methodist historic sites in UK

Hope Morgan Ward, Bishop of the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, discusses her March 2014 visit to the United Kingdom to visit Methodist historic sites.

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Epworth discusses protecting Wesley headstone

The Scunthorpe Telegraph reports the Epworth Town Council has discussed safeguarding historic headstones.

The clerk has been asked to get quotes for insurance to cover damage by vandalism in the whole closed churchyard, after which the council will look at the next steps moving forward.

Brothers John and Charles Wesley are credited with founding the Methodist movement.  They were born in Epworth in the early 18th century.  Their father, Samuel Wesley, was the rector of Epworth from 1695 to 1735 and their childhood home, the Old Rectory, is now a tourist attraction.

Samuel Wesley’s grave to be insured against vandals

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Looking forward to Epworth, part 2

While the Old Rectory seems to hold center stage when it comes to John Wesley in Epworth, the town does offer a Wesley tour. Another one of the major sites on the tour is St Andrews Parish Church, the church Samuel Wesley served as rector from 1695 to 1735. Samuel Wesley is buried on the church grounds.

Here is a photo of John Wesley preaching while standing on top of his father’s grave.

John Wesley made his first preaching visit to his home town, Epworth in Lincolnshire, in June 1742. He had not been there for seven years, since the time of his father’s funeral. Because he was an ordained minister in the Church of England and because his father had been Rector in Epworth for forty years, he asked the Curate if he might assist him on the Sunday morning, either in reading prayers or preaching. But the Curate, knowing of Wesley’s itinerant ministry, had no intention of having a ‘rebel’ preacher in his pulpit. Following the service, Wesley’s travelling assistant, John Taylor, stood at the church gate and announced: ‘Mr Wesley, not being permitted to preach in the church, designs to preach here at six o’clock.’ The news spread like wildfire! ‘Old parson Wesley’s son be back and he be preaching in the churchyard!’ The whole area was packed with people as the be-gowned Oxford don and open-air revivalist took his stand on his father’s flat tombstone. While the church authorities could forbid John Wesley from preaching in the pulpit or the graveyard, they could not prevent his standing on his father’s grave, for it was Wesley family property.



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Looking forward to Epworth

I link Epworth with Children’s Home. In Columbia SC where I attended college, Epworth helps to build love and family for children 4-18 who may never have experienced a loving family.

Epworth also brings to mind the boyhood home of John Wesley. I have found it is far north of London and not an easy place to reach. We think a train to Nottingham and then a car ride may be the quickest way to get there.

At Epworth is the Old Rectory where Samuel and Susannah raised the three sons: Samuel, John and Charles and their seven daughters. The story from John Wesley’s life that we associate with the town is of the rectory burning down and five-year old John being rescued, a brand plucked from the burning. The fire took place in 1709.

The building was repaired and the family remained in the house until Samuel died in 1735. The building continued to serve the church rector until it was sold to the British Methodist Church in 1954. Several years afterward, it opened as a museum. A 2 million pound, four-phase plan is underway to restore the building to the way it looked when the Wesley’s called it home.

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Making plans to visit England

My wife and I plan to travel to England in July. We are making plans to visit several sites important to John Wesley and the Methodist Church.

We plan to visit

We plan to visit Oxford, too. I am trying to determine the best site to visit.

My hope is to find someone at each of these sites that will talk on camera for a brief interview talking about Wesley, his ties to that community and his accomplishments for Methodism.

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