Explore the Collection

Our collections comprise over 15,000 objects and include ceramics, paintings, books and works on paper, silverware, furniture and costume, and many others. The museum was established in 1898 but a number of key items in our collection pre-date this and have been on display inside John Wesley’s House ever since Wesley’s death in 1791.

Scroll to see examples of objects you can see during your visit.

  • A Calm Address To Our American Colonies
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    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    By John Wesley, published by R. Hawes, Spitalfields, 1775

    The 1770s were turbulent years in the American colonies, which were edging towards independence from Britain. John Wesley ventured squarely into American politics with publishing his 'Calm Address'. The book reversed his position of a year earlier on British oppression of the colonies and brought him down on the side of the British government and clergy. The pamphlet went through many editions straightaway and over 100,000 copies circulated within a year.

    Not surprisingly, Wesley was vilified in America. It has been argued that the fact that America closed its ports to English ships - and books - on July 20th, 1775 may have saved the cause of Methodism in America. The copies of the 'Calm Address' which had entered already were largely destroyed, and no further copies found their way into the country until after the conflict.
  • Letter from John Wesley to Mr Cricket
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    Ink on paper
    Page one of two, 10th February 1783

    A letter written by John Wesley to one of his preachers in Londonderry, Ireland, in 1783.

    The letter contains advice how to inject vigour into the Londonderry Circuit and admonishes the recipient to show leadership. Wesley compares it to Barnard Castle:" Many years ago, the Society at Barnardcastle (sic), as large as that at Derry, was remarkably dead. (…) advised them to keep a day of Fasting and Prayers (&) a flame broke out & spread thro'ut ye Circuit.."

    The letter goes to show that not all areas took to Methodism straightaway. Structure to the worship or 'method' was an important aspect, but preachers also needed to be leaders, with a strong guiding hand.
  • Artwork
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    Ink on paper
    2003

    This artwork was produced by Katherine Baxter to commemorate the 300th birth of John Wesley.

    Katherine Baxter is a map illustrator. After leaving Bath Academy of Art and exploring different avenues of illustration, she started focusing on map illustration. In her own words: "I felt I really had found my true passion, and in a way it fulfils a deep psychological need of knowing where I’m going."
  • Commemorative stone
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    Stone, metal
    1908

    This small stone and attached sterling silver tag commemorate the laying of the foundation stones of the United Methodist Church, Leicester Road, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, on March 7th, 1908. Both trowels and decorative stones, as well as keys, were favoured presentation gifts commemorating the start or finish of Methodist chapel building works in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

    See also the other commemorative trowels and related items in the Online Collection.
  • Daily Conversation with God
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    Printed on paper
    1749

    The full title of the publication is "Daily Conversation with God, Exemplified in the Holy Life of Armelle Nicolas, Commonly call'd the Good Armelle; A Poor Ignorant Country Maid in France." Published in English translation in many editions in the 1700s, this pamphlet was a popular religious text.

    Popularly known as "La bonne Armelle" (1606-1671), the subject of the pamphlet was a saintly French serving-maid who was held in high veneration among French people in the 1600s. Born in 1606, she spent her life in piety and extreme hard work, both in service and at an Ursuline monastery, where details of her spiritual life were recorded. She died in 1671 but was never canonized.

    1994/2423
  • John Wesley's House
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    Photograph
    c.1995

    A photograph taken just after the major refurbishment of John Wesley's House in 1995. The image shows Wesley's House to the right and the Chapel in the background.

    The metal garden entrance gate is original to the house and dates to 1779. Like the house, it has listed English Heritage status.
  • Commemorative dish
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    earthenware
    c.1854

    Islington has a long history of non-conformism and new evangelical groups and sects appeared with the spread of housing from the 1820s. The Methodist New Connexion, separate from Wesleyan Methodism, opened its first chapel in 1834. It commemorated its newly-built meeting house, Britannia Fields Chapel, in 1854 with this small dish.
  • Collection box
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    Wood, paper
    c. 1880-1900

    This wooden collecting box was used in the work of the Wesleyan Missionary Society in the late 1800s.

    The Wesleyan Missionary Society (also known as English Wesleyan Mission) was a British Methodist missionary society that was involved in sending workers to countries such as New Zealand, Africa and China in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Monies collected by church members outside of church assisted the endeavours of the society.

    See also the other collection boxes in the Online Collection.
  • Travelling communion set
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    Metal, leather, fabric
    Early 1900s

    This boxed silver communion set, including ewer, chalice and paten, was used by the Rev. Albert M. Payler in southern India in the early 1900s. Travelling communion sets like this one were essential equipment for ordained missionaries on the move.

    1996/4843/1-7
  • Loving cup
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    Ceramic, hand-painted
    Mid 19th century

    Another example of a 'love feast' or loving cup, the two handled cup used during Methodist love feast services. This example is more elaborate than most, with hand-painted decoration and gilding. Many loving cups were very simply decorated, many with transfer prints instead of painted decoration.

    See also the other loving cups in the Online Collection.
  • Portrait of John Wesley
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    Oil on canvas
    after Thomas Horsley, late 1780s

    In the background is the chapel Wesley built on City Road as it appeared when first built, with its original windows and smaller entrance portico.
  • Wesleyan chapel money box
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    Ceramic
    Staffordshire, early/mid 19th century

    The design of this money box reflects the Methodist tradition of building preaching houses and small chapels rather than traditional churches with spires. Methodists were often reminded to be thrifty, and to give to good causes.
  • The Orphan House
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    Lithograph on paper
    1800s

    Methodist meeting houses were sometimes multi-purpose, with libraries, soup kitchens, dispensaries: whatever was needed by the local community

    The Orphan House in Newcastle-upon-Tyne was also used for preaching in its early days and was at one time run by Grace Murray, said to have been John Wesley's true love. The Orphan House was demolished in 1951.

    2000/8079
  • Set of trenchers
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    Wood, painted
    ca. 1550-1600

    This set of 16th century roundels or trenchers (from Old French, 'tranchier' - to cut) in the original box was a wedding present. In 1788, the roundels were given by John Wesley to Adam Clarke, the British Methodist theologian and biblical scholar, on the occasion of Clarke's wedding.

    Trenchers were used during Elizabethan times as a kind of plate or place-mat during meals, usually to serve sticky desserts such as cheeses, fruit, or sweets. This set is decorated richly, including entertaining verses relating to marriage. It is possible they were meant for after-dinner entertainment, the verses to be recited or sung by the eaters.

    The trenchers are still in as-new condition; likely, they were never used.
  • Portrait of Adam Clarke
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    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, Early 19th century

    Adam Clarke (1762 – 1832) was a British Methodist theologian and biblical scholar. He came to the attention of Wesley in 1778, who invited Clarke to become a pupil in the Methodist school established lately at Kingswood near Bristol. In 1779, Clarke converted to Methodism and became a preacher and theologian of great ability. Unusually, Clarke became President of the Methodist Conference three times, in 1806, 1814 and 1822.
    1992/497
  • Shoe and buckle
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    Leather
    early 1800s

    This shoe with simple steel buckle belonged to Adam Clarke (c.1760-1832). It is made from fine, hand-sewn leather and the heel is cobbled to the sole with nails.

    Clarke was a Wesleyan Methodist theologian and Biblical scholar. He wrote a very comprehensive commentary on the Bible, a task which took 40 years to complete. The commentary remained an important theological resource to Methodists for many years.

    1994/2933/2
  • Portrait of Rev. William Atherton (1775-1850)
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    Oil on board
    Unidentified artist, early 19th century

    Atherton was born in Lancashire and his first ten years in the ministry were spent in Scotland, where he had been educated. He was an advocate for Chapel building, missions and Methodist day schools. Elected President of the Conference in 1846, he was a leading opponent of Jabez Bunting. Atherton became superintendent of the circuit in Wakefield in 1849 and also Chairman of the Leeds District, but died the following year.

    Sadly, the portrait is in bad condition and requires conservation.

    2005/10372
  • Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon
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    Watercolour gouache on bone; wood frame
    late 1700s

    This miniature painting depicts Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon (1707-1791). The Countess was an early supporter of, and collaborator with, John Wesley and George Whitefield, the famous open air preacher. The Countess later set up her own religious society, the 'Countess of Huntingdon Connexion'. This was more Calvinist in character than Methodism.


    2006/10417
  • John Wesley II Missionary Ship
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    Engraving on paper
    Sketched and engraved by George Baxter, Northampton Square, London, c.1870

    There were four Methodist Missionary ships in the 19th century; the Duff (1796 onwards), the Triton (1839-1846), the John Wesley (1846-1865) and the John Wesley II (1866-1881). Each one was tasked with taking missionaries and supplies from the UK to the Pacific.

    The John Wesley II missionary ship replaced the John Wesley, which had been hit by a violent storm and broke up on a Tongan reef in 1865. The JW II had three masts, was 117 feet in length and cost £3,400 to build, then a great deal of money. She reached Australia in 1867 and served a growing number of mission stations . In 1881, the ship was sold for commercial use, as steam powered ships were proving more viable and suited to the work of the Mission.
  • Portrait of Rev. John Atlay
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    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, late 18th/early 19th century

    John Atlay (born 1736) was John Wesley's book steward at the City Road Chapel. The book steward was responsible for the day-to-day management of the so-called 'Book Room', Methodism's (and Wesley's) first publishing house. The Book Room used to be on City Road also, virtually next door to the Chapel. Atlay managed to reduce the debts of the Book Room in the 1770s and turned the business around in the 1780s - although Wesley tended to spend any surplus monies freely and as he saw fit.

    1993/1511
  • Trowel
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    Metal, bone
    1899

    This trowel was presented to Mr Solomon Jesons by the Trustees of Wesley's Chapel, City Road on July 7th, 1899. Mr Jesons had laid one of the memorial stones celebrating the completion of a full refurbishment of the Chapel that day.

    In the 1800s and early 1900s, the start or finish of a building project, whether a church, chapel or secular public building, was often commemorated with laying a foundation or memorial stone. A trowel, key or other commemorative item was usually presented to the person(s) performing the honours.

    See also the other trowels commemorating the foundation stone laying or refurbishment of Methodist chapels in the Online Collection.
  • John Wesley's Study
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    Postcard printed on paper
    c.2000

    This postcard view shows John Wesley's Study in about 2000. Compare to the earlier photographs and postcard views of this room to see how its presentation has changed over the years.
  • Clearance Works
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    Photograph
    early 1980s

    A birds-eye view of the Chapel's graveyard in the process of being re-landscaped. Only John Wesley's tomb remains, boxed-in for protection.

    See also 2012/13466 in the Online Collection for a view of the Chapel and vestry house at this time and 2012/13472, 2012/13483 and 2012/13492 for other views of the works.

    2012/13467
  • Refurbishment
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    Photograph
    ca. 1980

    A photograph which shows the extent of the refurbishment works of the 1970s and early 1980s. The forecourt of the Chapel was redesigned following the works to the Chapel in the preceding years. New pipe sections can be seen piled up in front of John Wesley's statue to the left of the image.
  • Collection box
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    Papier mache
    c. 1930-50

    'Mission', in particular the conversion to Christianity of indigenous people, became an important aspect of Methodist work as the 19th century progressed. There were many small Methodist missionary societies which eventually, in 1932, merged to become the Methodist Missionary Society. This operated in Africa, the Caribbean, the Indian sub-continent, Europe, the Americas and Australasia.

    This novelty collection box in the shape of a post box was used to collect money in Churches and further afield for the work of the Society.
  • Letter from William Wilberforce to Reverend George Marsden
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    Ink on paper
    Page one of three, 18th February 1824

    A letter written by William Wilberforce (1759-1833) to Rev. George Marsden (1765-1838) about the good that has already been achieved vis-à-vis the abolition of slavery, and the effect of the Sunday newspapers.

    Wilberforce writes:" As for the Sunday newspapers, no one can be more deeply impressed than myself with a sense of their being vicious in principle, and injurious in their effect (…)" Unfortunately, it is not quite clear from the letter how exactly the newspapers influenced or injured the abolitionist cause - perhaps by reporting negatively on abolitionist activities?

    For the full letter, please refer to 'Exhibits' and click on 'Selected Documents'.

    See also the other letters from William Wilberforce in the Online Collection.
  • Award of Merit
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    Metal, enamel
    late 1800s

    Another example of a Sunday School attendance medal. Unlike other examples in the Online Collection, this one is more generic and has no Methodist or other faith affiliation.

    See also the other Sunday School attendance medals in the Online Collection.
  • Chapel interior
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    Photograph
    c. 1975

    A view of the Chapel during restoration works in the 1970s. A large portion of the gallery rail had become unsafe. The extent of the wood rot can be seen in the centre foreground and to the centre right of the photograph. There were other serious problems, such as sinking foundations and a leaking roof.

    The photograph shows the pulpit boxed in for protection.
  • Needlework sampler
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    Cotton and silk on cotton
    Worked by Maria Shaw, 1838

    This sampler was worked by a British girl in Sierra Leone in 1838. Finishing a needlework sampler was an important step in the education of well-brought-up girls in the early 1800s.

    Freetown, now the capital city, was founded in 1792 by anti-slavery campaigners as a land for freed slaves. Methodist missionaries worked there and by 1811 it had an established Methodist Society.
  • Chapel Roof on Fire II
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    Photograph
    1952

    A fire on 25th November 1952 had the potential to become devastating, but swift action by the fire brigade ensured that the damage was minor. In the photograph, smoke can be seen rising from the Chapel roof and fire fighters are investigating the cause of the blaze.

    See also other images of this fire in the Online Collection.

    1995/2951/2
  • Roundel
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    Wood, paper (printed)
    1800s

    This wooden roundel encloses a printed note card which reads "Part of the Sycamore Tree planted in Epworth Church Yard at the Birth of the Rev. John Wesley by his Father. Wesleyan Centenary 1839."

    Quite a few of these roundels were made; they are typical pieces of 'Wesleyana' popular in the 1800s. See also other wooden items made from a sycamore tree from Epworth churchyard in the Online Collection.

    2006/10540
  • Letter from John Wesley to Robert Carr Brackenbury, 1783
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    Ink on paper
    4th January 1783

    A short letter written by John Wesley to his friend and protegee, Robert Carr Brackenbury (1752-1818) in Jersey.

    Brackenbury was much younger than Wesley and came from a well-to-do and influential family. Unusually for a man of his background, he decided to join the Methodist cause and built his first Chapel above the stables of his newly-constructed mansion in Lincolnshire in 1779. A a preacher and Chapel builder, he was never ordained but was befriended, trusted and held in high regard by Wesley.

    This 1782 letter makes clear Brackenbury had just arrived in St Hellier on Jersey to serve as a preacher. Apparently the new preaching house was small, but Wesley was encouraging, writing: 'Hitherto is the day of small things'.
  • Bicentenary Medal
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    Metal
    1986

    A medal commemorating two-hundred years of Methodist world mission, 1786-1986. The reverse of the medal bears a double portrait of John Wesley (1703-1791) and Thomas Coke (1747-1814).

    2005/10344
  • "The late Revd John Wesley, M.A. and 446 of the preachers in his Connexion represented as assembled in City Road Chapel, London"
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    Engraving on paper
    Engraved by T. Blood, published by M. Blanchard, London, May 1822

    A posthumous engraving of John Wesley amongst his preachers in the City Road (today's Wesley's) Chapel. The depiction is fanciful, as both preachers of Wesley's day, such as Thomas Coke, and others who were alive in 1822 are illustrated. The work is one of the earliest detailed engravings of the interior of the Chapel and gives an idea of its appearance before Victorian alterations were carried out.
  • The Chapel complex, 1821
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    Watercolour
    Unknown artist

    In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the chapel was flanked by two near identical houses; in fact, five were planned originally with a central archway leading to the Chapel behind, but only two were built. Today only one, John Wesley’s House, survives.
  • Coin
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    Metal
    1984

    This commemorative coin was issued to celebrate the bicentenary of Methodism in America, 1784-1984. The coin depicts Thomas Coke (1747-1814), close associate of John Wesley and first bishop of the American Methodist Church. Soon after the Baltimore Conference of 1784, this became known as the Methodist Episcopal Church and is known today as the United Methodist Church.
  • John Wesley meets George Whitefield
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    Oil on canvas
    Goldwyn Lewes, 1889

    This fragment of a painting depicts the first meeting between John Wesley and George Whitefield, with Whitefield still in civilian clothing. Wesley and Whitefield first encountered one another in Oxford in 1732 when Whitefield, still a student, joined the 'Holy Club'. This was a prayer and assistance group which visited the poor and destitute, the imprisoned and others shunned by society. Both men were inspired by their Holy Club experience, which helped set them on their future course as leaders of the eighteenth-century revival and 'Methodism'.

    However, the relationship between Whitefield and Wesley was complicated and their differences soon caused the infant Methodist movement to split. The Wesley brothers were “Arminians” who denied predestination, but Whitefield came to believe in a more Puritan, Calvinist doctrine which argued against Grace for all. Later years brought a degree of personal reconciliation but 18th century Methodism never (re)united as one movement.

    2001/8263
  • Portrait of John Wesley (1703-1791)
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    Oil on paper
    Painted by Robert J. Westley, 1927

    An unusual early-20th century portrait of John Wesley. Most John Wesley portraits show Wesley looking to the right; this close-up picture shows him looking left.

    Nothing is known of the artist.

    1993/1619
  • John Wesley Preaching from His Father's Tomb
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    Oil on canvas
    Alfred William Hunt (1830–1896), mid 19th century

    On Sunday June 6th 1742 John Wesley re-visited his home town, Epworth in Lincolnshire. His father Samuel Wesley had been the rector of St. Andrew’s Church there. Prior to the Sunday service Wesley had offered to assist the Curate with the service, who was dismissive. Instead, the Curate in his sermon that day discussed the dangers of religious enthusiasm, with scantily veiled references to John.

    John knew many of the parishioner in the full church that day had come with an expectation to hear him preach. Forbidden to do so inside, he decided to do so in the graveyard instead and, so as not to be ejected, he preached from his father's grave, which was the property of the Wesley family.

    Wesley later wrote he "... found such a congregation as I believe Epworth never saw before...I stood near the east end of the church, upon my father’s tomb stone and cried, ‘The kingdom of heaven is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.’

    This portrait is a 19th century rendering of the scene, by the Pre-Raphaelite influenced painter A.W. Hunt.

    1993/1607
  • Preaching plan
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    Cotton, printed
    1854

    This preaching plan for the autumn and winter of 1854/55 is printed on fine glazed cotton. It may have been a commemorative or presentation plan. The plan shows all the Wesleyan preaching appointments in the Liverpool North Circuit, which, at the time, consisted of 10 places of worship.

    A characteristic feature of Methodism is its methodical structure and the provision of preaching and prayer meeting plans. The plans are essentially a diary of prayer and preaching appointments for preachers and other prayer and worship leaders working within a Methodist 'circuit', or defined groupings of chapels.

    For further examples of such plans, please consult the Online Collection.

    1993/669
  • Souvenir brochure
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    Paper, printed
    1910

    This souvenir programme was published to commemorate a large-scale missionary meeting in the Royal Albert Hall in London in 1910. Historically, the various branches of Methodism carried out their own missionary work. After the Methodist Union of 1932, a single Methodist Missionary Society was formed.
  • Pulpit
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    Photograph
    c.1900

    A view of the pulpit in Wesley's Chapel dating to about 1900.
  • Site Model
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    Photograph
    Late 1970s

    A black and white photograph of the model of Wesley's Chapel, its buildings, gardens and courtyard. The model dates to the late 1970s.

    At the time, extensive rebuilding on site was under discussion. This included the demolition of the vestry house, the site of the morning chapel (Philadelphia Room) and the Benson office building block, at the front of the Chapel. The model included the rebuilt sections, distinguishable as the black (mirror) fronted and light-grey flat-roofed sections at the 'top' and right hand side of the model.

    Eventually, the Benson office building and the morning chapel (Philadelphia Room) were retained and new construction was confined to the back of the Chapel, partially over and to the side of the old graveyard.

    1993/1308/1
  • Former Vestry
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    Photograph
    c.1950-60

    This unusual photograph gives a view of the former vestry at Wesley's Chapel. The vestry was a small building attached to the Chapel which was used as an office and for changing into ceremonial robes.

    The vestry would appear to have been built shortly after the Chapel, probably around 1820. It was located at the back of the Chapel close to John Wesley's tomb (which can be seen in the photograph). The vestry was demolished around 1980 when the graveyard was redeveloped, which included the construction of an office block over part of the land.

    1995/4109
  • Medal
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    Metal
    late 1800s

    This elaborate Wesleyan Methodist ('W M') Sunday School medal awarded for attendance was made in silver gilt. It would have been a prized possession of the student in Woodford to whom it was given.

    See also the other Sunday School medals in the Online Collection.
  • Bible
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    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    early 1800s

    This small bible is only one of many bibles collected by the museum over the years. It is a particularly nice example, with an engraved leather cover, two silvered metal clasps and metal corners. The first page bears an inscription which states that the bibe was presented as a gift to the original owner William Porter in 1814.
  • Two busts of John Wesley
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    Glazed ceramic
    Staffordshire Potteries, early to mid 19th century

    Examples of John Wesley busts produced for the lower end of the market and available to many lower income earner households.

    Compare with earlier Wesley busts and Enoch Wood's models in the Collection.
  • Letter from John Wesley to Mr Gaulter
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    Ink on paper
    19th February 1790

    Aged 87 and with failing eyesight, Wesley dictated this letter to one of his preachers in Sunderland. The letter is not in Wesley's hand, only the recipient's address and the signature are.

    It appears Mr Gaulter (1765-1839) was having trouble with three individuals involved in the Methodist Society (or circuit) in Sunderland. Wesley calls them "brethren fallen asleep" and, more harshly, "Sinners of the Methodist Society".

    As promised in the letter, John Wesley did indeed visit Sunderland later that year. On 12th June 1790, he preached an evening sermon to a large congregation there. It was his last visit.
  • Commemorative Cup
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    Earthenware
    1976

    America declared independence from Britain in 1776 and American Methodism separated from Wesleyan Methodism shortly after, in 1784. This ceramic cup celebrates the bicentennial of these events.

    2005/10351
  • John Wesley's Study
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    Photograph
    c. 1898-1900

    The first floor rooms of John Wesley's House were opened as a museum in 1898, one of the earliest museums in a historic house in the country. This photograph shows John Wesley's study or living room as it looked shortly after the opening, around the turn of the 20th century. The rooms were presented very much like a shrine to John Wesley, not like a historic house in the way they are today.
  • Sacred Harmony - A Set of Tunes Collected by the Late Revd. John Wesley M.A.
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    Edited and revised by Charles Wesley (jnr), 1822

    John Wesley's first 'Sacred Harmony' hymnal was published in 1780, a second edition following in 1791. 'Sacred Harmony' was the largest collection of Methodist hymn tunes issued during John Wesley's lifetime. It was published shorty after another milestone Methodist hymn book, in 1780, 'A Collection of Hymns, for the Use of the People called Methodists'.

    This revised and corrected edition with tunes was published by John Wesley's composer nephew, Charles Wesley (jnr), in 1822.
  • Cream jug
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    Ceramic, printed
    c.1955-70

    A cream jug featuring an illustration of the staircase at Epworth Rectory, John Wesley's childhood home. The Rectory was acquired by the British Methodist Church with assistance from the World Methodist Council in 1954 and opened as a museum and guest house in 1957. The jug was probably produced shortly after, as a commemorative piece or memento.
  • Commemorative Teapot
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    Printed ceramic
    c.1867

    A 19th century Wesleyan Methodist commemorative teapot celebrating the opening of Ossett Wesleyan Chapel. The teapot is typical of the kind of commemorative ware produced at the time.

    The Wesleyan Chapel on Wesley Street in Ossett was built between 1866-68. It was unusually elaborate for a local chapel and said to be the third largest Methodist chapel in England. It was demolished in 1961.
  • Prize Medal
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    Metal
    late 1800s

    This medal was awarded to a Wesleyan Prize Scholar at Sunday School. No details of the Sunday School where it was awarded are provided, nor any of the winner. Likely, it was a generic prize medal which could have been handed out at any Wesleyan Sunday School.

    2016/15050
  • The Eternity of Hell Torments - A Sermon on Mark ix. 48.
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed at the New Chapel, City Road, London, 1790

    Hell's Torments was a popular and powerful subject for sermons in the 18th century and usually drew large crowds. Many preachers aside from Wesley delivered their own versions of this subject, including George Whitefield (1714-1770) and Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758). In an age when literacy was low and the fear of damnation high, the frightening idea of eternal hell spurred people on to convert like no other.

    1994/2448
  • The Revd John Wesley as an Old Man
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    Oil on canvas
    Painted by Frank O. Salisbury (1874–1962), 1932

    The rather grand and austere portrait depicts John Wesley in old age. It was painted posthumously in 1932, to commemorate the coming together of the Wesleyan Methodist, the United Methodist and the Primitive Methodist denominations that year.

    Having Methodist roots himself, Frank O. Salisbury arranged and paid for the restoration of John Wesley's House in City Road in 1934. Salisbury painted many easel pictures of historical events and religious and allegorical scenes, as well as mural scenes for buildings. He painted five British prime ministers, five US presidents, and many other notable personalities of the interwar years (c. 1918-1939).

    For his self portrait, see 1992/419 in the Collection.
    1997/6654
  • Lunchtime preparations
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    Photograph
    c.1950

    It is a long-standing tradition at Wesley's Chapel to have a Thursday lunchtime service, followed by lunch for the attendees. This image shows members of the congregation in the 1950s preparing lunch prior to the service advertised on the board in the background.
  • Bust of John Wesley
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    Wood
    early 1800s

    This small, wooden bust of John Wesley on a separate plinth is very finely carved. At the back of the bust is inscribed Wesley's name, as well as birth and death dates, and the sides feature the name 'Wesley' in decorative script. It would have been an expensive item to purchase in the early 1800s.

    Later in the century, the demand for commemorative busts of Wesley became so great that it was met through the production of Staffordshire pottery busts. Many of these were modelled in quite a rough way and cheaply decorated.

    1993/1338/1&2
  • Trowel
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    Metal, bone
    1898

    This trowel commemorates the foundation stone laying ceremony of the Southend Primitive Methodist Chapel on January 10th, 1898.

    In the 1800s and early 1900s, the start or finish of a building project, whether a church, chapel or secular public building, was often commemorated with laying a foundation or memorial stone. A trowel, key or other commemorative item was usually presented to the person(s) performing the honours.

    See also the other trowels commemorating the foundation stone laying or refurbishment of Methodist chapels in the Online Collection.
  • Bill of exchange
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    Paper, printed
    1848

    This bill of exchange of the value of £400 was essentially a cheque made out on behalf of the Wesleyan Missionary Society. It was to be cashed in New Zealand and the money to be used by the newly-established District there.

    The signatory of this bill, W. Lawry (1793-1859) was appointed General Superintendent for New Zealand in 1843. He spent much of his life as a missionary in Australia, Tonga and New Zealand, often using his own money to fund his work.
  • Methodist Conference medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1838

    Every district in the country sends representatives to the annual Methodist Conference to take part in decision-making. Commemorative items, including medals, have been produced alongside 'Conference' since its early days.

    2003/9263
  • Medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1839

    This large bronze medal commemorates the centenary of Wesleyan Methodism in 1839.
  • Design
    read more →
    Paper, ink
    By Katherine Baxter, c.2005

    This design was drawn by Katherine Baxter for a souvenir ceramic mug. It shows the area around Wesley's Chapel and a bust of John Wesley.

    2003/9286-2
  • Cure of Evil-Speaking
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    Sermon printed by Paramore, London, 1791

    Many of Wesley's sermons were published individually or as collections. The Cure of Evil-speaking - A Sermon on Matt. XViii 15,16,17 was issued as part of Wesley's four volume publication 'Sermons on Several Occasions', in 1771.

    This particular version was published individually as a pamphlet in 1791.

    1994/2446
  • Fijian priests' dish
    read more →
    Wood
    1800s

    This vessel is made from sacred ‘Vesi’ wood and was once used for cannibal ceremonies. The dish was given to the Rev. James Calvert (1813-1892) when its Fijian owner converted to Christianity. Calvert was a missionary to Fiji who arrived there in 1838, the same year as the Rev. John Hunt.

    See also the other Fijian artefacts in the Online Collection.

    1992/15
  • John Wesley's monument and graveyard
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Photograph, c. 1880-1890

    Two early photographic views of John Wesley's monument and the graveyard behind the Chapel. The plain, raised grave marker in front of the monument is Adam Clarke's (1762-1832) memorial. The metal railings surrounding John Wesley's monument no longer exist.
  • Medal; Commander of the National Order of the Ivory Coast
    read more →
    Metal, enamel, silk
    1985

    Awarded to the Rev. William Platt in 1985 for his services as a missionary in Ivory Coast. He arrived in 1923 and established many churches and schools. The nation's president described him as "a pioneer who led us towards the light".

    2010/12548/1-3
  • Mission chapel, house and school
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    late 1800s

    The engraving depicts an early Methodist chapel, mission house and school building in Mbua, Tonga. Methodism reached Tonga in 1822. The kingdom was never conquered by a western power, however in the 1800s its people enthusiastically adopted Christianity, especially Wesleyan Methodism.

    2011/12929
  • Plate
    read more →
    Ceramic, printed
    1996

    During the 1800s, chapels became grander and more imposing, especially in northern England. Grove Road Methodist Chapel in Harrogate, Yorkshire, is a typical example. Built in 1896, it has strong Italianate influences.

    The plate was issued to mark the centenary of the Church in 1996.
  • Bust of John Wesley
    read more →
    Ceramic
    Sculpted by Enoch Wood 1781, re-issued by Wood in 1831

    John Wesley sat five times for the modelling of the original bust in Burslem, Staffordshire in 1781. The modeller Enoch Wood was just 22 years old at the time, Wesley was 78. Wesley was very well pleased with the likeness of the bust, and it was widely acclaimed as the most realistic resemblance of Wesley ever produced.

    This particular bust was given as a presentation copy from Enoch Wood to Adam Clarke on the 50th anniversary of its first modelling, in 1831.
  • Country rocking chair
    read more →
    Oak, fabric
    c. 1760-1790

    This oak country rocking chair was probably made in Wales. It is a piece of 'Wesleyana', with an association to John Wesley.

    By family tradition, Wesley visited the cottage of the owners of this chair and sat in it, after which it was passed down in the family. Later, it was presented to the museum and is now on display in John Wesley's House.

    The photograph shows it in about 1950.
  • The substance of a sermon preached in Baltimore and Philadelphia, on the first and eighth of May, 1791, on the death of the Rev. John Wesley.
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Preached by T. Coke, printed by G. Paramore, Worship Street, London, 1791

    Thomas Coke (1747-1814) arrived in North America in 1784 with instructions from John Wesley to ordain and consecrate ministers in the new country. Eventually, he and Francis Asbury (1745-1816) were responsible for introducing 'episcopal' Methodism, a type of revised Wesleyan Methodism, to America.

    Coke preached this sermon a few months after Wesley's death. Indeed, Coke cut short his 1790/91 stay in America and returned to England, hoping to be of service there. Perhaps against expectation, Coke did not become Wesley's successor, but was made Secretary to the British Conference. Later, in 1797 and again in 1805, he became President of Conference.

    1994/2427
  • Collection box
    read more →
    Printed cardboard
    c. 1950-60

    A mid 20th century Methodist Medical Missions cardboard collection box.

    Missionary Societies usually looked after the physical welfare of the people in the countries to which they went. Providing medical treatment was an important part of the work of missionaries abroad and overseas. Many missionaries thus had at least basic medical knowledge.

    See also the other collection boxes in the Online Collection.
  • Silhouette portrait
    read more →
    Paper, cardboard, wood
    c.1830-50

    The black card background makes this small white silhouette portrait of John Wesley particularly effective. It is in its original rosewood frame, which is inscribed at the back: "This frame is made from the Sycamore tree under which Wesley preached at Kingswood on the 26th June, 1739".

    1997/6411
  • Charles Wesley's armchair
    read more →
    Wood, horsehair
    c.1760s

    This armchair, probably a desk or study chair, belonged to Charles Wesley (1707-1788). The chair is made from mahogany with an elaborately carved back splat in a style popularised by Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779). The seat is upholstered in finely woven horsehair. Horsehair was very popular as a durable upholstery material in the late 1700s and early 1800s.

    A small silver plaque dated 1862 on the crest (top) rail records that the chair was given by Charles Wesley's eldest son, Charles Wesley junior, to Thomas Jackson. Jackson was President of Conference in 1838 and a distinguished scholar. His writings included a number of books on Charles Wesley.
  • Modern Christianity: Exemplified at Wednesbury, And other adjacent Places in Staffordshire.
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed by Paramore, Worship Street, London, 1792

    First published in 1745, this pamphlet is a later edition dating to 1792. The pamphlet recounts Wesley's experiences in Wednesbury, Staffordshire, in autumn 1743, when he was set upon by an angry mob. Fortunately, Wesley was sheltered by some local people in a hay barn and he escaped harm.

    Wesley's experience was not uncommon. Early Methodists were viewed with suspicion; itinerant preachers often had to content with disgruntled locals and physical attacks.

    2015/14626
  • John Wesley
    read more →
    Gouache on ivory or bone
    Unidentified artist, late 18th/early 19th century

    This miniature shows John Wesley in old age, his features - in particular his nose - being very strong. Wesley is depicted in in front of books and with what is probably an open bible. It is possible that the pigment the artist used to paint Wesley's skin has faded somewhat, making the latter appear almost ghostly.
  • Pocket watch and seal
    read more →
    Metal, stone, fabric, cardboard
    c.1880-1900

    This gold pocket watch, chain and seal in the original, fitted case belonged to the Methodist minister Nehemiah Curnock (1840-1915). Curnock was the decipherer of John Wesley's shorthand and edited Wesley's journals for publication.

    In the 1800s, pocket watches were usually worn on a decorative chain, which was attached to a gentleman's waistcoat. As the chain was on display, it usually featured an attached seal or 'fob' seal, set with a semi-precious stone or crystal, as in this instance.

    2006/10407
  • John Wesley's Study
    read more →
    Postcard on paper
    c. 1935-50

    A postcard view of John Wesley's study or living room as it looked after major refurbishment in the 1930s. By this time, the house was increasingly presented as a historic house, and as it might have looked while Wesley was alive. It is possible that this picture was taken just after the outbreak of WWII, around 1940, to record the interior of the house in case of bomb damage.

    Compare also to the Online Collection postcards of Wesley's Study dating earlier and later.
  • Prayer Meeting Plan
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    1802

    A characteristic feature of Methodism is its methodical structure and the provision of preaching and prayer meeting plans. The plans are essentially a diary of prayer and preaching appointments for preachers and other prayer and worship leaders working within a Methodist 'circuit', or defined groupings of chapels.

    This particular prayer meeting plan is an early printed example showing the arrangements for the City Road and Spitalfields Circuit (today's Wesley's Chapel, City Road Circuit), in 1802. It is interesting - and characteristic of Methodism - that women were accepted and welcome to lead prayer meetings.
  • Building work
    read more →
    Photograph
    c. 1955-60

    The area around Wesley's Chapel was bombed heavily during WWII, 1939-45. It took years to clear and repair the damaged buildings. This photograph shows the site next to the Chapel and John Wesley's House (visible from the side in the image) being redeveloped.
  • A Letter to the Right Reverend The Bishop Of Gloucester
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed by William Pine, Bristol, 1763

    The full title of John Wesley's 'letter' or pamphlet was 'A Letter to the Right Reverend The Bishop Of Gloucester. Occasioned by his tract, on the office and operations of the Holy Spirit.'

    Following its publication in 1763, the letter occasioned an impassioned reply by one Samuel Charndler, who entitled this: 'An answer to the Rev. Mr. John Wesley's letter to William, Lord Bishop of Gloucester : concerning The Charges alledged against him and his Doctrine, in a Book lately published, entitled, The Doctrine of Grace, or the Operation of the Holy Spirit vindicated from the Insults of Infidelity, &c. In a Letter to the Rev. Mr. John Wesley.'

    1994/2547
  • Seals
    read more →
    Horn
    1800s

    Two small pressed horn seals in the shape of Wesley busts, each with mother-of-pearl preaching bands. This particular seal appears to have been very popular; the museum owns several and occasionally one comes across them at collectors fairs and online.

    Interestingly, the right-hand seal is more detailed and the modelling crisper than the left. Although both are by the same manufacturer, it is possible that a different mould was used in their production, or that the existing mould had been used many times prior to casting the left hand seal. This would have resulted in poorer detail.

    See also seal 1998/6967 in the Online Collection.

    2006/10596/1&2
  • The Holy Family
    read more →
    Oil on panel (oak)
    School of Godfried Schalcken, likely 1600s

    A portrait of the Holy Family.

    The scene is painted in the style of the Dutch Old Masters. It is similar to work by Godfried Schalcken (or Gottfried Schalken),1643 –1706. Schalcken was a Dutch portrait and genre painter. Schalcken's work was very detailed and finely painted, and he was particularly celebrated for reproducing candlelight.

    See also the painting of 'Paul at the Gate of the Temple Easing the Suffering' in the Online Collection, likely painted by the same artist.

    1993/1487
  • Box
    read more →
    Wood
    c.1853

    This wooden box is inscribed: "Part of the Tree planted by the Rev. J. Wesley. Born at Epworth, June 17th, 1703. Died in London, Mar, 2nd, 1791. Made for Read & Co. Epworth".

    The box contains a printed slip signed by the minister of Epworth Church dated Jan, 24th, 1853, verifying that the box was indeed cut from wood of this particular sycamore tree in Epworth churchyard.

    There are some wooden roundels in the museum's collection (see Online Collection, 2006/10540) which purport to have been cut from the sycamore tree John Wesley's father Samuel Wesley planted in the churchyard at Epworth to commemorate the birth of his son John. Likely, the trees in question were one and the same.

    2006/10522
  • The Doctrine of Salvation, Faith and Good Works, Extracted from the Homilies of the Church of England
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed by William Pine, Bristol, 1770

    One of John Wesley's highly popular 'extract' publications, already in its 11th edition in 1770.

    1994/2540
  • Portrait of Roger Crane
    read more →
    Oil on wood panel
    Unidentified artist, ca. 1820

    Roger Crane (1758-1836) joined the Wesleyan Methodist society in Preston after a controversy in the Presbyterian church in which he had grown up. He became a local preacher and became known as one of the 'Apostles of the Fylde', together with William Bramwell and Michael Emmett. Crane was known for eloquent and powerful preaching and became one of the leaders of Lancashire Methodism. He met John Wesley on a number of visits to Lancashire in the 1780s.

    The portrait requires conservation.
  • Necessaire set
    read more →
    Metal, cardboard
    late 18th/early 19th century

    A 'necessaire' is a small ornamental case or etui for pencils, scissors, tweezers, and other small and useful items. They were often used by people on their travels. This case belonged to ‘M.Emett, Methodist Preacher’. He entered the Church in 1791 and was stationed in the Yarmouth Circuit in Norfolk.
  • David Hill - Missionary and Saint
    read more →
    Paper bound in cloth
    Author: William T.A. Barber, 1898

    David Hill (1840-1896) served with the British Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society in China and devoted himself to the Chinese people. His personality and devotion inspired many in Britain at the time who felt the call to follow him to China. He became General Superintendent of the Wuchang District (later known as the Hupeh District) in 1885 and was elected to the Legal Hundred in 1888.

    Hill was instrumental in the conversion of the Confucian scholar Hsi to Christianity.

    See also David Hill's teapot in the Online Collection.
  • Highboy
    read more →
    Mahogany veneer on oak and pine carcase
    c. 1770-80

    This mahogany 'highboy', or chest-on-chest, was used for storing linens, including shirts, stockings and under garments. It has a brushing slide, a shallow board which pulls out from the centre of the piece. This was used for brushing out linens or clothes before they were used or worn.

    By tradition, this piece of furniture was John Wesley's. It has been in the Collection since Wesley's House was opened as a museum in 1898 and is marked 'John Wesley's Highboy' on an early, attached label.
  • Dresser
    read more →
    Pine, painted
    c.1779

    This pine dresser was made for John Wesley's House and has always been in the kitchen in the basement. Although technically a free-standing piece of furniture, wall panelling behind it has been built in such a way that the back of the dresser fits neatly and flush into the panelling.

    Like today, the dresser would have held crockery, pots and kitchen utensils. It was probably painted a shade of grey-green originally, like most of the woodwork in the house.
  • The Manners of the Antient Christians extracted from a French Author
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    Fourth edition, published by William Pine, Bristol, 1771

    A pamphlet published by John Wesley as a way of instructing the members in his societies in Christian behaviour. Wesley published many similar instructive texts. His pamphlets were popular and usually went through many editions - this one is the fourth, published in 1771.

    1994/2430
  • Millennium Countdown Commemorative Cover
    read more →
    Paper, printed; ink
    1999

    The Methodist Philatelic Society issued this cover in November 1999, as a way of commemorating the countdown to the millennium. The issue was limited to 5,000 pieces.

    1999/7812/3
  • Short Hymns on Select Passages of the Holy Scriptures, Vol II
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    By Charles Wesley, 1762

    This two volume hymnal was published in Bristol in 1762, following a period during which Charles Wesley suffered ill health. This may account for the reflective tone of a lot of the hymns.

    Often, they relate to a theme suggested by the biblical passages Charles Wesley read, and usually they have some sort of relevance to contemporaneous Methodist concerns. The preface makes clear that many of the hymns deal with debates about Christian Perfection, central to mid 18th century Methodism.

    John Wesley's collection of books included volumes I and II, and both volumes are still in the Collection.
  • Sampler
    read more →
    Wool, cotton
    1798

    This early embroidered sampler shows Wesley's Chapel. The view, taken from the south west, was copied from the first exterior engraving of the Chapel published by John Hindmarsh in 1779. This is also in the Online Collection.

    The sampler was worked by Elizabeth R(B)yalls, aged 12. The education of most girls in the 18th and 19th centuries included the stitching of a sampler. Like many, this one includes a religious verse. However, this unusually large and elaborate sampler has a very clear Wesley connection, which is very rare.
  • Bible
    read more →
    Paper, cardboard, leather
    1800s

    This bible belonged to the Wesleyan Methodist missionary Revd. Thomas Murray. He was stationed in Kingston and Montego Bay, Jamaica, in the 1830s.

    1992/19
  • Vase
    read more →
    Ceramic, decorated and glazed
    c. 2010

    This vase commemorates a recent visit to Wesley’s Chapel by a Methodist group from Korea, where Methodism is particularly strong.

    The vase is decorated with two birds (possibly cranes) in flight and the famous Bible quotation connected to John Wesley, ‘Is this not a brand plucked from the Fire’ (Zachariah, 3:2.).
  • John Wesley
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Engraved by David Carr, c.2000

    This near contemporary engraving of John Wesley was made by David Carr in a small edition of twenty. This engraving is number two. The engraving would appear to be based on the bust of Wesley made by Enoch Wood in 1781.
  • Seal
    read more →
    Ceramic
    1800s

    This small 'fob' seal is made of heavy ceramicware and features an intaglio (or an incised design) of John Wesley. The small hole at the top indicates that the seal was meant to be attached to a chain, probably a watch chain.

    2017/15199
  • John Wesley standing in a graveyard
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    c.1783

    An unusual portrait, possible painted by the Rev. Thomas Olave, vicar of Mucking Church, Essex, which is seen in the background.
  • Stairs in John Wesley's House
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1994

    The photo shows the stairs inside John Wesley's House prior to refurbishment in the 1990s. The stairs are made of pine, in John Wesley's day referred to as 'deal', and a number of decorative schemes can be made out.

    The light brown stripped pine finish of the stairs dates to the 1930s. At that time all paintwork in the house was removed, in the (mistaken) belief that woodwork was left unpainted in the 1700s. The narrow central 'band' in dark brown is painted however and would seem to be earlier. It is probably a painted stair 'runner', dating to the mid 1800s.

    According to the 1779 building plans of John Wesley's House, the staircase was painted five times in French grey. Likely, there wouldn't have been a carpet but a 'drugget', a cloth painted to look like a stair runner.
  • Piece of wood
    read more →
    Wood
    1700s

    According to its label from the mid 1800s, this piece of wood formed part of the Epworth Rectory upper floor window through which John Wesley was rescued during a fire on Feb. 9th, 1709. The fire was arson and burnt down the timber-framed rectory. John's near-miraculous escape convinced his mother Susannah that 'Jacky' was the biblical 'brand pluck'd from the fire' and destined for special things.

    This is another piece of 'Wesleyana' from the 1800s in the museum's Collection.
  • John Wesley's Monument
    read more →
    Photograph
    prior 1940

    Black and white photograph of John Wesley's tomb monument taken in the early 1900s. Compare also to other photographs and postcards of Wesley's monument in the Online Collection.
  • Dr Jabez Bunting
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    mid 1800s

    Jabez Bunting (1779-1858) has sometimes been described as the architect of the Wesleyan Methodist Church during the early 1800s. His leadership steered Methodism away from the Anglican Church, but his authoritarian leadership caused a split in Methodism which led many to leave.

    2011/12932
  • Bomb damage
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1945

    WWII, particularly the Blitz of 1940-41, caused much damage in the City and the surrounding boroughs. In this photograph of Wesley's Chapel and its neighbourhood, the heavy bomb damage is obvious. By good fortune the Chapel survived virtually undamaged.
  • Bust of John Wesley
    read more →
    Ceramic
    c.1781-90

    This 'basaltware' bust of John Wesley is a black, unglazed ceramic version of Enoch Wood's original bust of Wesley modelled in 1781.

    See also the other ceramic busts of John Wesley in the Online Collection.
  • Portrait of Thomas Coke
    read more →
    Gouache on ivory
    By unknown artist, early 19th century

    Thomas Coke (1747-1814) was the first Methodist bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Americas and is sometimes referred to as the Father of Methodist Missions.

    Born in Brecon, South Wales, Coke met John Wesley in 1776, becoming one of his closest assistants. Wesley called Coke "the flea" because he seemed always to be hopping around from one place to another.
    Controversially, John Wesley consecrated Coke for the work in the Americas which, theoretically, only bishops were able to do. Then, in December 1784, a conference of Methodist preachers was held at Baltimore. At this Coke, together with Francis Asbury, was elected superintendent and the Church was constituted as an independent body under the name of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1787 the American Methodist Conference formally endorsed the title of 'bishop' instead of superintendent.

    Coke later returned to England and hoped to open Methodist missions in the East Indies. He set sail for Ceylon (Sri Lanka) on 30 December 1813 but died after four months at sea.

    1992/12
  • Portrait of Mrs Atmore
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, Early 19th century

    Mrs Atmore was the wife of Charles Atmore (1759 - 1826). He was an associate of John Wesley and after Wesley's death, Atmore took a leading part and contributed to the consolidation of the Wesleyan Methodist church. Atmore became President of Conference in 1811-12.
    1992/423
  • John Wesley's House prior refurbishment
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1990

    A photograph of John Wesley's Study just before refurbishment works in the early 1990s. Although historically inaccurate, the wood panelling in the house was stripped off many layers of paint in the 1930s and can be seen here in its bare state. The panelling and doors were later repainted in an off-white colour.

    In front of the window stands John Wesley's reading or 'cockfighting' chair. For further information, please refer to the Online Collection.
  • Commemorative Key
    read more →
    Metal (key, dedication plate); cardboard, fabric (box)
    1923

    This commemorative key in its original box was presented to Mrs R. P. Baines on opening an extension to the Seven Kings United Methodist Church and School on Jan 27th, 1923. The presentation of a key at ceremonial openings of Methodist buildings was established practice by the 1920s, although this key and box are more elaborate than many of that period.

    2006/10650/1&2
  • Illustrated cards
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    Printed for J. Mason, City Road, London, mid 1800s

    Each of these illustrated, religious cards features a verse or poem with a message. Some make direct reference to passages in the Bible. Likely, the cards were intended as a religious study aid or entertainment for children, possibly in Sunday School.

    2006/10404/1-3
  • A Treatise on Christian Prudence
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    4th edition; printed by Paramore at the Foundery, London, 1784

    The treatise is a typical example of a publication Wesley thought instructive and worth reproducing for his followers in amended form. The work had originally been published in 1710 by John Norris (1657-1711), the English philosopher, under the title "A treatise concerning Christian prudence or the principles of practical wisdom, fitted to the use of human life, and design'd for the better regulation of it."

    Like many other authors of the period and in an age before copyright, Wesley extracted passages from existing texts, sometimes amending, re-arranging and commenting on them in the process. The 'Treatise' was one of John Wesley's earliest published works (1734).

    1994/2429
  • Building works
    read more →
    Photograph
    late 1970s

    The photographs depicts the refurbishment of the Benson building next to Wesley's Chapel. This was built in the 1800s, around a hundred years after the completion of the Chapel. Today, it is used as offices, and it contains a meeting room and bedsit accommodation, too.
  • John Wesley's monument
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Published in George J. Stephenson's 'City Road Chapel, London and its associations: historical, biographical and memorial', 1872

    An early view of John Wesley's grave and monument in the grounds of Wesley's Chapel, City Road, where he was laid to rest on 9th March 1791.

    Wesley was the 843rd person to be buried in the Chapel grounds and his epitaph was written by his fellow preacher and friend, Adam Clarke. Wesley's sister Martha, his biographer and six other preachers also share his crypt.
  • Letter from Susanna Wesley to her son John
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    First of two pages, 23rd February 1724

    One of the earliest letters in the Collection, this letter was written by Susanna Wesley to her son.

    Aged 21 and about to take his final examination at Oxford University, John had written to his mother to inform her that he had decided to take holy orders. She refers to this as the 'alteration of yr temper' and the letter makes clear that she is very pleased with his decision. 'If it be so, happy are you if you cherish those Dispositions, and now in good Earnest resolv (sic) to make Religion the Business of yr Life.'

    Interestingly, Susanna points out that John's father would prefer an academic career for his son, and that she and her husband are rarely of the same opinion: '..tis an unhappiness almost peculiar to our Family, That (sic) your Father & I Seldom (sic) think alike'.

    For the full letter, please refer to 'Exhibits' and click on 'Selected Documents'.
  • 'The Revd Mr Whitfield preaching at Leeds, 1749'
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    1749

    George Whitefield (1714-1770) introduced John Wesley to outdoor preaching. Here, Whitefield is depicted preaching to a gathering in Leeds in 1749.

    Both Whitefield and John Wesley were charismatic preachers who stirred the masses. In the mid 1700s, outdoor revival meetings like these could be unruly and violent. Often, large crowds were being told of the transforming power of God and the choice between heaven and hell.
  • Clearance Works II
    read more →
    Photograph
    early 1980s

    Another view of the graveyard clearance and re-landscaping works of the early 1980s. The vestry house next to the Chapel, about to be demolished, can be seen to the right in this image.

    See also 2012/13467 in the Online Collection for a view of the other side of the graveyard at this time and 2012/13472, 2012/13483 and 2012/13492 for general views of the works.

    2012/13466
  • Letter from William Wilberforce to Robert Carr Brackenbury
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    Page one of two, 15th September 1807

    This dictated letter of thanks was sent by William Wilberforce (1759-1833) to Robert Carr Brackenbury (1752-1818).

    Brackenbury was a wealthy Lincolnshire landowner who had been influenced by John Wesley from an early age, built chapels and was very active promoting the Methodist cause. Wilberforce, a fellow Methodist, was the leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. This took twenty years to secure.

    The letter is an acknowledgement of and thanks for Carr Brackenbury's public support of Wilberforce during the 1807 parliamentary session. This session was crucial in securing the Slave Trade Act that year.

    Interestingly, the letter was written as late as September 1807 - royal assent to the Act had been granted in March - which would indicate that Wilberforce was extremely busy that year. This may also explain why Wilberforce added the note that he could not acknowledge and thank "every friend within your circle" who had supported him.
  • John Wes(t)ley (1636-1670)
    read more →
    Engraving, framed
    1800s

    The Reverend John Wes(t)ley was the paternal grandfather of John and Charles Wesley. A Puritan and Non-Conformist, he was imprisoned for preaching 'illegally' after the restoration of Charles II.

    This engraving is based on the oil painting of John Wes(t)ley, accession number 1993/1635, which is also in the Online Collection.
  • Thomas Coke Ditty
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    Short song composed by Charles Wesley on Coke's consecration of Francis Asbury as superintendent or bishop, mid 1780s

    "On C. consecrating Asbury

    A Roman Emperor, tis said
    His favrite (sic) horse a consort made:
    But C. brings stranger things to pass,
    And makes a Bishop of his - Ass!"

    This ditty hints at a major late 18th century crisis between Methodism and the Anglican Church in England.

    When John Wesley sought the ordination of some of his followers whom he wished to send to the American colonies in 1784, the Bishop of London refused. Frustrated, Wesley decided to ordain the men for the work himself and sent Thomas Coke as superintendent of the colonies to America. John's brother Charles was furious that John had performed the ordinations without the Church of England's authority, arguing that such action was tantamount to breaking with the Church. The rift and Charles's scorn became greater when Thomas Coke proceeded to ordain Francis Asbury as fellow superintendent, or bishop, of the Americas at the 1784 Baltimore Christmas conference of Methodist preachers.

    The ordination signalled the formal breakaway of the American Methodists from the Church of England.
  • Gospel Temperance Union medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1800s

    The Gospel Temperance Union was an offshoot of the American Blue Ribbon Mission.

    See also the other medals relating to the Temperance cause in the Online Collection.

    2006/10761
  • John Wesley preaching in Ireland
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Maria Sppilsbury Taylor, 1815

    John Wesley visited Ireland twenty-one times between 1747 and 1789. On his last visit, in 1789, he preached under the Spanish chestnut tree depicted in the painting. Spilsbury Taylor painted the scene after Wesley's death, in 1815, which accounts for the early 19th century garments and hair fashions.
    1997/6628
  • Teapots
    read more →
    Ceramic
    Staffordshire, late 18th century

    Commemorative ware featuring John Wesley was popular during Wesley’s later years and increasingly so in memory of Wesley after his death in 1791. Like these teapots which are made of creamware (a type of ceramic associated with Josiah Wedgwood), they usually featured an image of Wesley and a prayer or moral text.
  • The Vestry
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    Photograph, Early 1900s

    The image shows the old Vestry at Wesley's Chapel, City Road. The Vestry building was on the left hand side of and behind the Chapel (seen from the main entrance). It was housed inside a separate yet attached building. As can be seen in the image, the walls of the Vestry were panelled in dark wood.

    The Vestry building was demolished early in the 1980s, when the graveyard at the back of the Chapel was cleared and re-designed also. The site of the Vestry is now occupied by a mirrored office building.

    1995/4107
  • Portrait of Christ
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    by Herbert Beecroft (1864-1951), 1927

    And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the Lord’s words; “Tonight before the cock crows you will disown me three times (Luke XXII.61)

    This painting is among the most reproduced paintings of Christ of all time. Beecroft lived in Reading and attended Methodist Church there, before emigrating to Australia in 1905.
  • Frank O. Salisbury, self portrait
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    1937

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer in the early 20th century. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    See also 1997/6654 in the Collection and the series 'The Prophets of Israel' on loan from the Bible Society.

    1992/419
  • The Charter House Hospital
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Engraved by W.H. Toms, 1739

    The London Charterhouse was founded as a Carthusian priory in 1371, reportedly on land used as one of the largest London plague pits during the 'Black Death' plague of 1348-49. In 1611, the buildings were bought by Thomas Sutton, who established a school for boys and almshouses for the elderly.

    John Wesley was admitted as a Foundation Scholar at the school in 1714, aged 11. John had been nominated by the Duke of Buckingham and Marquis of Normanby, his father's patron. Foundation Scholars were given financial support by the Charterhouse (or the 'Charter House Hospital', as it was known then), as their fathers could not afford to pay the school fees. John stayed until 1720 and then went on to study at Christ Church, Oxford.

    This engraving shows the Charterhouse much as John would have known it.
  • Letter from John Wesley to Duncan Wright, 1772
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    21st January 1772

    A further letter from John Wesley to Duncan Wright (1736-1791) in Scotland.

    Here, Wesley discusses travel plans for his visit to Scotland that year and asks whether all societies (circuits) in Scotland are supplied with the necessary (hymn) books. He advises Wright: " The Success of the work greatly depends on the constant change of the Preachers & the showing of the whole Methodist, both as to Doctrine and Discipline in every place."

    For further information on Duncan Wright, see also Wesley's 1771 letter to him in the Online Collection.
  • Sheet of stamps, 'Hark the herald angels sing'
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    1999

    This commemorative stamp was one of the stamps issued in the series 'The Christian's Tale' by Royal Mail to celebrate the Millennium. It bears the famous first line: 'Hark the herald angels sing', from Charles Wesley's hymn, and a hymn book extract.

    1999/7813
  • Wesleyan Methodism Considered in Relation to the Church
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    1841

    Interestingly, this pamphlet was also published as 'Wesleyan Methodism Considered in Relation to the Church: to which is subjoined a Plan for their Union and more effective Co-operation'. It was published in 1841 by the Reverend Richard Hodgson. Perhaps the shorter title was thought less incendiary.

    This particular copy is inscribed: "The Reverend Robert Newstead. With the Author's Xtian regards. King's College, London 12 April 1841."

    1994/2443
  • Memorial plaque of John Wesley
    read more →
    Ceramic, decorated in underglaze blue
    c.1795-1800

    This early, oval commemorative plaque of John Wesley is unusually elaborate and inspired by classical decoration, fashionable at the time the plaque was produced.

    Compare also to the other commemorative ceramic plaques of Wesley in the Collection.
  • The Museum of Methodism
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.2004

    The Museum of Methodism at Wesley's Chapel, City Road explores the development of Methodism in Britain and overseas. It receives many thousands of visitors every year. This photograph shows a visitor group watching the introductory film, prior to the museum's refurbishment in 2013.

    2007/11001
  • Two love feast cups
    read more →
    Glazed, painted and printed ceramic
    Probably Staffordshire potteries, c.1800-1830

    Most love feast or 'loving' cups are plain, but some feature patterns; most were inexpensively produced. These two early love feast cups decorated in transfer print blue 'Willow' pattern and with other exotic decoration were inspired by Chinese patterns. The underglaze blue willow pattern was universally popular in the early 19th century and cheap to mass produce.

    For more information about love feast cups refer to the other 'loving' cups in the Online Collection.
  • Bookcase
    read more →
    Mahogany veneered on oak and pine
    c. 1780

    This simple mahogany bookcase belonged to John Wesley. It was made for his sitting room or study. Amongst other books, it used to contain proofing copies of Wesley's own publications.

    The door arrangement is unusual; the upper doors slide, while concealed push buttons release two large folding doors below.
  • Susanna Wesley Memorial
    read more →
    Photograph
    1970s

    A black and white photograph of Susanna Wesley's memorial, the front garden and manse at Wesley's Chapel.

    The memorial was erected by public subscription in 1870, but it does not mark Susanna's grave. She was buried in Bunhill Fields graveyard, opposite the Chapel, in 1742. This was some thirty-six years before Wesley's Chapel in City Road was built.
  • Bust
    read more →
    Metal
    1800s

    Small metal bust of George Whitefield (1714-1770), to which was probably once attached a seal. George Whitefiled was one of the most famous preachers of the 1700s and was responsible for introducing John Wesley to preaching outdoors.

    Whitefield and Wesley were both Methodists but disagreed on some fundamental aspects of doctrine.
  • Medal
    read more →
    Metal, fabric
    1880

    This medal on a silk ribbon commemorates the 100th anniversary of the founding of Sunday Schools by Robert Raikes in 1780.

    Raikes (1736 - 1811) was was a pioneer of the Sunday school movement, which started with a school for boys in the slums. Raikes saw schooling as the best early intervention in a possible life of crime, a preventive measure which was better than a cure. Sunday schooling was chosen as this was usually the only day boys were not working (usually in factories), and teaching materials were based on the Bible. Although not a Methodist, Raikes' efforts and achievements were discussed in Wesley's Methodist or 'Arminian' Magazine. Methodism organised its own Sunday schools, open to boys and girls, from the early 19th century.

    The medal would have been distributed among children attending Sunday Schools; see also other Sunday School commemorative medals in the Online Collection.
  • Portable pulpit or preaching stand
    read more →
    Metal and wood
    mid 20th century

    This portable, folding preaching stand was used regularly by Donald Oliver Soper, Baron Soper (1903 –1998) at London's Speaker's Corner, Hyde Park.

    Soper was a Methodist minister, pacifist and socialist, who was known for his powerful preaching and wit. From 1936 until his retirement in 1978, he was the minister of Kingsway Hall, the home of the West London Methodist Mission. The mission exercised a ministry of practical care for marginalised groups. Soper served as President of Conference in 1953-54 and was awarded a life peerage in 1965.
  • Paul at the Gate of the Temple Easing the Suffering
    read more →
    Oil on panel (oak)
    School of Godfried Schalcken, likely 1600s

    The title of the portrait would imply a passage in the Bible. However, it has not been possible to identify this, so it is possible that the painting was an imaginary composition.

    The scene is painted in the style of the Dutch Old Masters. It is similar to work by Godfried Schalcken (or Gottfried Schalken),1643 –1706. Schalcken was a Dutch portrait and genre painter. Schalcken's work was very detailed and finely painted, and he was particularly celebrated for reproducing candlelight.

    See also the painting of 'The Holy Family' in the Online Collection, likely painted by the same artist.

    1993/1482
  • Newspaper
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    1885

    Methodist publications and newspapers have been published since 1778, when John Wesley published the 'Arminian Magazine', to deal with the theological differences between Calvinist and Arminian (Wesleyan) Methodists.

    The Methodist Times was a Methodist paper which helped foster a sense of identity among Methodists. The Methodist Times was absorbed into the Methodist Recorder newspaper in 1937.
  • Seal and seal impression
    read more →
    Metal, stone, wax
    late 1700s

    This small 'fob' seal is made from metal and rock crystal. Fob seals were usually decorative and were carried on a chain. The seal belonged to Thomas Coke (1747-1814), who was at one time described as the 'father of Methodist missions'. On display alongside is a wax impression of the seal.

    Seals and sealing wax were commonly used until the mid 19th century to seal important documents to guarantee their authenticity and letters to ensure privacy.

    See also the writing slope and other items belonging to Thomas Coke in the Online Collection.
  • Wesley's Chapel
    read more →
    Photograph
    1899

    This unusual photograph dates just before 1900. Unlike most early images of the Chapel, it shows the whole site, including John Wesley's House to the right and the (then newly-built) ministers' manse to the left.

    At the time, the Chapel had a small cupola on the roof. Probably, this was added for venting once gas lighting was installed, which gave off heat and created soot.

    The landscaping of the forecourt in the image is still as laid out in the late 1700s. The straight lines of the pavement were removed and softened in the late 1970s when the Chapel was refurbished.
  • Ink pot
    read more →
    Glass
    c.1790-1810

    This little ink pot is one of two and belonged to Thomas Coke (1747-1814). They were contained in his travelling writing desk or slope, an image of which is also in the Online Collection.

    The writing implement, at this time either a quill or an early metal-nibbed pen, would have been dipped into the ink pot every few seconds when writing. A writer of many letters and much other material, the ink pot is a potent symbol of Coke's work.
  • Spoon
    read more →
    Metal, engraved
    c.1780

    One of a set of six sterling silver tea spoons in the Collection. Each is engraved with the initials 'IMP'.

    These spoons were not John Wesley's, but he is known to have had four silver spoons which would have looked almost identical. In a letter in 1776, he wrote: “I have two silver spoons at London and two at Bristol. This is all the plate I have at present, and I shall not buy any more while so many round me want bread.”

    2008/11226/1-6
  • Medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1895

    This medal commemorates 100 years of the Ebenezer Wesleyan Chapel, Old King Street, Bristol in 1895. The Chapel was pulled down in 1954 for the development of the Broad Mead Shopping Centre.

    2003/9111
  • Clearance Works IV
    read more →
    Photograph
    early 1980s

    This photograph of the graveyard during clearance was taken from the roof of the vestry house at the back of the Chapel, soon to be demolished. John Wesley's boxed-in tomb is not visible in this image but was just to the right-hand side of this photograph.

    See also 2012/13466, 2012/13467, 2012/13472 and 2012/13492 in the Online Collection for other views of the clearance works.

    2012/13483
  • Commemorative Keyring
    read more →
    Metal
    2013

    A keyring issued to commemorate the re-opening of the Museum of Methodism at Wesley's Chapel, City Road, after refurbishment in 2013. The keyring was commissioned by Kwanglim Methodist Church, South Korea, one of the donors to the refurbishment, and distributed on the day of re-opening.

    2013/13880/1
  • A Letter
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    mid/late 1700s

    This 18th century pamphlet or 'letter' is addressed to an anonymous recipient and written by a 'country gentleman'. At the time, this form of writing was a conventional way to level (as well as deal with) criticism. The 'Letter' is an example of many such publications criticizing - as well as justifying - the emerging Methodist movement.

    1994/2538
  • Loving Cup
    read more →
    Ceramic
    c.1830-70

    A typical example of a two-handled 'love feast' or loving cup, the cup used during Methodist love feast services. It is very simple, decorated in a one-colour transfer print and featuring the words 'Wesley Chapel'. The wording (although grammatically not quite correct) would have made it relevant and usable in any Methodist Chapel.

    See also the other 'love feast' or loving cups in the Online Collection.
  • Wesley's Chapel interior
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    ca. 1870-80

    A mid-Victorian view of the interior of Wesley's Chapel, prior to stained glass being installed and after the pulpit had been cut down. There is an interesting lighting arrangement of glass bowls mounted all around the gallery at first floor level; these were probably gas lights. Compare also to the other interior views in the Collection.
  • The Potent Enemies Of America Laid Open
    read more →
    Some account of the baneful effects attending the use of distilled spirituous liquers, and the slavery of the negroes;
    Printed on paper, bound in leather. Printed by Joseph Crukshank, Market Street, Philadelphia, 1774

    This culturally-important publication brings together a number of contemporary views on serious issues affecting the American colonies in the mid 1700s, including slavery and alcohol. It was authored by Anthony Benezet (1713-84), with significant tracts, extracts and quotations taken from other authors, including John Wesley.
  • Tercentenary Medal
    read more →
    Metal
    2003

    This gilt-metal commemorative medal was issued in 2003 to mark the tercentenary of John Wesley's birth.

    2014/14196
  • Lock of hair
    read more →
    Hair, paper; wood, cardboard glass (frame)
    early 1800s

    A mounted and framed strand of hair, likely John Wesley's. According to the card on which it is mounted, the hair was found among the possessions of 'Miss Tooth'. It is likely she was the daughter of Samuel Tooth, the man John Wesley engaged to build his chapel on City Road, and who was later a very active member of the congregation there.

    For further, similar mementoes of Wesley see the Online Collection.
  • Chapel Roof on Fire
    read more →
    Photograph
    1952

    A fire on 25th November 1952 had the potential to become devastating, but swift action by the fire brigade ensured that the damage was minor. In the photograph, smoke can be seen rising from the Chapel roof and fire fighters are investigating the cause of the blaze.

    See also other images of this fire in the Online Collection.

    1995/2951/4
  • Charles Wesley medal
    read more →
    metal
    early 1800s

    This medal commemorates the 100th anniversary of the founding of Methodism in 1739. Both Wesley brothers were favourite subjects for commemorative anniversary ware.
  • Before the service
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1950s

    This black and white photograph depicts members of the congregation and visitors getting ready for the Sunday service, sometime in the 1950s.
  • Christening dress
    read more →
    Silk, cotton lace
    1700s

    By tradition, this finely-worked silk Christening dress belonged to the Wesley family. It would appear to date to the mid 1700s.

    It is unlikely that John and Charles Wesley were christened in the dress. Their home, the old Rectory at Epworth, burnt down in 1709, when John was six and Charles two years' old. Susanna Wesley was not the type of mother who would have saved a christening dress when many other - more precious and essential - household items were lost.

    John Wesley had no children, so it is possible and most probable that the dress belonged to the family of Charles Wesley. Charles had seven (or possibly eight) children, although only three survived infancy.
  • Commemorative plaque
    read more →
    Brass
    1924

    An unusual John Wesley brass plaque which was made in Germany in 1924.

    The Methodist Community in Germany is comparatively small. The first Methodist missionary to Germany, G. Müller, started preaching in 1830 and gained followers mainly in Württemberg, southern Germany.
  • Portrait of the Rev. Richard Watson (1781-1833)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, 19th century

    Watson was one of the first outstanding Wesleyan Methodist theologians and had a keen interest in promoting foreign missions. He became President of Conference in 1826. Watson is perhaps best remembered for his 'Theological Institutes' (1831), in which he tried to bring John Wesley's theology into a coherent system.
    1993/1480
  • John Wesley
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by Robert Hunter (c.1715/1720–c.1803), 1765

    John Wesley (1703-1791) was an Anglican clergyman who became one of the founders of Methodism. When this portrait was painted in 1765, Wesley was sixty-two years old, older than the painting would suggest.

    Robert Hunter (fl. 1748–1780) was a portrait-painter and a native of Ulster. He had a painting studio of considerable size in Dublin in the middle of the eighteenth century. The tonality of his works was influenced by the colouring of old master paintings and he is said to have produced excellent likenesses.

    1994/2784
  • Christian Letters
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    By Mr Joseph Alleine. Printed by J. Paramore, City Road, London, 1787

    Joseph Alleine (1634-1668) was a Puritan preacher who was ejected from the Church of England in 1662 for Nonconformity.

    The 'Christian Letters' were written during two spells of imprisonment following Alleine's ejection from the Church and a period of increased and fiery preaching. They were published by his wife in 1672, following Alleine's early death in 1668. The 'Letters' are full of spiritual instruction, and they were popular and reprinted through the 1700s and 1800s.

    1994/2550
  • Note from William Wilberforce
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    '21st May' (no year)

    A scribbled note in connection with slavery from William Wilberforce (1759-1833) to the Rev. Marsden (1765-1838).

    Marsden had been recommended by Wilberforce in 1793 as assistant to the chaplain of New South Wales, Australia. There, Marsden became very active in the local superintendence and financial management of the London Missionary Society, as well as the affairs of the British and Foreign Bible Society.

    Unfortunately, the note isn't dated, and not all of the content is legible. Wilberforce apologised he had written 'in haste'.
  • John Wesley (1703-1791)
    read more →
    Oil on glass panel
    Unidentified artist, late 19th century?

    A profile view of Wesley painted in the naïve tradition and on glass. Compare also to Collection works 1999/1583 and 1999/1484 painted in a similar manner.

    1993/1621
  • Credulity, Superstition and Fanaticism
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    By William Hogarth, 19th century re-print of 1762 original

    This satirical engraving ridicules secular and religious credulity, and illustrates the popular 18th century view of the exaggerated religious "enthusiasm" of the Methodist movement.

    In the pulpit preaches a misguided clergyman who wears a harlequin gown under his clerical jacket and whose book is opened at a page which reads "I speak as a fool". There are various references to George Whitefield beneath the pulpit - is the preacher Whitefield? - and references to John Wesley beneath a giant emotional thermometer to the right. The congregation in turn is in throes of religious ecstasy, horror and disgust.

    Only the turbaned Muslim looking in through the window and smoking his pipe appears sane.
  • Samuel Wesley
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    by John Jackson R.A. (1778-1831)

    Samuel Wesley (1766-1837) was the son of John Wesley’s brother Charles. He was a child prodigy and, like his father, became a well-known composer and organist.
  • Rev. John Rattenbury
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, c.1872

    John Rattenbury (1806-1879) was a Wesleyan minister and the founder of a dynasty of Methodist ministers. He grew up in Manchester and was converted by Robert Newton. It is said that he was a near hypnotic preacher, and that he was responsible for many conversions. A family tradition asserts that the first railway excursion on the Stockton and Darlington line was to hear him preach. Rattenbury launched the Metropolitan Chapels Building Fund and was elected President of Conference in 1861.

    The painting requires conservation.

    1993/1615
  • Commemorative Medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1836

    A medal commemorating the ninety-third Methodist Conference in 1836. The Conference was held in Birmingham that year, the first time to take place there, and the President of Conference that year was Jabez Bunting (1779-1858). The reverse features a bust of John Wesley, name and dates; this was standard for official Methodist commemorative medals of this period. The top of the medal has been drilled, presumably to take a ribbon.

    See also 2006/10350 in the Online Collection, the Conference Medal issued the following year, in 1837.

    1996/4951
  • Centenary Medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1839

    The first hundred years of Wesleyan Methodism were celebrated with the creation of a great hall for meetings and prayer in Bishopsgate. It became known as the 'Centenary Hall' and is depicted on this medal. Like many early Methodist medals, the reverse depicts John Wesley, founder of (Wesleyan) Methodism.

    For another example of this medal, but depicting the reverse, see no. 2005/10347 in the Online Collection.

    2005/10345
  • Two tea spoons
    read more →
    Metal
    c.1800

    These silver tea spoons belonged to Adam Clarke and are engraved with his initials.

    Adam Clarke (1760/62 - 1832) was a Methodist theologian and Bible scholar. Today, he is especially remembered for writing a Bible commentary. This comprehensive and scholarly work took forty years to complete and served as a Methodist theological resource for generations.

    1994/2563/1&2
  • Chapel forecourt
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1900-1920

    A view of the Chapel forecourt and the statue of John Wesley by the sculptor John Adams-Acton (1830-1910). This was installed in 1891. The pavement around the statue was later removed, to allow for better vehicle access, and the trees were pollarded.
  • Trowel
    read more →
    Metal, bone
    1890s

    Another example of a trowel commemorating the laying of a Methodist Chapel foundation stone from the museum's collections.

    In the 1800s and early 1900s, the start or finish of a building project, whether a church, chapel or secular public building, was often commemorated with laying a foundation or memorial stone. A trowel, key or other commemorative item was usually presented to the person(s) performing the honours.

    See also the other trowels commemorating the building and refurbishment of Methodist chapels in the Online Collection.
  • Commemorative medal
    read more →
    Metal, silk
    1884

    This gilt medal was struck to commemorate the centenary of Wesleyan Methodism in the Channel Islands. John Wesley sent out Robert Carr Brackenbury (1752-1818) to establish the Society's first station in Jersey (1784) and Guernsey (1789).
  • Adam Clarke and two former Buddhists
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by Alexander Mosses, 1820

    Adam Clarke (1760 - 1832) is depicted in his library with two former Buddhist monks.

    Arriving in England in May 1818, the two monks were met by Rev. Dr. Adam Clarke (1762-1832), an Irish Methodist and well known scholar on the New Testament. Clarke looked after the monks. In 1820, he wrote: ‘did so; and in doing it encountered many difficulties, which, because the good hand of my God was upon me, I surmounted; and, after twenty months instruction under my own roof, I was fully convinced that they were sincere converts to the Christian religion, and that their minds were under a very gracious influence. At their own earnest desire I admitted them into the church of Christ by baptism’.

    Later in life, Adam Clarke would become a notable collector of Arabic, Persian and Syriac Manuscripts and he was the composer of the epitaph on John Wesley's tomb.

    1992/496
  • Chapel vestibule
    read more →
    Postcard printed on paper
    c.1900

    This postcard shows the entrance area of Wesley's Chapel, City Road, in about 1900.

    As built, Wesley's Chapel had no entrance area or vestibule and the Chapel was one large room. In the late 1800s, a vestibule was thought desirable, as it reduced noise from the street and helped to keep the Chapel warmer in winter. Thus, in the 1890s, a wooden screen with stained glass windows was installed. The screen is visible to the left of the image.

    Compare this postcard with the Online Collection image of the glass screen wall as installed following the refurbishment of the Chapel in the 1970s.

    2019/15984
  • William Dieuaide
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    Engraving, Late 18th century

    The engraving shows Mr William Dieuaide, described as 'Preacher of the Gospel' in the Arminian Magazine in which this print appeared. In 1794 he was stationed on Jersey.

    1992/229
  • Reverend Thomas Allen
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by Arthur Trevethin Nowell (1862–1940), 1906

    Thomas Allen (1837-1912) trained for the Wesleyan Methodist ministry at Didsbury College. He rose to become Chairman of the Sheffield Wesleyan Methodist District (1886-1897) and Chairman of the Birmingham and Shrewsbury District; he also became Governor of Handsworth College (1887-1905). Allen was elected President of the Methodist Conference in 1900.

    Arthur Trevethin Nowell was a painter of classical subjects, portraits and landscapes. Between 1882 and 1939 he exhibited widely in the UK, Europe and America.

    The portrait requires conservation.

    1993/1612
  • Bust of F.L.Wiseman (1858-1944)
    read more →
    Stone, on wooden plinth
    By George Henry Paulin (1888–1962), 1948

    The Revd Dr Frederick Luke Wiseman (1858-1944) started his ministry as the first Superintendent of the Birmingham Mission (1888-1913). He served as President of the Wesleyan Methodist Conference in 1912 and of the Methodist Conference in 1933. Between 1940 and 1944, he was minister of Wesley's Chapel, City Road. Wiseman also served as Chairman of the committee preparing the 1933 Methodist Hymn Book, which included 11 hymn tunes he had composed himself.

    Following WWII, The Methodist Connexion commissioned the well-known Scottish sculptor G.H. Paulin (1888-1962) to model Wiseman's bust. Paulin was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of British sculptors in 1938.
  • Garden Preparation Works
    read more →
    Photograph
    early 1980s

    This photograph shows the start of the graveyard clearance works, prior to building the office block at the back of the Chapel and re-landscaping. Young members of the Chapel can be seen burning leaves and wood.

    2008/11261
  • Wesley's Chapel interior
    read more →
    Black & white photograph on paper
    c. 2000

    This black and white photograph was taken from the Gallery. The monochromatic colour emphasises the architectural detail of the space, especially the ceiling and the Victorian and later stained glass windows.

    Compare also to the earlier watercolours and engravings of the interior in the Collection.
  • Visit of the Prime Minister II
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1980

    Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher (1925-2013) was married and her children baptized at Wesley's Chapel, City Road.

    Here she is shown in John Wesley's House around 1980, attending an official function and surrounded by the Superintendent of the Chapel, the Curator and the Mayor of Islington.

    See also photograph 2019/16023 in the Online Collection.

    2019/16024
  • Portrait John Alfred Sharp (1856-1932)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by Agnes Clara Tatham (1893–1972), c.1920

    Sharp was born in Dorset in 1856. After working as a carpenter, he was converted by Alexander M'Aulay, after which he trained at Didsbury and Handsworth Colleges. He became particularly interested in social issues and educational affairs. In 1906 he became Connexional Temperance Secretary. Later, between 1911 and 1932, he served as Book Steward in the Methodist Book Room on City Road, the Methodist publishing house.

    Sharp strengthened the Book Room's links with the book trade and also with Churches overseas, and he oversaw many well-known publications whilst in charge. In 1921 he was elected President of Conference.

    1993/1640
  • The Vestibule
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    Photograph, c.1980

    The image shows the vestibule and glass screen at Wesley's Chapel, City Road, shortly after installation. Originally, there was no vestibule and the Chapel was one big space. In the late 1800s, a stained oak and glass screen was installed, however, this made the Chapel very dark. The glass screen in the photograph was thought to be much more neutral, and it is still in place today.
  • Letter from George Whitefield to Charles Wesley
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    Page one of four, 30 December 1736

    An interesting letter from George Whitefield, the well-known evangelical preacher and fellow Holy Club member, to Charles Wesley.

    The letter was written following Charles's return to England in 1736, while his brother John was still serving in Savannah, Georgia. The letter makes clear Whitefield feels called to join John Wesley in Georgia, but also criticises Charles for serving as the governor's secretary when 'Labourers are so much wanted in the quality of a Missionary'.

    Whitefield was to arrive in Georgia in May 1738, by which time John Wesley had already left. Whitefield became the leader of the American evangelical awakening.

    For the full letter, please refer to 'Exhibits' and click on 'Selected Documents'.
  • Isaiah: The Appointed of God
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), c.1930

    One of a series of dramatic oil on canvas studies of the biblical prophets by Frank O. Salisbury. Salisbury's work was illustrated in 'The Prophets of Israel', in 1933.

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    The painting is on long term loan to Wesley's Chapel from the Bible Society.

    See also the other paintings by Frank O. Salisbury in the Online Collection.
  • Wesley's Chapel
    read more →
    Photograph
    c. 1950

    A photograph of Wesley's Chapel around the 1950s. The prominent turret or cupola on the roof of the Chapel was added in Victorian times. It was a vent for the heat and smoke resulting from the gas lighting installed in the mid 1800s. The cupola was removed in the restoration works of the 1970s.
  • Commemorative medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1834

    The slave trade had been abolished in Britain and its Empire in 1807. This 1834 medal commemorates its end in British dominions.

    1993/598
  • Shirt cuffs
    read more →
    Cotton
    1700s

    These shirt cuffs belonged to John Wesley. They are made from fine cotton and embroidered with the initials 'IW', 'I' being the Roman version of the letter 'J'. The Roman alphabet was used quite commonly in the 1700s. The cuffs still bear a label from the 1800s.

    Cuffs used to be shirt and sleeve protectors. They were separate from shirts, so they could be washed easily. Once worn out, cuffs could be disposed of separately from the shirt.

    2014/14209/1+2
  • Book and medal
    read more →
    Paper, cardboard (book); metal, fabric (medal)
    1970s (medal); 2006 (book)

    Methodist Dr Pauline Webb (1927-2017) was a champion of gender equality and a role model for women and women preachers; she also combatted racism all her life. Dr Webb was Vice Moderator of the World Council of Churches (1968-75) and her passion for preaching led her into religious broadcasting with the BBC.

    In 2006, she published her memoirs, 'World-Wide Webb'. Alongside the book can be seen her award celebrating her time as Vice Moderator of the World Council of Churches.
  • A Sermon preached before the Society for Reformation of Manners
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed by R.Hawes, London, 1778

    Wesley preached this sermon before the Society for the Reformation of Manners on January 30, 1763 at the Chapel in West-Street, Seven-Dials.

    The Society for the Reformation of Manners was founded in London in 1691 and its aims were the suppression of profanity, immorality and lewd activities; The Society was especially opposed to prostitution and brothels. Wesley chose to preach before The Society in Covent Garden, which was the hotbed of prostitution and vice at the time.

    1994/2536
  • Sketch of John Wesley
    read more →
    Crayon on paper
    Drawn by Frank O. Salisbury, c.1931/32

    This small crayon sketch of John Wesley was drawn by Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962) in preparation for one of a small number of oil paintings of Wesley he did in 1932 to celebrate Methodist Union. This sketch was one of at least three preparatory sketches.

    See also one of Salisbury's oil paintings of John Wesley in the Online Collection.

    1999/7233/4
  • Stone chip
    read more →
    Stone, paper
    1800s

    According to its handwritten label, this small piece of stone was taken from the tomb of John Wesley's father, Samuel. Samuel Wesley (1662-1735) was buried in the grounds of St Andrew's Church at Epworth, where he had been rector since 1695 and until his death.

    In the 1800s, Methodist mementoes were greatly desirable, and a huge range of objects was produced to satisfy demand. Anything with a remote connection to Wesley or his family became valuable, and, sadly, this resulted in some collectors cannibalising buildings, monuments and trees.
  • Brooch
    read more →
    Gemstones and metal
    c. 1950

    This small diamond and Burmese sapphire brooch in the form of the letter ‘W’ stands for ‘Women’s Work'.

    The stones in uncut form were given as a thank you and retirement present to Mrs Harold Crawford Walters, wife of a Methodist missionary in Burma (now Myanmar), in 1930. She had participated very actively in his work. After her death, Mr Crawford Walters' second wife had the stones cut and set in a brooch in the form of a 'W'. She then donated the brooch as a badge of office for the President of the North Lancashire District of the Methodist Missionary Society ' Women’s Work'.

    The Methodist Missionary Society 'Women’s Work' trained, equipped and financed the sending of women missionaries overseas. Although not without ethical issues from today's perspective, the society empowered women at a time when it was still expected that most women would become housewives and mothers.
  • Wesley's Chapel Garden
    read more →
    Photograph
    1990

    A black and white photograph of the Chapel garden, looking from beneath the new office block towards John Wesley's tomb monument and the Chapel.

    2008/11637
  • Horn pipe
    read more →
    Horn, silver, metal
    c. 1810-30

    This pipe is made from animal horn. It belonged to the Reverend Barnabas Shaw (1788-1857), first official Wesleyan missionary in Africa.

    In 1816, the Rev Barnabas Shaw and his wife established the first Methodist mission station at Leliefontein, Namaqualand. Shaw was instrumental in establishing Methodist Societies in and around Cape Town, South Africa. Later, his initiative helped Methodism expand all along the eastern Cape coastline.
  • Hallway, John Wesley's House
    read more →
    Photograph
    c. 1935-50

    After the first floor rooms of John Wesley's House were opened as a museum in 1898, the house was refurbished a number of times with the aim to re-create faithfully the surroundings in which Wesley lived.

    This mid 20th century photograph of the hallway in Wesley's House shows the half height pine panelling and stairs stripped bare. The walls were painted a shade of white or light cream. This decorative arrangement was in keeping with then prevalent ideas of Georgian design and decoration. Later research showed that pine was always painted and never left bare in Georgian times.
  • Wesleyan Society Centenary Medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1839

    This medal was issued by the Wesleyan Methodist Church on Oct. 25th, 1839 to celebrate the centenary of its Foundation. Remarkably, the medal lists precise membership numbers for Britain and the Americas at the time, including 389,853 itinerant preachers in the United Kingdom alone - a very large number.

    The top of the medal is drilled, presumably to attach a ribbon.

    2005/10348
  • Newspaper cutting
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    1934

    This newspaper cutting shows the re-opening ceremony of John Wesley's House after extensive refurbishment in 1934. The opening ceremony was performed by Alice Maud Salisbury, wife of the painter Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962).

    See also the ceremonial key 1998/7070/1 used for the ceremony in the Online Collection.

    1998/7070/3
  • Elegies on the Queen and Archbishop
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    Printed by B. Motte for C. Harper, Fleet Street, London, 1695

    A publication of poetry composed by John Wesley's father, Samuel Wesley (1662-1735), in praise and remembrance of Queen Mary II and John Tillotson, Archbishop of Canterbury. Both Queen Mary and the Archbishop had passed away the previous year, in 1694.

    Samuel Wesley was a staunch supporter of Queen Mary and the Archbishop in the 1690s and dedicated other poetic work to the Queen. This alliance may have assisted him in obtaining the appointment to the Rectory of Epworth a few years later, in 1697.

    2014/14432
  • Scripture card dispenser or entertainment
    read more →
    Ink on paper, metal container
    c. 1800

    An interesting early religious entertainment or 'game' consisting of hand-written Bible scripture cards in a box. It is likely the idea was to pick one card, reflect on the nature of the verse and to apply this to daily life. Because of the perishable nature of paper and ink, such home-made entertainments are a rare survival.
  • Primitive Physick, Or, An Easy And Natural Method Of Curing Most Diseases
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    1761, 9th edition

    John Wesley published the first edition of his 'Primitive Physick' in 1747. Wesley had a life-long interest in health, in that only physical and spiritual health in combination could make for healthy people. This was unusual at that time.

    The book was both an overall preventive approach to health and a compendium of remedies for specific ailments - in total more than 800 prescriptions for more than 300 different disorders. It was very popular throughout the 18th century and by the time Wesley died in 1791, the book had gone through twenty-three editions.
  • Statuette of John Wesley
    read more →
    Bronze
    Modelled by John Adams-Acton (1830-1910), c.1890-91

    This statuette of John Wesley was a maquette or model sculpted by John Adams-Acton (1830-1910). The maquette served as the model for the statue of John Wesley in the courtyard of Wesley's Chapel, which was sculpted in 1891.

    Adams-Acton exhibited at the Royal Academy and sculpted the Wesley memorial in Westminster Abbey, the Cruikshank memorial in St Paul's Cathedral and a memorial of Cardinal Manning in Westminster Cathedral. He was well-known as a modeller and sculptor of public figures in Victorian Britain.
  • Print
    read more →
    Photographic print on paper
    c.2000

    A large print of the bust of John Wesley at the Charterhouse in London, installed around 1980.

    John Wesley went to board at the Charterhouse School between 1714 and 1720 as a 'Foundation Scholar'. The term is still in existence today and used by the school to describe students who "set a positive example to the academic life of the School through their enthusiasm, intellectual curiosity and drive".
  • Note from John Wesley to Miss Nancy Ford
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    Not dated

    This undated note to a lady friend - likely to date around 1780 - makes clear that John Wesley owned a carriage. He regrets not to be able to take Miss Nancy Ford to Bow, as 'My Chaise is gone to be painted. It will take a week or two to dry.'
  • A Discourse
    read more →
    Paper
    Printed by G. Paramore, 1791

    The full title of the publication reads: "A Discourse Delivered at the New Chapel in the City Road on the ninth of March 1791. At the Funeral of the late Rev. Mr. John Wesley."

    John Wesley died in his City Road house next to his 'New' Chapel on March 2nd, 1791. He was buried a week later on March 9th at 5a.m in the burial ground behind Wesley's Chapel – one of 5452 people buried there between 1779 and 1854 when the burial ground was closed for interments.

    Dr John Whitehead (1740-1804), Methodist lay preacher, physician to the Bethlehem Hospital and also to John Wesley in his final illness, delivered Wesley's funeral sermon at the Chapel. This was published and went through four editions in 1791. It realised £200, which Whitehead handed over to the Society.
  • Refurbishment of Wesley's Chapel
    read more →
    Photograph
    1970s

    By the 1970s, the Chapel was in a very bad state of repair. The foundations were giving way, there was wood rot in many places and the Chapel needed extensive roof repairs. The situation was critical and there were some who wanted to demolish the historic structure and replace it with a new building. Luckily, with help from Methodists around the world, the Chapel was saved. The photograph shows the roof works under way, some months before the re-opening of the Chapel in November 1978.
  • Portrait of a young woman in a lace bonnet
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, Early 19th century

    Artist and sitter are unidentified. It is possible the young lady was a preacher or a Sunday School leader. The portrait is sensitively and well painted, the dark background emphasising the whiteness of the bonnet and colour of the young woman's skin.

    1997/6658
  • John Wesley
    read more →
    Engraved on paper
    Engraved by William Thomas Fry, Early 1800s

    William Thomas Fry (1789–1843) was an English engraver. This engraving of John Wesley, and the writing beneath in Wesley's hand and with his signature, "Yours most affectionately JWesley", shows the engraver's high level of skill.

    1994/2283
  • Samuel Wesley
    read more →
    Engraving on paper, handcoloured
    18th century

    Samuel Wesley (1662-1735) was the father of John and Charles Wesley and another seventeen children, nine of whom died in infancy. He was a clergyman of the Church of England and also wrote prose and poetry.

    Samuel Wesley spent most of his life as the Rector of Epworth in Lincolnshire. There, he faced many trials with his parishioners and much of his literary talent remained unrecognised.
  • Portrait of a young man (detail)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    C.1860

    Likely, the unidentified young man in this portrait was a preacher. Sadly, we know nothing of him or his background.

    1993/1616
  • Wandering Thoughts: A Sermon on 2 Cor. x. 4
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed by Paramore, Worship Street, London, 1798

    Sometime in the early 1760s, Wesley preached a sermon on 'Wandering Thoughts'. In it, he dismissed the idea that Christians might be delivered from wandering thoughts as "impossible" and "absurd". Such thoughts came about due to an exposure to assaults by evil spirits, provocations by hostile people and the natural operation of the senses on the mind.

    The idea of 'wandering thoughts' occupied Wesley. He wrote about it in the Arminian Magazine years later and published letters he had received from readers in relation to his sermon. It appears he was never quite able to make up his mind whether or not there could be freedom from a distracted mind and total communion with God.

    This edition of his sermon dates to 1798.

    1994/2445
  • Collection box
    read more →
    Bakelite
    c.1940-60

    A Methodist Missionary Society collections box in the shape of a Chapel. It is typical of the money boxes used to gather small contributions for mission work abroad and overseas in the mid 20th century.

    For further information about the Methodist Missionary Society, see also the other collection boxes in the Online Collection.
  • The Catechisms of the Wesleyan Methodists
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Published by John Mason, 14 City Road, London, mid 1800s

    This instructive booklet teaching the beliefs of Wesleyan Methodism was intended 'for children of tender years'. It was primarily meant for use in Wesleyan Sunday schools. This example was in use at Broughton Wesleyan Sabbath ('Sunday') School.

    2018/15589
  • Medal
    read more →
    Metal, glass, silk
    late 1800s

    This elaborate silver lodge medal was awarded by the Temperance Movement United Order of Total Abstinence, Sons of the Phoenix. This originated in Clapham, London.

    Temperance, i.e. the limitation of or total abstinence from alcohol, was a popular movement in the 1800s amongst Methodist but also most other religious denominations. Alcohol was regarded to be the root cause of many evils and social problems.

    Many chose to give up alcohol altogether, especially among the middle classes. Some joined organisations such as the Sons of the Phoenix, which was professionally organised, although not specifically Methodist.
  • Portrait of Robert Newton
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by William Gush (1813–1888), Mid 19th century

    Newton was born at Roxby, near Whitby, in 1780. He was the son of a farmer, and was converted to Methodism in 1798. After becoming a minister, he served primarily in northern circuits and raised large sums for overseas missionary work. He was handsome, and a persuasive preacher with a powerful voice, described by Benjamin Gregory in 1841 as 'the grandest figure and the best-loved preacher in the whole Connexion'. Over the years Newton opened numerous chapels and became repeatedly secretary of the Methodist Conference. Like few others he also served as President of the Conference four times (in 1824, 1832, 1840 and 1848).

    The following description by a contemporary provides an interesting perspective:

    'He was not a statesman like Dr. Bunting, nor a man of high culture like W.M. Bunting, nor a theologian like Hannah, Farrar and Jackson, nor a teacher of wisdom and a cyclopaedia of knowledge like Osborn. Newton had the advantage of them all in this way, that he was nobly handsome and an orator by nature. Tall, with good features, grizzled hair, fine eyes, and very dark arched eyebrows, he was impressive even before he spoke, and when he rolled out his rich organ notes, he was irresistible. I have listened to orators at the bar and in the pulpit for half a century, and have never met with such a magnificent voice as that of Robert Newton. He was not great in conversation, nor did his sermons and speeches, when examined, show original power. He had simply the great gift of being able to present commonplaces in the most attractive and forcible way.'

    R. Denny Urlin, Father Reece, the Old Methodist Minister (1901), pp.61-2

    See also the other portrait of Robert Newton in the Collection, painted by John Jackson, R.A., 1997/6631.
    1993/1610
  • Creamware plate
    read more →
    Ceramic
    Made by Wedgwood, c. 2000

    This commemorative Wedgwood plate features an image of Mary Bosanquet Fletcher (1739-1815). Mary was one of the first female Methodist preachers, and it was she who persuaded John Wesley to allow women to preach in public. Mary Bosanquet became one of the most popular female preachers of her day and was greatly revered by Methodists for her work. She was married to John Fletcher (1729-1785), the potential one-time Wesley successor who died six years before John Wesley.

    'Creamware' is a cream-coloured, fine earthenware with a lead glaze over a pale body. It was invented about 1750 by Staffordshire potters and was very fashionable c.1760-1790.
  • Portrait of a gentleman
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, possibly 18th century

    It is likely that this fragment of a painting depicts Charles Wesley. Compare also to John Russell's painting of Charles Wesley in the online Collection.

    Sometime in the past, the work was overlaid with tissue paper, which has fused with the paint.
  • Rev. John Wesley A. M.
    read more →
    Engraved on paper
    I. Miller delt., R. Hancock sculp. Published by H. Humphrey, Old Bond Street, London, 1790

    Published 1st Dec. 1790, three months before John Wesley passed away, this image was one of the last issued of Wesley during his lifetime.

    1994/2189
  • Reverend John Wesley (1703–1791), MA
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, late 18th century

    Another contemporary or near-contemporary depiction of John Wesley. Nothing is known of the artist. The colouring is deliberately suggestive of Old Master paintings and is similar to many other portraits of John Wesley.

    Interestingly, whilst the chin, mouth and nose compare to other portraits of Wesley and are probably good likenesses, the eyes are quite different.

    1997/6653
  • Rev. John Wesley (1703-1791)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Possibly by Thomas Horsley (b. 1754), late 18th century?

    A number of portraits of Wesley attributed to Thomas Horsley of Sunderland exist; Horsley is said to have been a pupil of George Romney. It is likely that some of them are copies, as the quality of most of the attributed pictures is not high.

    Wesley may have been painted by Horsley on his visit to Sunderland in 1784; Wesley's journal entry for Saturday afternoon, 5 June includes: ‘3 on business, picture!'. But no further evidence has as yet come to light.

    1993/1617
  • Elegy on the late Reverend John Wesley
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    1790s

    We are told this elegy, or lament for the dead, was written by an old woman and recalls John Wesley's life and faith. It is as much a call to believe and trust in God as it is a lament for the departed Wesley.

    2014/14204
  • Letter from Charles Wesley to John Wesley
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    Page one of two, 28th July 1778

    A significant letter written by Charles to his brother John Wesley in July 1778.

    On page 2, Charles asks his brother: "What think you of our National Estate? My Bro. & I agree to differ (underlined). He is, as usual, all hope, & I am all fear. But a very short time will show who is the true prophet".

    It is not quite clear what Charles means. The letter was written only two weeks after France declared war on Britain in July 1778 (they were opponents in the American War of Independence, 1775-83). Charles may thus be referring to the possible repercussions of these conflicts.

    Charles Wesley's tone, and the strong emphasis on their opposing views, hints at disagreements or even a rift between the brothers.

    For the full letter, please refer to 'Exhibits' and click on 'Selected Documents' (letter listed as July 26, 1776).
  • A Sermon on Salvation by Faith
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    14th edition, printed by Paramore, London, 1791

    Wesley preached this sermon shortly after his 'conversion experience', at St. Mary’s Church, Oxford, and before the University, on June 18, 1738. Its central message is summarised by the following extract: ‘It is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no-one can boast.’ (Ephesians 2:8-9).

    The sermon was to form the first of forty-four sermons published by John Wesley in four volumes between 1746-60, but it also continued to be issued in pamphlet format individually. This version, the 14th edition, dates to 1791.

    1994/2444
  • Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip
    read more →
    Photograph
    1978

    By the early 1970s, Wesley's Chapel had become structurally unsafe and a major building programme was required to ensure the building's survival. This took over four years to complete. The Chapel was re-opened on its 200th anniversary, on 1st November 1978, by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
  • Manse at Wesley's Chapel during Restoration Works
    read more →
    Photograph
    1970s

    A photograph of the manse at Wesley's Chapel in course of restoration. The work was carried out as part of a major Chapel refurbishment scheme which lasted for most of the 1970s. The photograph shows the fitting of new roof timbers.

    1995/4122/1
  • Bust of John Wesley
    read more →
    Ceramic, glazed
    c.1840-50

    A typical John Wesley bust of the mid 1800s. Mass production made all ceramics more affordable and popular but led to a decline in quality. Many Wesley busts ended up looking like caricatures.
  • Explanatory Notes Upon The Old Testament
    read more →
    Paper, leather
    1765

    John Wesley's commentary on the Old and New Testaments was produced between 1754 and 1765, in a number of volumes. Wesley was keen to give his readers essential information about the Bible and the doctrines of Christian life in plain and simple language. His verse by verse notes are concise and focus mainly on providing a historical context for the Gospel, alongside interpretation and critical commentary.

    This volume is the second of the 'Explanatory Notes Upon The Old Testament'.
  • John Wesley's House
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1900

    A black and white photograph from one of the earliest sets of images of the Chapel and its buildings published in about 1900.

    The front garden still has the original square walkways. The window treatments, with half-height curtains and Venetian wood blinds, are still very much like John Wesley would have known them.

    1992/549/3
  • Commemorative Badge
    read more →
    Metal, enamel
    2016

    A lapel badge titled 'Methodists in Mission' and celebrating 200 years of the Methodist Church in Africa, 1816-2016.


    2018/15599
  • Ruler
    read more →
    Wood, paper, ink
    c.1760-80

    This foot-long ruler belonged to John Fletcher (1729-85); Fletcher was one of Methodism's great early theologians. The ruler has a reliable provenance, with an original label still attached. According to this, the ruler sat on Fletcher's desk in Madeley. Interestingly, the ruler has no scale subdivisions.

    1994/2531
  • Wesley's Chapel apse
    read more →
    Photograph
    1860s-70s

    This is the earliest known photograph of the apse at Wesley's Chapel, City Road, before insertion of stained glass in the 1890s. Note the wooden Venetian blinds in the windows, and the early pew arrangement.
  • Electricity machine
    read more →
    Metal, glass, wood,
    mid to late 18th century

    Like many educated men and women of the 18th century Enlightenment, John Wesley was an enthusiastic believer in the healing properties of electricity. Portable machines such as this one were invented to harness and channel electricity in the treatment of ailments.

    In 1747 Wesley wrote a tract, the 'Primitive Physic', a compendium of treatments for many common problems and diseases. In this, he mentions use of 'electrifying' as treatment for a wide range of conditions. Unusually for 18th century London, Wesley offered free electrification for his followers.
  • Dining Room
    read more →
    Postcard printed on paper
    c.1950

    This mid-20th century postcard shows the ground floor dining room in John Wesley's House. We know from John Wesley's correspondence to his niece that he kept his 'chamber horse' or exercise chair in this room, which he used regularly to stay fit when not travelling.

    See also the chamber horse on the Online Collection.
  • Chapel font
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.2000

    The photograph shows the font inside Wesley's Chapel, City Road.

    The central bowl made of stone is medieval and was originally installed in the parish church in Madeley, where John Fletcher (1729-85) was curate. The top and bottom part, made from alabaster, are 19th century. Inside the font is a hollowed-out, square piece of sandstone, which has an incised pattern. The stone has links with Nathaniel Gilbert of Antigua, an early Methodist who converted and preached to his slaves. The stone's incised patterns are deeply meaningful, symbolising the breaking of the fetters of slavery.

    2019/16003
  • A Collection Of Hymns, For The Use Of The People Called Methodists
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    1846

    The 'Collection of Hymns' was first published by John Wesley in 1780 and contained over 1000 hymns, written mostly by his brother Charles. The hymnal drew on the many other hymn books John and Charles Wesley had published over the previous decades and became the most influential hymn book in the history and development of Methodism.

    The 'Collection' went through many editions, and it was the ancestor and basis of all subsequent official Connexional hymn books, including today's 'Singing the Faith'.

    Compare also to the first edition of the hymn book in the Online Collection.
  • John Wesley pulpit and clock statue
    read more →
    Ceramic
    Staffordshire, mid 19th century

    Ornaments depicting John Wesley were very popular in the Victorian age as mantelpiece decorations. Many depicted a clock probably to emphasise the passing of time and as a reminder to lead a worthy life.
  • Sunday school medals
    read more →
    Metal, silk
    early 1900s

    Medals were awarded for regular attendance at Methodist Sunday school and to commemorate special events. Attending Sunday school for a period of ten years was often rewarded with silver or gold medals. All the medals in this image were awarded to the Russell family for attending Sunday school in the early 1900s. Dorothy, Sydney and Frank Russell all obtained gold medals.

    2007/10816-22
  • Letter
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    Written by John Wesley, June 1738

    This first page of a letter John Wesley wrote to his mother Susanna from Amsterdam on June 19th, 1738.

    The letter was written only shortly after Wesley's conversion experience in May 1738 and on his way to Herrnhut in Germany,
    where he went to study with some Moravian brethren. Wesley had become greatly impressed with the Moravians' deep piety while travelling with them on his voyage across the Atlantic a few years earlier.

    In the letter, Wesley records his impression of Holland. He counters the 18th century English prejudice, that Dutch people were 'slovenly, unpolished people'. Instead, his first-hand experience showed him that the Dutch were 'neat' and everything was remarkably clean - possibly more so than he was used to from home!

    The letter is dated 'OS', or 'old style'. England adopted the Gregorian calendar formally in 1752, much later than Catholic countries, by which time it was necessary to push the Julian or 'old style' calendar forward by 11 days. In practice, different parts of the UK began using the new style informally at different times. This may explain Wesley's insertion of 'OS' in 1738.
  • Rev. Charles Atmore
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, early 19th century

    Charles Atmore (1759 - 1826) was born in Heacham in Norfolk. He was an itinerant preacher and was ordained in 1781, opening the first Methodist preaching house in Glasgow. Atmore became a close friend of John Wesley and was included in the 'Legal Hundred'. This was a group of one hundred of Wesley's most able leaders, chosen by Wesley and appointed by him as the policy making body of the Methodist Church following his death.
    (1997/6632)
  • Commemorative key
    read more →
    Metal (key); wood, leather, fabric (box)
    1898

    Presented to Mrs G. Allen at the opening of the Wesleyan Chapel York Road, Southend-on-Sea, on 28th September, 1898.

    See also the other commemorative stones and trowels in the Online Collection.


    1993/605/1
  • Baby rattle
    read more →
    silver, coral
    mid 18th century

    This sterling silver baby rattle, with silver bells and a teething bit made from coral, is believed to have belonged to the children of Charles Wesley. It would have been an expensive item to purchase and is likely to have been a gift, possibly from a patron or family.
  • John Wesley's bureau bookcase
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1898

    This late Victorian image of John Wesley's bureau and a small table also in his possession was taken in Wesley's bedroom. Likely, this is one of the first photographs of the newly-opened museum rooms, taken around 1898.
  • Collection box
    read more →
    Wood, paper
    c. 1910-1925

    This early wooden collecting box was used in the work of the Wesleyan Missionary Society Department Women's Work.

    The organised work of women in the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society (WMMS) began in 1858, as an auxiliary to the main Society. The Ladies' Committee aimed at promoting systematically women's work. Women were selected and prepared for employment, for instance as teachers, in the missionary field abroad and overseas. The Committee provided its own funds and worked independently from - if alongside - the WMMS.

    Both WMMS and WMMS Women's Work became part of the Methodist Missionary Society in 1932, although Women's Work continued to operate separately until the 1970s.

    For further information about the Methodist Missionary Society, see also the other collection boxes in the Online Collection.
  • Wesley's Chapel and Forecourt
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1930

    A black and white photograph of Wesley's Chapel, showing the layout of the forecourt before re-landscaping. In Wesley's day and in keeping with the fashions of the time, the approach to the Chapel was strictly symmetrical. In the 1970s a softer scheme was introduced, with elements of asymmetry, including curved pathways.

    2010/12460
  • Commemorative Medal
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    Published by John Mason, Wesleyan Conference Office, City Road, London, 1842

    In 1780, John Wesley wrote and published his 'Directions to Penitents and Believers For Renewing Their Covenant With God'. The pamphlet outlined the purpose and contents of the Covenant Service, a distinctive Methodist service which renews the believers commitment to Christ and the Church.

    Wesley held the first Methodist Covenant Service on 11th August, 1755 and the service has become one of the pillars of the Methodist Faith. This edition of the pamphlet dates to 1842.

    2006/10727
  • John Wesley (1703-1791)
    read more →
    Oil on board
    Painted by Richard Gilmore Douglas (b.c.1937), 1990

    A portrait of Wesley painted at the end of the 20th century in an older tradition.

    Richard Gilmore Douglas is a painter of John Wesley, the Wesley family, and Francis Asbury. He trained in Theology at Rhodes University and gained a B.Ed. degree from Durham University.

    1994/1733
  • Centenary Medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1839

    The first hundred years of Methodism were celebrated with the creation of a great hall for meetings and prayer in Bishopsgate. It became known as the 'Centenary Hall' and is depicted on the reverse of this medal. Like many early Methodist medals, the obverse depicts John Wesley, founder of (Wesleyan) Methodism.

    2005/10347
  • The Principles of a Methodist Considered in a Letter
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    Printed by James Buckland, London, 1753

    'The Principles of a Methodist Considered in a Letter to Reverend Mr ****' is one of John Wesley's early attempts to explain and justify Methodist theology.

    The pamphlet was written with George Whitefield in mind, whose Calvinist leanings and belief in pre-determination and salvation of the few did not accord with Wesley's belief in salvation by faith for all. These fundamental differences caused a rift between Whitefield and Wesley and impacted on the development of Methodist doctrine. The row escalated over the following years which, in 1778, resulted in Wesley publishing the 'Arminian Magazine' in defence of his views.

    1994/2422
  • John Wesley jug
    read more →
    Ceramic
    c.1839

    This commemorative Wesley jug celebrates the one-hundredth anniversary of the first Wesleyan Methodist society founded in 1739. The jug was decorated in 'lustreware', a type of pottery or porcelain with a metallic glaze.

    Lustreware is produced by metallic oxides in an overglaze finish; the technique is an ancient one, much used in middle eastern pottery.

    Compare also to the commemorative lusterware mug in the online Collection, which features the same decoration.
  • Pew rent receipt
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    1804 (1809?)

    Pew rents were commonly charged to families or individuals in churches of most faiths until the mid 20th century. It was one of the principal ways of raising church income. The pew rent system often resulted in a kind of social status and hierarchy in church. The pews closest to the altar were usually occupied by the wealthiest of a parish.

    This early receipt features an engraving of the Chapel soon after it was built, with its original round arch portico.
  • Moses, the Friend of God
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), c.1930

    One of a series of dramatic oil on canvas studies of the biblical prophets by Frank O. Salisbury. Salisbury's work was illustrated in 'The Prophets of Israel', in 1933.

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    The painting is on long term loan to Wesley's Chapel from the Bible Society.

    See also the other paintings by Frank O. Salisbury in the Online Collection.
  • Susanna Wesley Memorial and John Wesley's House
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1965

    Black and white photograph of Susanna Wesley's memorial and John Wesley's House. Attached to the house on the right hand side of the image is an office building, constructed in the late 1950s.

    2009/12011
  • Field bed
    read more →
    Wood, fabric, metal
    c.1990

    This four poster or 'field' bed is on display in John Wesley's bedroom. Beds such as these could be dismantled easily and used to be taken on military campaigns and into the 'field'.

    The bed is not original. As Wesley's bed has not survived, this one was made for John Wesley's House when the house was last re-displayed in the 1990s. It is a copy of a bed published in one of the many furniture pattern books of the late 1700s.
  • The Christian Occupation of China
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in cloth
    'A General Survey of the Numerical Strength and Geographical Distribution of the Christian Forces in China, Made by the Special Committee on Survey and Occupation, China Continuation Committee, 1918-1921', published 1922

    This controversial book was published simultaneously in English and Chinese by the Christian Missions Special Committee on Survey and Occupation, commissioned by the China Continuation Committee.

    It was intended as a report charting progress of the status of Christian churches in China, including local conditions and social and economic background of the people. The book was to prepare the way for foreign missionaries to turn over control to Chinese Christians.

    However, the imperialist title of the English version caused outrage and the book became one of the provocations of anti-Christian movements in the early 1920s.

    2010/12697
  • Commemorative Badge
    read more →
    Metal; printed
    mid 1900s

    A Junior Methodist Association (JMA) badge from the mid 1900s. The association has been renamed 'Junior Mission for All' and its purpose is to inspire children to learn about and support the mission of the Church in a fun, creative and engaging way.

    2018/15576
  • Membership or class ticket
    read more →
    Printed on card
    early 19th century

    Methodism has a strong organisational structure. This includes the issue of membership or 'class' tickets to members of the society or church. This ticket dates to June 1822 and was issued to Mary Tooth, a relation of Samuel Tooth, Methodist local preacher and builder of Wesley's Chapel.

    A strand of Mary Tooth's hair is attached to the ticket with sealing wax. This would have been added later, when the membership ticket became a memento.
  • Commemorative ring
    read more →
    Yellow metal, glass and hair
    late 18th century

    This commemorative ring contains woven braids of hair, reputedly the hair of John Wesley and John Fletcher. Jewellery pieces featuring hair, either of living or deceased persons, were not unusual in the 18th and 19th centuries. Often, they were used in 'mourning' jewellery, worn after a person passed away.

    The ring is in its original cardboard box.
  • Letter from John Wesley to Duncan Wright, 1771
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    20th December 1771

    A letter full of advice written by John Wesley to Duncan Wright (1736-1791). Wright was an itinerant preacher who was noted for travelling with Wesley all over the United Kingdom in the 1760s and later for preaching in Gaelic in the Sottish Highlands.

    In this 1771 letter, Wesley advises to rotate the preachers regularly in Scotland, especially in Edinburgh. Knowing the locals from experience, he notes that only 'plain, blunt speakers, or none at all, will do good there'. On a very personal note, he tells Wright to act as a 'whole' (or through and through) Methodist wherever he goes, and believe in himself.

    Wright died the same year as John Wesley (1791). He was buried alongside Wesley in his tomb behind the Chapel in City Road London, today's Wesley's Chapel.
  • Habakkuk, the Sentinel of God
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), c.1930

    One of a series of dramatic oil on canvas studies of the biblical prophets by Frank O. Salisbury. Salisbury's work was illustrated in 'The Prophets of Israel', in 1933.

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    The painting is on long term loan to Wesley's Chapel from the Bible Society.

    See also the other paintings by Frank O. Salisbury in the Online Collection.
  • A Form of Discipline
    read more →
    Ink on paper, bound in leather
    5th edition, 1789

    The full title of the book is a lengthy one: "A form of discipline, for the ministers, preachers, and members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America, considered and approved at a conference held at Baltimore, in the state of Maryland, on Monday the 27th of December, 1784: in which Thomas Coke, and Francis Asbury, presided. : Arranged under proper heads, and methodised in a more acceptable and easy manner. With some other useful pieces annexed."

    The book is the outcome of the American Christmas Conference of 1784 in Baltimore. There, the appointment of Thomas Coke as Superintendent was confirmed and the American Methodist Church was constituted as an independent body. During the Conference, Coke ordained Francis Asbury as his co-superintendent, supported unanimously by some sixty American Methodist itinerant preachers. In 1787, despite Wesley’s strong disapproval, the title ‘Superintendent’ was replaced by ‘Bishop’ and the American Methodist Church became the Methodist Episcopal Church.
  • The Rev. John Wesley, A. M.
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Engraved by George Zobel, 1864(?)

    This somewhat fanciful engraving from the 1800s shows John Wesley surrounded by books and sitting in an apparently elaborately-carved chair.

    Interestingly, Wesley's M.A. title ('Master of Arts', or 'Magister Artium', in Latin) is reversed as 'A.M.' This is grammatically correct ('Artium Magister', in Latin) but is hardly ever seen in portraits of John Wesley.
  • Reverend John Wesley M.A.
    read more →
    Engraving
    After miniature painting by J. Barry, engraving published by J. Barry and R.Wilkinson, London, 1791, 1791

    This well-known image was engraved in 1791 after a miniature painting by J. Barry. A number of versions of this engraving dating to the 1790s exist and they were used as the basis for portraits illustrated in later Wesleyan hymn books. See also John Mason's 1846 edition of the 'Collection Of Hymns, For The Use Of The People Called Methodists', in the Online Collection.
  • Cardboard box
    read more →
    Cardboard; paper; ink
    c.1840-60

    Very small pink carboard box with a piece of paper signed by John Wesley attached to the top. Wesley's signature was probably cot out from a letter and the paper then attached to the box. It is a typical mid 1800s 'Wesleyana' item, celebrating John Wesley.

    1994/2789/1&2
  • Sunday School Medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1880

    This medal commemorates the 100th anniversary of the founding of Sunday Schools by Robert Raikes in 1780.

    Raikes (1736 - 1811) was a pioneer of the Sunday school movement, which started with a school for boys in the slums. Raikes saw schooling as the best early intervention in a possible life of crime, a preventive measure which was better than a cure. Sunday schooling was chosen as this was usually the only day boys were not working (usually in factories), and teaching materials were based on the Bible. Although not a Methodist, Raikes' efforts and achievements were discussed in Wesley's Methodist or 'Arminian' Magazine. Methodism organised its own Sunday schools, open to boys and girls, from the early 19th century.

    The medals would have been distributed among children attending Sunday Schools in 1880; this one had a hole added at the top, probably for a ribbon. Compare also to the other Sunday School commemorative medals in the Online Collection.

    2006/10657
  • City Road Wesleyan Chapel
    read more →
    Lithograph on paper
    A. La Riviere, London, c. 1870

    A Victorian view of Wesley's Chapel, in which the artist has employed considerable license. The Chapel reminds somewhat of a Venetian Palace, in particular the detailing of the windows. Classical or 'Italianate' architectural style was the most admired at that time.
  • A Collection Of Hymns, For The Use Of The People Called Methodists
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    1797

    The 'Collection of Hymns' was first published by John Wesley in 1780 and contained over 1000 hymns, written mostly by his brother Charles. The hymnal drew on the many other hymn books John and Charles Wesley had published over the previous decades and became the most influential hymn book in the history and development of Methodism.

    The 'Collection' went through many editions, and it was the ancestor and basis of all subsequent official Connexional hymn books, including today's 'Singing the Faith'. This 1797 edition was "Printed for and sold by G. Whitfield, at the New Chapel, City Road,"

    Compare also to the first edition of the hymn book and the other editions in the Online Collection.
  • The Visit of the Rev. John Wesley A.M. to his Mother's Grave A.D.1779
    read more →
    Aquatint on paper
    By G.Hunt (active 1824-1831) after W. Lee, c.1825-30

    The subject of this aquatint is somewhat fanciful. John Wesley is depicted standing by his mother's grave in Bunhill Fields. The date given is 1779, the year Wesley moved opposite Bunhill Fields into his new house and the newly-opened New Chapel (today's Wesley's Chapel).

    Susanna Wesley's original tombstone is accurately depicted, with the epitaph written by Charles Wesley. The stone was later replaced with a different, more factual, epitaph.

    John Wesley's academic title is given as 'A.M.' in Latin for 'atrium magister'; today, the title would be 'M.A.' (Master of Arts).
  • Susanna Wesley - Mother of the Revd John Wesley
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Published by John Willey, Fleet Street, London, 1863

    Susanna Wesley (née Annesley; 1669 – 1742) was the daughter of Dr Samuel Annesley, a prominent Puritan and nonconformist pastor. Susanna married Samuel Wesley in 1688 and ultimately became the mother of nineteen children, of whom ten survived infancy, including John and Charles Wesley.

    As mother to John and Charles, particularly for the teachings and principles she instilled in her sons and all her children, she is often referred to as the 'Mother of Methodism'.
  • An Answer To Several Objections Against this Work In a Letter to a Friend
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    1778

    Wesley's monthly Methodist magazine was published as the 'Arminian Magazine' between 1778 and 1797. It was named after the Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius (or Jakob Harmenszoon, 1560-1609) who, like Wesley, believed in universal redemption, opposing the Calvinist doctrine of salvation only for the few.

    This 'Answer' was published in pamphlet format alongside early publications of the Arminian Magazine. Worded like a letter to a friend (a common device at the time to deal with literary criticism, or discuss difficult subjects), Wesley used the 'Answer' to defend the publication against criticism. This included its overall format and also the magazine's lack of images.
  • Sunday School Commemorative Medal
    read more →
    metal
    c.1880

    This medal commemorates the 100th anniversary of the founding of Sunday Schools by Robert Raikes in 1780.

    Raikes (1736 - 1811) was a pioneer of the Sunday school movement, which started with a school for boys in the slums. Raikes saw schooling as the best early intervention in a possible life of crime, a preventive measure which was better than a cure. Sunday schooling was chosen as this was usually the only day boys were not working (usually in factories), and teaching materials were based on the Bible. Although not a Methodist, Raikes' efforts and achievements were discussed in Wesley's Methodist or 'Arminian' Magazine. Methodism organised its own Sunday schools, open to boys and girls, from the early 19th century.

    The medals would have been distributed among children attending Sunday Schools. This medal is a slightly different version from the other Sunday school anniversary medals commemorating Raikes in the Online Collection.
  • Frontispice , 'The Complete English Dictionary, Explaining most of those Hard Words used by the Best English Writers.'
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    Printed by W. Strahan, 1753

    Not everyone is aware that John Wesley published an English Dictionary, two years before Dr Samuel Johnson published the first edition of his dictionary in 1755. Wesley's dictionary was successful and was re-issued in a revised version in 1764.
  • John Wesley preaching
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, c 1800

    A naïve rendering of John Wesley preaching. Naïve style paintings of Wesley are not uncommon. They were made as commemorative pieces by amateur artists following Wesley's passing and later. Often, they were hung in smaller Chapels and working class homes.

    The painting requires conservation.

    1993/1583
  • Wesley's Chapel opening service
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    19th century

    A Victorian engraving of the inaugural service at Wesley's Chapel on 1st November, 1778. The architectural detail is rendered well, although it is likely the Chapel was more crowded than is apparent in the image. We know John Wesley remarked on the elaborate headdresses of the women - the artist in this instance chose to render these as more subdued, Victorian-style bonnets.
  • Graveyard and John Wesley's Tomb
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1919-39

    A black and white photograph of the Chapel's graveyard and John Wesley's tomb in the interwar years, c. 1919-39.

    Compare to other photographs of Wesley's tomb and this area of the site in the Online Collection.

    1995/4113
  • Portrait of Mrs Bradburn
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, Late 18th/early 19th century

    Mrs Bradburn was the wife of the Rev. Samuel Bradburn (1751–1816), who was a Methodist preacher, an associate of John Wesley, and a follower of John Fletcher of Madeley. Little is known of Mrs Bradburn; she may have been the first or second wife of Samuel, his first wife passing away in 1786 of consumption (tuberculosis).

    1993/1636
  • Wesley's Chapel exterior 1778
    read more →
    Lithograph
    Worked by J. Knight and published in George J. Stephenson's 'City Road Chapel, London and its associations: historical, biographical and memorial', 1872

    A 19th century view of how the New or City Road Chapel (today's Wesley's Chapel) would have appeared shortly after completion in 1778. Although some of the brick detailing is different today and the entrance portico was replaced around 1820, the Chapel is essentially still recognisable.
  • The Way to the Kingdom
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed by John Paramore at the Foundry, Moorfields, London, 1783

    This is one of John Wesley's well-known sermons. "The Way to the Kingdom” is the seventh sermon of Wesley's 'standard' sermons, which has been published for many years as a collection of forty-four sermons. The sermon is divided into two parts. The first part defines the kingdom of God, the second part defines the way there.

    1994/2539
  • The Methodist Hymn Book
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in cardboard
    1904

    The Methodist Hymn Book was a joint publication between the Wesleyan Conference and the Methodist New Connexion. It indicates that attempts to move closer and possibly towards a union of the various Methodist Churches started much earlier than 1932, the year in which Methodist Union was finally achieved.

    Only three years after this hymnal was published, the Methodist New Connexion and the Bible Christians as well as the United Free Methodist Churches merged to form the United Methodist Church.
  • Seal
    read more →
    Horn, mother-of-pearl
    1800s

    Small pressed horn seal in the shape of a bust of John Wesley. The preaching bands are accentuated with mother-of-pearl.

    In the 1800s, letters were usually sealed with sealing wax and commemorative seals of well-known public figures were popular.

    1998/6967
  • Commemorative Cover
    read more →
    Paper, printed; ink, metal
    2000

    This commemorative Christmas cover was issued by Benham in 2000. It makes reference to Charles Wesley and his hymn 'Hark, the herald angels sing' and is signed by the Lord Griffiths of Burry Port, then minister of Wesley's Chapel, City Road. The cover furthermore includes a commemorative 50p piece, which is unusual.

    2008/11153/3
  • John Wesley
    read more →
    Lithograph on paper
    1800s

    This engraving of John Wesley is marked 'Copyright Sir Joshua Reynolds'. This is a bit of a mystery. The lithograph is not by Joshua Reynolds, as Reynolds was a painter and contemporary of John Wesley, and the lithograph dates to the 1800s. Also, the quality of the image is not high, and the sitter is not portrayed in the 'style' of Joshua Reynolds. This makes it unlikely that this lithograph was worked after a genuine portrait of John Wesley by Joshua Reynolds.

    It is possible, however, that the lithograph was made after a painting which, at the time, was thought of as a work by Joshua Reynolds. There are other engravings of John Wesley which claim to be after a painting by Reynolds. Sadly, no actual portrait of John Wesley painted by Joshua Reynolds is known.
  • Coffin shaving
    read more →
    Wood
    Probably 18th century

    Wesley was revered greatly by his followers. It is perhaps not surprising, therefore, that Wesley commemorative ware - or Wesleyana - was very popular, even before Wesley passed away. According to the Victorian envelope in which it was kept, this small wooden fragment was taken from Wesley's coffin.
  • Rev. William Clowes
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, early 19th century

    William Clowes (1780 - 1851) was converted to Methodism in 1805. In 1807, he attended the first Primitive Methodist meeting, together with Hugh and James Bourne and others. This was an all day prayer meeting at Mow Cop.
    1993/1491
  • Horse riding spurs
    read more →
    Metal
    1700s

    These horse riding spurs are reputed to have belonged to John Wesley. Every year, John Wesley travelled hundreds of miles and made many long distance journeys, a lot of which on horseback.

    Spurs are attached to the heels of riding boots for the purpose of making a horse move forward. They are usually used to back up the rider’s natural aid, such as seat, leg, hands and voice, to encourage the horse to move.
  • Rev. Frederick James Jobson D.D.
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, 19th century

    The Rev. Frederick James Jobson D.D. (1812 - 1882) became a Wesleyan minister in 1834. His Promotion of the Gothic architectural style was a major influence on Methodist and Nonconformist buildings, especially after his publication 'Chapel and School Architecture' (1850).
    1993/1479
  • Methodist Mission House booklet
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    mid 1900s

    With the growth of Methodist missionary work came the need for a headquarters building. In 1840, money from the Centenary Fund was used to buy the City of London Tavern in Bishopsgate, which became the Methodist Centenary Hall and Mission House. This booklet traces its history. Its modern equivalent is Methodist Church House in Marylebone Road.

    2009/12198
  • Manse at Wesley's Chapel
    read more →
    Photograph
    1970s

    A black and white view of the manse at Wesley's Chapel undergoing refurbishment in the 1970s.

    The manse was built in the late 1800s to provide more spacious accommodation than John Wesley's House. It was built in brick like the Chapel and in Italianate style fashionable at the time.
  • Chapel interior
    read more →
    Postcard printed on paper
    c.1900

    This black white interior view of Wesley's Chapel, City Road, shows an older arrangement of pews close to the pulpit. On the left first floor balcony, to the north of the Chapel, a small organ can be seen. This was one of two, the other (a dummy version, not visible in this image) being installed on the opposite balcony to the right, or south side. The organs were dismantled in the 1930s and parts of them were used in the building of one larger organ to the west side of the Chapel.

    2019/15984
  • John Wesley's private rooms
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1935-50

    A photograph from around the time of World War II showing John Wesley's bedroom and prayer room.
  • Chamber horse
    read more →
    Wood, leather, metal
    c.1770-80

    This unusual type of chair is an 18th century 'Chamber Horse'. Essentially, chamber horses were exercise chairs. The leather covered part contained a set of metal springs, which, when sat on and pushed, bounced up and down. It was very similar to the motion made as one sat on a trotting horse, so this exercise chair was soon known as a 'chamber' horse. It allowed the user to take exercise when the weather did not permit riding on horseback, or when a horse wasn't available.

    Although this is not John Wesley's, John had a chamber horse just like it. He wrote to his nice Sarah in a letter on August 18, 1790, (when Wesley was 87 years old):
    " You should be sure to take as much exercise every day as you can bear. I wish you would desire ... to send you the chamber-horse out of my dining-room, which you should use half an hour at least daily."
  • The Official Likeness
    read more →
    Lithograph, after an engraving
    Engraved by James Fittler, early 1900s

    A presentation copy lithograph entitled "The Official Likeness After the Painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds". The image, together with the small watercolour painting mentioned, are well known depictions of John Wesley. Sadly, no actual portrait of John Wesley painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds is known.

    See also the other lithographs and engravings purporting to be after Reynolds in the Online Collection.
  • War club
    read more →
    Hardwood, carved
    1800s

    This rather savage looking object is a typical traditional Fijian war club.

    War clubs were used by the indigenous Fijian population in conflicts. This one was presented to the Reverend James Calvert and his wife, a Wesleyan missionary couple in Fiji. It was given to them in the 1850s by the most powerful Fijian Chief of the day, Ratu Seru Epenisa Cakobau (c.1815 – 1883), following his conversion to Methodism.
  • John Wesley's Cottage
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, 1905

    This old thatched cottage in Oxwich, Gower, has gained fame for being the place in which John Wesley stayed and preached on five separate occasions between 1764 and 1771. Wesley was impressed with Oxwich and wrote of Gower as a whole in his Journal:
    "Gower is a large tract of land, bounded by Brecknockshire on the north-east, the sea on the south-west, and rivers on the other side. Here all the people talk English, and are in general the most plain, loving people in Wales. It is, therefore, no wonder that they receive 'the word with all readiness of mind' ".

    The cottage still exists and is now run as a holiday home.

    1996/4818
  • An Extract of the Minutes of Several Conversations
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed by G. Whitfield, Finsbury, London, 1797

    The full title of the publication is "An Extract of the Minutes of Several Conversations held at Leeds, July 31st, 1797. Between the Preachers late in Connection with the late Rev. Mr John Wesley."

    At the 1797 Leeds Conference, the rules and regulations governing Wesleyan Methodism (and published by John Wesley and the Connexion between 1763 and 1789) were looked at and carefully revised. They were then signed by the Preachers present. This publication was the outcome of the deliberations. Effectively, it enshrined the new rules and laws of Wesleyan Methodism.

    2018/15795
  • The Arminian Magazine For the Year 1796
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    Printed by G. Paramore, North Green, Worship Street, London, Vol. XiX, 1796

    The 'Arminian Magazine' was started by John Wesley in 1778 to deal with the theological differences between Calvinist and Arminian (or Wesleyan) Methodists.

    The publication was edited by Wesley until his death in 1791 and helped to give identity to the Wesleyan Methodist Community. Central to their belief was the doctrine of universal redemption, i.e. that everybody could be saved through their belief in God.
  • Armchair
    read more →
    Wood, fabric, metal
    c.1770-80

    One of a pair of armchairs inside John Wesley's Study. It is not known whether the armchairs were in the house when John Wesley occupied it, although it is unlikely.

    The armchair is made from mahogany in 'Chippendale' style, influenced by French armchairs of the period. The red velvet style upholstery is later, probably around 1900-1930.
  • John Wesley on his way to America
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    c.1840

    A Victorian illustration of John Wesley in 1735, on shipboard to Georgia in America. The ship was thrown about in storms and Wesley admired the collective calm of a Moravian group of fellow travellers, who were praying and singing without fear. For some years after, Wesley was influenced by Moravian thought and doctrine.
  • Manse and front garden at Wesley's Chapel
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1970

    A black and white photograph of the manse and its front garden at Wesley's Chapel around 1970. The manse and Chapel were about to undergo extensive restoration works, which included re-landscaping of the garden.

    1995/4123/1
  • Lease of Wesley's Chapel
    read more →
    Ink on vellum
    1779

    This is the original Chapel lease signed by John Wesley and the trustees of the Chapel on 9th June, 1779. By its terms, Wesley leased the Chapel and grounds for "59 years from Ladyday 1779 at the cost of £76 and 14 shillings for the first year and... £96 and 14 shillings for the residue of the term".

    'Lady Day' was an old fashioned term even in 1779. It was the traditional day on which year-long contracts between landowners and tenant farmers would begin and end in England and the old start of the Julian legal year, technically phased out in 1752. In 1779, in the new Gregorian calendar and with various date adjustments, it would have referred to the 5th April. A remnant of this arrangement remains in the start and end of the tax year in Britain (i.e. 6th April).
  • Portrait of a man with a dog
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, c. 1830

    The subject of this painting is not identified. He is dressed in the manner of the early 1800s. Likely, he was a Methodist minister or preacher.

    Sadly, the painting is in poor condition.

    1993/1639
  • The Nature, Design and General Rules of the United Societies in London, Bristol, Kingswood, Newcastle-upon-Tyne &c
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    23rd edition, printed by Paramore, London, 1794

    The pamphlet sets out the fundamental rules devised by John Wesley in 1738 for his societies. Wesley published these to make clear the connection between the saving through faith and Christian behaviour and to indicate what was expected of persons as they joined the Methodist Societies.

    The 'General Rules' went through many editions and the pamphlet was in print throughout the 18th century. This edition, the 23rd, was published in 1794.

    2018/15561
  • Portrait of John Fletcher
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by John Jackson, R.A. (1778–1831), Early 19th century

    Born Jean Guillaume de la Fléchère into an aristocratic French family in 1729, Fletcher's early life was spent soldiering and tutoring in England. There, he experienced a religious conversion in 1755, was ordained in 1757 and made the acquaintance of the Wesley brothers and Selina, Countess of Huntingdon. Fletcher became the Countess's chaplain but was also involved closely with the parish of Madeley and Colebrookdale. Fletcher proved a good preacher and got involved in Methodism more widely.

    Close to Wesley and the Countess, Fletcher ultimately found himself at the centre of the controversy between Calvinist and Arminian Methodism, in which he chose (and fiercely defended) Wesley's Arminian side. His final contributions to the controversy, 'The Doctrines of Grace and Justice' and 'The Reconciliation', suggest that Calvinism and Arminianism should co-exist.

    Many contemporaries regarded Fletcher as an example of John Wesley's teachings of Christian Perfection and possible successor to Wesley.



    1993/1643
  • Wesley's Chapel Garden
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.2005

    A view of Wesley's tomb at Wesley's Chapel in the early 2000s. In the background can be seen the mirrored office building built over part of the site in the early 1980s.

    The former graveyard today is a commemorative garden, which is used by the local community and visitors to the site.

    2008/11671
  • First Day Cover envelope
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    2012

    This first day cover was issued in The Gambia in 2012 to celebrate the first Gambian Methodist Presiding Bishop, Most Rev. Hannah Caroline Faal-Heim.
    Rev. Hannah Caroline Faal-Heim is the first woman bishop in The Gambia.

    2015/14656
  • Preachers' Bedroom
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1995

    This black and white photograph shows the second-floor Preachers' Bedroom inside John Wesley's House. It was taken in the mid 1990s, shortly after extensive refurbishment of John Wesley's House. The refurbishment returned the rooms to something of their appearance during Wesley's occupation of the house, 1779-1791.

    This particular room was decorated and furnished in a slightly later style of about 1800-1820, to show the continuing use of John Wesley's House as a manse after Wesley's death.

    2013/13782
  • Hymn book
    read more →
    Paper bound in leather
    Printed by S. Hazard, Bath, 1770

    An old label stuck into the book records that this Countess of Huntingdon Connexion hymn book was given by Charles Wesley to his son, Charles Wesley junior. The book bears the latter's signature and date, '1776'.

    The Countess of Huntingdon was an early supporter of John Wesley but their differing views on predestination, among other things, caused an early split into Arminian and Calvinist Methodism. The Countess of Huntingdon Connexion took a more Calvinist direction, with emphasis on predestination.

    See also the miniature painting of Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, in the Online Collection.
  • William L. Binks
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    mid 1800s

    William L. Binks (1843-1890) was President of the Australasian Conference in 1869, aged only 26.

    The Australasian Conference was founded on Wesleyan lines in 1855, when it was reported this Conference oversaw 442 chapels, 108 ministers, about 20,000 members, close to 80,000 'hearers' and 35,570 children in Day and Sunday schools.

    1992/374
  • Letter from John Wesley to his wife Mary (Molly), nee Vazeille
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    First page of two, July 10th, 1756

    A letter from John Wesley to his wife Molly sent from Athlone, Ireland, on 10th July 1756.

    His letter makes clear that around a dozen of Molly's letters written since March that year went missing and were delivered to John all at once in Ireland in July. In a letter in May, John had been upset over the fact that Molly had not written him for so long, and the tone of the May letter was tense.

    This letter contains a lot of business relating to preachers, books and other affairs. It shows that John discussed these affairs freely with his wife.

    For the full letter, please refer to 'Exhibits' and click on 'Selected Documents'. See also John Wesley's letter to his wife dated 21st May 1756 in the Online Collection.
  • Commemorative trowel
    read more →
    Metal, bone
    Late 1800s

    This trowel in silver-plated metal commemorates the laying of the foundation stone of a Primitive Methodist Chapel in 1882.
    It was presented to a Mr Robert Clough, Esq.; the Chapel has other examples of trowels presented to this man, so it seems that Mr Clough was of considerable standing within the Primitive Methodist community of the time.

    See also the other commemorative trowels and similar items commemorating the building of Methodist chapels in the Online Collection.
  • John Wesley's monument
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1870

    This early photograph shows John Wesley's monument in the garden of Wesley's Chapel, still with its original metal railings. The gentleman in front, probably a minister or preacher, leans on a chair which is still in John Wesley's House today. Likely, it was already in the house when Wesley was living there.

    The house in the background of the picture has since been demolished and all houses in this area have been rebuilt.

    Compare also to the other views of the monument and graveyard in the Online Collection.
  • Susanna Wesley Memorial
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1970

    A black and white photograph of the commemorative inscription on Susanna Wesley's memorial, in the grounds of Wesley's Chapel.

    Susanna Wesley (166-1742) was Revd. John Wesley's mother. She she was buried in 1742 opposite Wesley's Chapel, then a 'tenter' (or cloth-drying) ground, in Bunhill Fields burial ground. The memorial was erected by public subscription in 1870.

    2008/11371/1
  • Sheet of stamps
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    1997

    This sheet of commemorative Irish stamps of John Wesley was issued in 1997 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Wesley's first visit to Ireland in 1747.

    1998/6982/2
  • Miss Sarah Moore of Antigua
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    1815

    Methodism came to Antigua through the plantation owner Rev. Nathaniel Gilbert (1736-1774), who baptized his slaves and established the first Methodist meeting house on the island.

    Gilbert's legacy lived on, and Antigua became one of the first places where women, many of whom freed slaves and black or mixed race, became central to the early development of Methodism. They preached, campaigned actively for the abolition of slavery and helped manage the finances of the local Methodist society. Sarah Moore was one of them although, sadly, little more is known of her life.
  • Wesleyan Methodist Band of Hope medal
    read more →
    Metal
    mid 1800s

    The Band of Hope encouraged young people to "sign the pledge" that they would "abstain from all intoxicating liquors".

    See also the other medals relating to temperance in the Online Collection.

    2006/10692
  • An Earnest Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    Pamphlet; 6th edition, printed by W. Pine, Bristol, 1771

    ‘An Earnest Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion‘ is an attempt by Wesley to defend and explain Methodism to critics and outsiders, a window into his thoughts. It is also an interesting exercise in reasoning between faith and logic, and as such it is very much a product of The Age of Reason and Enlightenment.
  • Busts of Hugh Bourne and William Clowes
    read more →
    Ceramic
    late 1800s

    Both Hugh Bourne (1772-1852) and William Clowes (1780-1851) took a leading role in the foundation of the Primitive Methodist Connexion in 1811. Unhappiness with the direction mainstream Methodism was taking was often the cause of smaller Methodist groups breaking away.

    The three largest of the Methodist groups re-united in 1932, including the Primitive Methodists, or 'Prims'.

    1992/42HA & 1992/50HA
  • Lantern
    read more →
    Metal, glass
    late 1700s

    This small lantern belonged to John Fletcher (1729-1785). Many contemporaries regarded Fletcher as an example of John Wesley's teachings of Christian Perfection and possible successor to Wesley. The lantern is made from metal and a small candle sat behind the cut-glass prism, which was useful in dispersing the candlelight and making it appear brighter.

    Compare this lamp to John Wesley's small lantern in the Online Collection.

    2004/9621
  • Collection plate
    read more →
    Pewter
    1700s

    This pewter collection plate was passed around to collect money at the Foundry and later at the New (Wesley's) Chapel. Several such plates were in use at the Chapel in the 1700s and into the early 1800s.
  • John Wesley statuette
    read more →
    Glazed ceramic
    Probably Staffordshire potteries, early/mid 19th century

    A 19th century statuette of John Wesley preaching. Small and cheap to produce, it would have been widely available.
  • John Wesley's monument
    read more →
    Photograph
    c. 1870-80

    An early photographic view of John Wesley's monument. The plain, raised grave marker in front of the monument is Adam Clarke's (1762-1832) memorial.
  • A Correct View of the Old Methodist Church in John Street Church, N York
    read more →
    Aquatint
    John I. Hill (1770-1850) (after); aquatint by Joseph B. Smith (1798–1876) & Peter C. Smith (act. 19th century), c. 1823/24

    View of the original John Street Methodist Church in Lower Manhatten, New York City. This was torn down in 1817 and rebuilt in 1818, hence the title of this print, "Old Methodist Church", published subsequent to the demolition. The house on the right was already on the site when the church was built and was used as the parsonage and library.
  • Temperance medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1800s

    The temperance movement was a social movement against the consumption of alcoholic beverages which reached particular prominence in the 19th and early 20th centuries. On this temperance medal from the early 1800s, drinking tea within the family circle is depicted as promoting domestic happiness.

    2006/10690
  • Zwölf Predigten
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    Twelve sermons translated into German, printed by Wilhelm Thome, Berlin, 1846

    Twelve sermons by John ('Johann') Wesley, translated into German and published in 1846. This collection of sermons illustrates that there was a growing awareness of, and interest in, Methodism in Germany by the 1840s.

    Methodism in Germany originated with Christoph Gottlieb Mueller, a German who had fled to England during the Napoleonic wars and was converted there. He returned to Germany in 1830 and began to preach in Wuerttemberg and other south German states. Further influences came via America.

    2014/14200
  • Letter from John Wesley to Mrs Mary Fletcher (nee Bosanquet)
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    2nd April, 1785

    In this short letter John Wesley advises Mary Fletcher of his travel plans that spring. He explains that his journey via Bolton, Wigan, Liverpool and Holyhead to Ireland won't leave time to visit Yorkshire that year. (Presumably Mary Fletcher had asked specifically about a visit there).

    It is interesting that the envelope of this letter is addressed to Mary's husband, John Fletcher, but that John Wesley is writing exclusively to Mary.
  • Preachers Room
    read more →
    Postcard printed on paper
    c.1950

    A mid-20th century postcard view of one of the second floor bedrooms in John Wesley's House. This would have been a guest room during John Wesley's lifetime, usually used by travelling or itinerant preachers. Today, it is known as one of the two 'Preachers Rooms'.
  • Trunk
    read more →
    Leather on wood carcase
    1700s

    This large trunk dates to the 1700s and would have been used when travelling by coach. Judging by its size and good condition, the trunk was probably used for travel by private (not mail) coach.

    Although the trunk has been in John Wesley's House for many years, we have no documentary evidence that it belonged to John or indeed the Wesley family.
  • Count Nikolaus Zinzendorf
    read more →
    Watercolour on ivory
    Unidentified artist, mid 1700s

    This miniature painting depicts Count Nikolaus Zinzendorf (1700-1760). Zinzendorf was a bishop of the Moravian Church in Germany and became known as a major Protestant religious and social reformer.

    John Wesley was influenced by the deep faith and spirituality of the Moravians and met Zinzendorf twice. Wesley's pivotal conversion experience in 1738 took place at a society meeting in London with Moravian links.
  • Ribbon cutting ceremony
    read more →
    Photograph
    1995

    In the early 1990, it was decided to present John Wesley's House closer to how it might have appeared when John Wesley lived in it. Following extensive studies and with professional advice, the house was fully refurbished.

    The image shows the re-opening day in 1995, with the Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, cutting the ribbon. Behind her on the right John Wesley looks on, played by a re-enactor.
  • Commemorative Cover
    read more →
    Paper, printed; ink
    1998

    This commemorative cover was issued by the Methodist Philatelic Society to commemorate the 95th birthday of the Lord Soper of Kingsway (1903-1998). Lord Soper was a Methodist minister, a socialist and also a pacifist. In 1953-43 he served as President of the Methodist Conference.

    See also the Philatelic Society's commemorative cover issued in 1993 to mark the Lord Soper's 90th birthday in the Online Collection.

    1999/7644
  • Hymns For Times Of Trouble And Persecution
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    By John and Charles Wesley, 3rd edition, 1756

    The first edition of 'Hymns for Times of Trouble and Persecution' was released in 1744, in the context of a feared Stuart invasion of Britain from France. Shortly after, with the threat of invasion continuing, the Wesleys issued a second edition, with fifteen new hymns in a section titled “Hymns for Times of Trouble for the Year 1745.” The third edition was printed in 1756, shortly after a major earthquake in Lisbon, which claimed many lives.

    There is good reason to believe that Charles was author of all the hymns in this volume. John's name may have been added to indicate an editorial role and his shared political views.

    This 1756 edition is bound with other pamphlets, a dated list (1776) of which is to the left in Charles Wesley's hand.
  • Preaching Plan
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    1858-9

    An interesting preaching plan showing the preaching appointments of ministers and lay preachers in Barbado(e)s in the late 1850s.

    Methodists arrived in Barbados in 1789 but their early attempts at mission were unsuccessful. The local planters were very hostile to Methodist missionaries, as they saw the Methodists as anti-slavery. Meetings were often interrupted and churches attacked, culminating in the tearing down of the Methodist chapel in James Street, Bridgetown, in 1823. However, attempts at outlawing Methodists came to nothing and by the time this preaching plan was printed in 1858 the church had many thousand members and 12 places of worship.

    For further information on preaching or prayer plans, consult the other plans in the Online Collection.

    1993/650
  • John Wesley's Bedroom
    read more →
    Postcard printed on paper
    c.1950

    A mid 1900s postcard view of John Wesley's bedroom, with Wesley's prayer closet beyond. Wesley's teapot stands in a glass case on top of a chest of drawers. Note the stripped pine panelling and door. All of the woodwork inside Wesley's House was stripped during 1930s refurbishment works in the (mistaken) belief that Georgian woodwork was usually left unpainted.

    Compare also to the other views of Wesley's bedroom in the Online Collection to see how the layout and displays in this room have changed over the years.

    2019/15976
  • The Rev. Dr. Leslie D. Weatherhead
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962), mid 20th century

    Leslie Weatherhead was a Methodist preacher of worldwide renown. He was known for his impressive appearance, clarity of thought and melodious voice.
  • Funeral Hymns
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    Published by W. Pine, Wine Street, Bristol, 1769

    This small volume contains hymns written by Charles Wesley (1707-1788). Charles Wesley, like his brother John, was deeply religious. He wrote thousands of hymns and published his first hymn booklet dedicated to funeral hymns in 1746. He regularly wrote hymns on the occasion of the death of family, friends and well-known members of the Methodist societies.

    This volume of the Funeral Hymns is a later edition, published in Bristol in 1769.
  • John Wesley's wig
    read more →
    Horse (?) hair woven onto cotton cap
    c.1780

    Believed to be John Wesley's wig, which was handed down in his family. Wesley would have worn this wig in later life; in younger years, he wore his own hair, preferring to give the money saved by doing thus to the poor.

    Originally, the upper part of the wig cap would have been covered with hair, too. It is likely this would have been human hair, while the lower part was made from another organic material, possibly horsehair. This would have been more suitable for curling. The human hair has disintegrated over time, while the other hair has lasted and kept its shape.

    The wig is displayed on Wesley's death mask. Its fit is remarkable and the overall appearance recalls portraits of John Wesley in old age.
  • An account of the rise and progress of the American war. Extracted from a late author.
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    5th edition, 1780

    A volume compiled by John Wesley from extracts of Joseph Galloway's 'Letters to a nobleman on the conduct of the war in the middle colonies' (1779), charting the course of the American War of Independence. Earlier editions of Wesley's book had the title: 'An account of the conduct of the war in the middle colonies'.

    Extracting and/or paraphrasing - some would say pirating - other authors' works was neither unusual nor illegal in the days before copyright law.
  • Portrait of John Cennick
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, probably 18th century

    This portrait of John Cennick is related closely to painting 1993/1481 in the Collection. One would appear to be a copy of the other or, more likely, both are copies of a third painting of Cennick. For further information about him, refer to 1993/1481.

    Nothing is known of the painter.

    The painting requires conservation.

    1993/1624
  • A Striking Likeness
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Published by ? Sheppard, Lambert Hill, Doctors Common (London), March 22nd, 1791

    The full title of the image is 'A Striking Likeness of the late Justly Celebrated, and Pious Christian, the truly Reverend John Wesley, A.M. .' Wesley is shown crowned by angels and a 'New Song in Praise of Methodism' features beneath the portrait.

    This flysheet image was published within three weeks of Wesley's passing by the 'Doctors' Commons', also known as the College of Civilians. This was a society of lawyers practising civil law in London. Like the Inns of Court, the society had buildings with work and living space, as well as a large library.

    1992/510
  • Courtyard works
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1977

    A photograph taken during the Chapel refurbishment works of the 1970s. The picture shows the Chapel courtyard being re-landscaped.

    Originally, the courtyard landscaping was formal and very symmetrical. The refurbishment works softened the lines of the road and walkways.
  • John Wesley's Monument
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1900

    Black and white photograph of the Chapel graveyard and John Wesley's tomb monument taken on a winter's day in the early 1900s.

    1995/4111
  • Wesley's Grave and Garden
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1985

    A black and white photograph showing John Wesley's gave in the Chapel garden in the mid 1980s, following major building work and a new layout of the Chapel's burial ground. Many graves were exhumed and remains reburied elsewhere, the most prominent, including Wesley's, being retained.

    2009/11948
  • Portable lantern
    read more →
    Metal, glass
    late 18th century

    This little lamp is believed to have been John Wesley's. In the 18th century, streets were unlit at night and pedestrians difficult to see. Portable lamps like this helped light the way and gave protection from oncoming horse and carriage traffic.
  • Commemorative Medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1837

    This medal was issued to commemorate the Wesleyan Conference at Leeds in 1837. It was the ninety-fourth Conference and the ninth time the Conference was held in Leeds. See also 1996/4951 in the Online Collection, the Conference Medal issued the preceding year, in 1836.

    2006/10350
  • Flyer
    read more →
    Paper
    1978

    This flyer announces the re-opening of Wesley's Chapel on November 1st, 1978. The Chapel was closed for most of the early 1970s, after extensive rot and structural problems were discovered. The re-opening ceremony was held on the 200th anniversary of the Chapel in the presence of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Corner cabinet
    read more →
    Oak
    c. 1770-1800

    A hanging corner cabinet with a 'swan neck' pediment top and astragal glazing, dating to the last quarter of the 1700s. An 'astragal' is a moulding or fillet profile composed of a half-round surface surrounded by two flat planes. It used to be employed as a framing device on furniture and woodwork.

    Corner cabinets were fashionable and very common between 1760 and 1830. This particular example did not belong to John Wesley, but it is quite likely that one would have been in Wesley's house.
  • 'Lord's Day' or Preaching plan
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    1832

    A preaching plan showing the preaching appointment in the Witney Circuit in the summer and early autumn of 1832. At the time, there were 25 places of Wesleyan worship in the circuit.

    A characteristic feature of Methodism is its methodical structure and the provision of preaching and prayer meeting plans. The plans are essentially a diary of prayer and preaching appointments for preachers and other prayer and worship leaders working within a Methodist 'circuit', or defined groupings of chapels.

    For further examples of such plans, please consult the Online Collection.

    1996/5140
  • Marlborough; or: The Fate of Europe - A Poem.
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed for Charles Harper, Fleet Street, London, 1705

    This poem by Samuel Wesley (1662-1735), John Wesley's father, was written in the wake of the Battle of Blenheim (13th August 1704). The battle was part of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-14). The poem celebrates the role of John Churchill, first Duke of Marlborough (1650-1722), whose victory in the battle marked a pivotal point in the conflict. It was regarded as changing point for the future of Europe - a Europe not dominated by France.

    The poem shows Samuel Wesley's close alignment with the Establishment and the Stuart monarchy.
    2014/14433
  • Mrs Charles Wesley, by unknown artist
    read more →
    Oil on board
    early 19th century

    Sarah ('Sally') Gwynne (1726-1822) married Charles Wesley in 1749. The marriage was happy and produced two sons, both well-known musicians. The portrait shows Mrs Wesley in old age.
    (1997/6629)
  • Donald English Memorial Window
    read more →
    Photograph
    2003

    The Donald English Memorial Window, 'God as Fire', by Mark Cazalet (b.1964) in the process of being installed at Wesley's Chapel in 2003.

    Dr. Donald English, CBE (1930-1998) was a prominent Methodist minister and leader. He was twice-President of the Methodist Conference and a well-known speaker and author. He received a number of honorary doctorates in America and in Britain, and was awarded the CBE in 1996.

    2007/11070
  • Loving cup
    read more →
    Ceramic, printed
    Made by Chown China, c.2010

    A recent example of a loving or 'love feast' cup featuring Wesley's Chapel, intended as commemorative ware.

    For further information about the 'love feast' and the use of loving cups, see also the other loving cups in the Online Collection.
  • Vertebra preacher
    read more →
    Bone, painted
    c.1750-1830

    This curious object is made from the bone vertebra of a cow, oxen, or horse. It depicts a preaching clergymen, possibly John Wesley, and is a piece of folk art.

    Although unusual, this piece is not unique. There are three similar vertebra preacher statuettes in the Collection at Wesley's Chapel, and occasionally one comes across them in museums and private collections. The material, colouring and the bone 'wings' at the back make these small statues appear rather sombre.

    The original purpose of these preacher vertebrae is unclear. They may have been purely decorative, but it is possible that the material and pose of the preacher may have been intended as a reminder to lead a virtuous life.
  • Prayer Closet
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1995

    A black and white photograph of John Wesley's Prayer Closet taken in the mid 1990s, shortly after extensive refurbishment of John Wesley's House. The refurbishment returned the rooms to something of their appearance during Wesley's occupation of the house, 1779-1791.

    John Wesley rose early, and it is said he spent an hour every morning in his prayer closet when in London, preparing for his day. The closet is sometimes referred to as the 'powerhouse' of Methodism.

    2013/13781
  • Wesley's Tree, Winchelsea, Sussex
    read more →
    Lithograph on paper
    Worked by D.C. Delt, published by C. Moody, Holborn, London, Mid 19th century

    John Wesley preached his last open air sermon in Winchelsea, East Sussex, on October 7th, 1790 under the tree depicted in this print.
  • Chapel guidebook
    read more →
    Paper bound in card
    early 1900s

    Less colourful than its modern equivalent, this guidebook of Wesley's Chapel, City Road, was published c. 1920-30. At the time, the museum was housed in a few rooms inside John Wesley's House.

    2003/9271
  • Pieces of fabric
    read more →
    Fabric on paper; ink
    1800s

    This piece of paper has two scraps of black fabric pinned to it. One is described as a remnant of Mr John Wesley's preaching gown, the other as a remnant of the gown belonging to his brother Charles. It is likely the pieces - Wesleyana collectables - were assembled together in the 1800s, when Wesley family mementoes were highly sought after. The scraps have a good provenance, so it is likely they were indeed taken from gowns belonging to the Wesley brothers.

    2004/9802
  • Piece of 'Wesley's Tree', West Sussex
    read more →
    Wood, paper, ink
    1800s/early 1900s

    The label on this piece of wood explains it was taken from 'Wesley's Tree, Winchelsea, Sussex'. John Wesley preached his last outdoor sermon beneath this tree on October 7th, 1790.

    For other wood samples of this tree, and objects made from this and other trees associated with Wesley, see the Online Collection, for instance 1998/7115.

    2006/10524
  • Temperance Medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1901

    A medal issued to commemorate a temperance demonstration in Alford on June 12th, 1901. The 20th century had only just begun, so it seemed sensible to the organisers of the demonstration to commemorate this on the medal, and emphasise temperance as one of the goals of the 20th century.

    2006/10768
  • Epworth Bible
    read more →
    Leather, paper

    This bible was found under some outside stairs and in rubble at Epworth Rectory in the mid 19th century. The bible dates to the 17th century and is partially singed. It is likely that it survived the fire of 1709, which burned the old rectory to the ground.

    Inside the bible are a number of ink childrens' doodles, especially of animals and birds. It is possible these were drawn by the Wesley children.
  • Letter from John Wesley to George Merryweather, 1758
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    16th January 1758

    An early letter written by John Wesley to George Merryweather (c.1743-1817) in Yarm.

    The Merryweathers were a merchant family who were committed Methodists. At the time, Methodism was growing in Yarm, and John Wesley writes: "If the Work of God does so increase at Yarm, we must not let the opportunity slip." He recommends that a travelling preacher visits every Sunday evening, or at least every other Sunday.

    This letter was written a few years before Yarm's octagonal Methodist chapel was built on Merryweather land. See also John Wesley's letter of 5th October 1763 to George Merryweather in the Online Collection.
  • Wesley's Chapel and Grounds
    read more →
    Photograph
    1990

    A black and white photograph of the Chapel, manse and grounds taken in September 1990. Note there are no railings (other than gates) at the front of the site; the metal railings were removed sometime in the early 1900s. The present day railings are copies of the originals.

    2008/11631
  • Francis Asbury, by unknown artist
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    mid-19th century

    Francis Asbury (1745-1816) was one of the first two bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church in north America, today's United Methodist Church. John Wesley had chosen - practically ordained - him and Thomas Coke for overseeing and directing Methodism in the Americas, which caused great controversy back home and contributed to a separation of Methodists from the Anglican Church.
    (1993/1643)
  • Wesley's Chapel Interior
    read more →
    Graphite and watercolour wash on paper.
    Unidentified artist, ca. 1800

    An early interior view of John Wesley's 'New Chapel', today's Wesley's Chapel. It shows the Chapel much as it looked during Wesley's day, without stained glass.

    Originally, the pulpit had three levels, which were intended to reflect the importance of the readings delivered there. The top tier was reserved for the delivery of the sermon. The Chapel's pulpit was cut down in the 1860s.
  • Brooch
    read more →
    Ceramic, metal (brooch); cardboard, leather, fabric (box)
    mid 1800s

    A jasperware ceramic cameo brooch of John Wesley in profile, looking left. Pieces of jewellery commemorating John Wesley such as this are less common than other ceramic memorabilia, including Wesley busts, crockery and small portraits for the home.

    The cameo is in its original leather box. The brooch has additional fixings to enable the owner to wear the cameo as a pendant from a necklace.

    2006/10595
  • John Wesley walking between two of his preachers, Dr James Hamilton and Joseph Cole, in Edinburgh
    read more →
    Oil on board
    by Joseph Kay, c.1790

    The picture depicts the three preachers, the best known Methodist preachers of their day in Scotland, walking together in Edinburgh in 1790. Wesley was small of statue, about 5ft 4 inches.
  • Picture
    read more →
    Wood (frame); paper, printed (image)
    1839

    As he lay dying, John Wesley's last words were 'The Best of all is, God is with us'. These words have become central to the Methodist Faith. They are reproduced in this printed image with laurel leaves issued to commemorate the centenary of Wesleyan Methodism in 1839.

    1997/6409
  • Receuil de Cantiques a L'usage des Eglises Methodistes
    read more →
    Printed on paper, bound in leather
    1893

    A French version of the Methodist hymn book dating to the 1890s.

    French Methodism was founded in the 1820s by Charles Cook. Today, Methodism exists in France in various forms, the best known being, perhaps, the Union of Evangelical Methodist Churches (l'Union de l'Eglise Evangélique Méthodiste) or UEEM. In the early 2000s, this had approximately 1,200 members and 30 ministers.
  • Chinese teapot
    read more →
    Earthenware
    Probably 1800s

    This small teapot belonged to David Hill (1840-1896). Hill was a British Wesleyan Methodist missionary in China in the mid 1800s. He served with the English Wesleyan Methodist Society, primarily in Hankow.

    Hill established a hospital and homes for the aged, the blind, and orphans and his evangelical work extended outside the boundaries of existing Methodist circuits in China. This resulted in the formation of the Central China Lay Mission in the 1880s.
  • Membership tickets
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    c.1800-1960

    The membership ticket or 'class ticket' system is specifically Methodist. Class tickets originate in the 1700s, when the Methodist Church was a religious society and still within the Church of England. Members belonged to 'classes' within local Methodist societies, and every member received a ticket at least once a year.

    Membership is an important milestone in becoming a Methodist, and membership tickets are still issued on a regular basis.

    This selection dates between 1812 and 1963. The museum's earliest ticket was issued in 1771.
  • Busts of John Wesley
    read more →
    Ceramic
    Staffordshire, late 18th and early 19th centuries

    The model on which all three busts are based was modelled in 1784 when Wesley sat for sculptor Enoch Wood, a member of a famous family of Staffordshire potters. The original was made from basaltware, an unglazed ceramic which enabled Wood to portray Wesley with much realism. The museum owns many Wesley busts; these are some of the most realistic.
  • Cufflinks
    read more →
    Metal, engraved
    1800s?

    Cufflinks are a traditional means of securing shirt cuffs; often they are decorative, and sometimes they are made from precious materials.

    These gold-colour cufflinks are each engraved with a 'C' or a 'W'. When they entered the Collection many years ago, they were thought to have been the property of Charles Wesley (1707-1788). However, judging by the elaborate decoration, they are more likely to be Victorian (1837-1901).

    2008/11226/1-2
  • Wesley's Chapel
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1950

    This black and white photograph shows an unusual side view of Wesley's Chapel, taken from the garden (or rear). The photograph was taken before redevelopment of the graveyard in the late 1970s.

    See also the other views of the Chapel's garden in the Online Collection.

    1995/4137
  • John Wesley's Prayer Room
    read more →
    Postcard printed on paper
    c.1900

    An early postcard view of John Wesley's Prayer Room, looking into his bedroom. As it is a small room in an extension to the original house, it is also known as John Wesley's Prayer Closet.
  • Charles Wesley stamps
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    2007

    Issued in Ireland in 2007 to mark the 300th birth of Charles Wesley.

    Over the years, hundreds of stamps have been issued worldwide to celebrate Methodism and the Wesleys. A Methodist Philatelic Society also exists.
  • Epworth Old Rectory timber
    read more →
    Probably oak,
    possibly 17th century

    A piece of wood from the "burnt Rectory House at Epworth, when little John Wesley was rescued from death", according to the late-19h century label attached. The fire took place on the night of February 9th, 1709 and John was the last person to be rescued from the house.

    See also the engraving of the rectory fire after Henry Perlee Parker in the online Collection, "The Epworth Rectory on Fire and the Rescue of John Wesley, Aged 6".
  • Conference chair
    read more →
    Wood, fabric
    c.1740

    This walnut armchair was used at John Wesley's first annual meeting of the Methodist Society's preachers at the 'Foundry' Chapel in 1744. The meeting, or 'Conference', still takes place annually in summer. This chair was used at every Conference between 1744 and 1932.
  • John Wesley's Study
    read more →
    Postcard on paper
    c.1935

    A mid-century postcard view of John Wesley's Study, probably just before World War II. Compare with the other images of Wesley's Study in the Online Collection.
  • Re-opening of John Wesley's House
    read more →
    Photograph
    1995

    An image of the re-opening of John Wesley's House in 1995 following refurbishment.

    In the early 1990s, it was decided to present John Wesley's House closer to how it might have appeared when John Wesley lived in it. Following extensive studies and with professional advice, the house was fully refurbished.

    The image shows the re-opening day in 1995, with the President of Conference, the Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy, and the then minister of the Chapel in the centre of the picture.
  • Model of Chapel site
    read more →
    Cardboard, pvc, paint
    c.1980

    A model of Wesley's Chapel and the surrounding site. To the left of the entrance and in front of the Chapel are the ministers' manse and the Benson office building, to the right John Wesley's House and behind (not fully visible) the former Curate's House, now offices. The Chapel is in the background.

    The model was commissioned as a working model, prior to building the large mirrored office building at the back of the Chapel in the early 1980s. The model shows the Victorian Benson building office block in the forecourt replaced with a square mirrored structure. This was not built, to preserve the architectural character of the courtyard.
  • John Wesley (1703 - 1791)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, 19th century

    This painting of John Wesley compares closely to another in the Collection, 1992/421, and was also inspired by a well-known portrait by George Romney (1732-1804). However, the quality of this painting is not comparable to the other; this portrait 'feels' more naïve and less polished. It is one of thousands painted and copied after Wesley's death to celebrate Wesley's life and achievements.

    Sadly, the painting is in need of conservation.

    1992/1427
  • Foundations
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    Photograph, 1975

    This image shows an engineer in the process of examining the foundations of Wesley's Chapel. A few years earlier, much of the building structure of the Chapel had been found to be unsafe. The Chapel was closed and, with help of international donations, a major refurbishment programme was carried out. The Chapel re-opened on its 200th anniversary in November 1978, in the presence of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

    For further images of this work, see the Online Collection.

    2003/8975
  • Elijah, the Warrior of God
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), c.1930

    One of a series of dramatic oil on canvas studies of the biblical prophets by Frank O. Salisbury. Salisbury's work was illustrated in 'The Prophets of Israel', in 1933.

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    The painting is on long term loan to Wesley's Chapel from the Bible Society.

    See also the other paintings by Frank O. Salisbury in the Online Collection.
  • The Stations of the Preachers in the Connexion
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    1831

    The stations of the (itinerant) preachers in the Methodist 'Connexion' have been published annually since Wesley's day, usually as part of the minutes of Conference. This document shows the stations of the ministers for 1831/32, as appointed by the 88th Conference held in Bristol in July 1831.

    2014/14207
  • Quill pen holder
    read more →
    Nacre; metal
    c.1780-1810

    This nacre (or mother-of-pearl) pen with a bust of John Wesley was used as a holder for feather quills. It is, effectively, the precursor of the fountain pen. A quill would be cut from a feather by retaining only an inch or so of the 'stalk' of the feather. This was then slid into the metal aperture and cut at the end, to retain ink when dipping the quill end into an inkwell.
  • Building Works
    read more →
    Photograph
    1970s

    The photograph shows the major building works undertaken in the 1970s to save Wesley's Chapel. The works centred on the Chapel, but ultimately included work to most of the buildings onsite and the Chapel forecourt. This image shows the forecourt prior to re-paving.
  • Portrait of Rodney 'Gypsy' Smith
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by A.T. Nowell, Early 20th century

    Rodney, or 'Gipsy', Smith MBE (1860 – 1947) was a British evangelist who conducted evangelistic campaigns in the United States and Great Britain for over 70 years. He was an early member of The Salvation Army.

    Gypsy was born in a Romani tent in Epping Forest, close to London. He received no formal education, and his family made a living selling home made wares, such as baskets. At the age of 16, Gypsy was converted and noticed by William Booth of the Salvation Army. Gypsy became an evangelist with and for the Mission and served for a number of years. Later, he traveled around the world extensively on evangelistic missions or 'crusades', drawing huge crowds.

    It is believed that Gipsy never wrote out a sermon for preaching purposes, although he wrote several books. He could sing well, and sometimes he would interrupt his sermons and burst into song. Several of these hymns were recorded by Columbia Records.

    1997/6659
  • John Fletcher's study chair
    read more →
    Oak, leather, metal
    Probably 1600s

    This armchair belonged to John Fletcher (1729-1785). Fletcher was a gifted preacher, writer and friend of John Wesley. Many contemporaries regarded him as an example of John Wesley's teachings of Christian Perfection and possible successor to Wesley.

    The chair dates to the 1600s and its style is derived from Spanish furniture. Its studded and embossed black leather upholstery is original. It is interesting that Fletcher should have used a study chair of this age. It would indicate that he had 'antiquarian' interests, i.e. an interest in the past.

    The chair bears a 19th century museum label set into the leather backrest.
  • Moravian seal impression
    read more →
    Wax, cardboard
    1800s

    John Wesley was influenced by the deep faith and spirituality of the Moravian brotherhood, a religious group from Germany. The brotherhood was led by Nikolaus Ludwig, Reichsgraf ('Count') von Zinzendorff und Pottendorf (1700 – 1760), a German religious and social reformer, who became bishop of the Moravian Church. Wesley travelled to Germany and met the Count twice, and the famous meeting where Wesley experienced his conversion experience in London in 1738 had Moravian links.

    This Moravian seal impression is mounted on a piece of cardboard inscribed: "The seal of the United Brethren/The Moravian or United Brethrens (sic) Seal/Given to me 1739./ John Wesley".

    See also the Moravian bible and the portrait of Count Zinzendorff in the Online Collection.

    2006/10744
  • Portrait of George Whitefield
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by David Martin (1737-1797), c 1770

    Born in 1714, the seventh child of Thomas and Elizabeth Whitefield, George Whitefield was left with a squint by a bout of childhood measles. This resulted in a nickname, 'Dr Squintum', among those who didn't like Whitefield in later life. Whitefield's squint is very pronounced in this painting.

    At Oxford Whitefield met the Wesleys and became a member of the 'Holy Club', the fledgling evangelical group which preceded Methodism. Whitefield was an instant success as an evangelist and orator, and it was he who persuaded John Wesley to preach out of doors. Over the following thirty years, Whitefield's 'field preaching' attracted huge crowds in England, Scotland and the Americas, where he sailed seven times.

    As time went by, Whitefield increasingly followed Calvinist doctrine, which brought him into collision course with the Wesleys, who argued against Calvinist views that grace and salvation were only for the few. Eventually, in the 1770s, Methodism divided into Wesleyan (Arminian) and Calvinistic branches.

    See also 2001/8263 in the Collection for further information on the relationship between the Wesleys and Whitefield.

    2011/12897
  • John Wesley's Study
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1995

    A black and white photograph of John Wesley's Study taken in the mid 1990s, shortly after extensive refurbishment of John Wesley's House. The refurbishment returned the rooms to something of their appearance during Wesley's occupation of the house, 1779-1791.

    Note the longcase clock by Claude Duchesne (c.1670-1733) on the right hand side next to the window and a portrait of John Wesley by Hunter (fl. 1752-1803) above the fireplace.

    2013/13775
  • Busts of John Wesley
    read more →
    Ceramic
    Inspired by the model by Enoch Wood (1759-1840), Staffordshire, 1820s

    Two busts of John Wesley loosely based on the bust modelled by Enoch Wood in 1784 but produced by other artists and manufacturers. One bust is dated '1824', the other is undated. Both busts are crudely modelled and fancifully decorated. They are also smaller than Wood's model. As the years passed, Wesley busts became cruder and less realistic.

    Compare also to the Wood-modelled busts of John Wesley in the Collection.
  • The Holy Triumph of John Wesley in His Dying
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by Marshall Claxton (1811 -1881), c. 1842

    On 2nd March 1791, Methodist founder, Rev John Wesley died at his house in London following a final five day illness. He was 88 years old. It is reported that he sang a final hymn “I ‘II Praise My Maker While I’ve Breath”, his final words being: “Best of all is, God is with us.” Wesley’s ministry re-energized and transformed the expression of Christian faith in Britain and his pastoral and preaching activity generated great enthusiasm. This in turn helped shape and direct Methodism.

    The portrait shows Wesley on his deathbed, surrounded by friends, family and preachers. The work was painted around fifty years after Wesley's death and the artist has employed considerable license, including the dimensions of the room in which Wesley passed away. There is also a tradition which suggests Wesley died in a chair in his Study.

    Marshall Claxton (1811 - 1881) was the son of a Wesleyan Methodist minister from Lancashire and painted landscape, portrait and genre paintings. He was known for his depictions of Wesleyan and Methodist subjects and exhibited around 30 paintings at the Royal Academy, including this work.

    1997/6733
  • Inkstand
    read more →
    Tin
    1770-80

    This unusual inkstand belonged to John Fletcher (1729-85). Fletcher, born in Switzerland as Jean Guillaume de la Fléchère, was of Huguenot ancestry. He was a friend of John Wesley and became one of Methodism's most important early theologians. Appropriately, the inkstand, which includes an inkwell and a vessel for blotting sand, is in the shape of two books with spines on opposite edges. A label from the early 1900s is still kept inside.

    1994/2630/1-3
  • Preaching Plan
    read more →
    Printed on silk
    Barton-on-Humber Circuit, 1866/7

    A preaching plan showing the preachers' appointments for the Barton-on-Humber circuit for 1866/7. Printed on silk, it is likely to have been intended as a commemorative piece for framing. Early plans were sometimes printed on linen for ease of transportation.

    See also the other prayer leading and preaching plans in the Online Collection.
  • John Wesley Attending a Deathbed
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, c. 1840

    This fragment of a painting depicts a somewhat romanticised John Wesley attending a dying patient. The painting was executed around the 100th anniversary of Wesley's conversion and the opening of the Foundery Chapel, a time when Methodism was growing sharply.

    At some point in the painting's past it was overlaid with tissue paper, which has fused with paint.
  • John Wesley pulpit and clock statuette
    read more →
    Ceramic
    Staffordshire, mid 19th century

    Another John Wesley pulpit and clock statuette made in the Staffordshire potteries in the 19th century. It is very similar to the gothic-style pulpit statuette featuring in the online Collection and depicts a clock, probably to emphasise the passing of time and as a reminder to lead a worthy life. Like most pieces of 'Wesleyana', they were decorative items which had a strong moral message.
  • Wesley's Chapel building works
    read more →
    Photograph
    1970s

    The black and white image shows the scope of the ambitious 1970s Chapel refurbishment works. Chapel refurbishment and works to the Benson building office block were followed by re-landscaping the courtyard. After this, the Chapel's graveyard and garden were re-designed and a new, mirrored office block constructed on Chapel land.
  • John Wesley's House and Susanna Wesley Memorial
    read more →
    Photograph
    c. 1960-70

    This black and white side view of John Wesley's House shows Susanna Wesley's memorial in the foreground. Susanna Wesley was buried opposite Wesley's Chapel, in Bunhill Fields, in 1743. The monument in the grounds of the Chapel was erected in 1870.
  • John Wesley pounce shaker
    read more →
    Glazed ceramic
    19th century

    This salt or pepper shaker-like object likely was a pounce shaker or pounce pot.

    Pounce was a fine powder, most often made from powdered cuttlefish bone, which was used both to dry ink and to sprinkle on a rough writing surface to make it sufficiently smooth for writing. In times when paper came "unsized", that is, lacking the thin gelatinous material used to fill the surface of the paper and make it smooth enough for writing with a quill or a steel nib, a fine powder was needed to prepare the paper. Similarly, pounce was used instead of blotting paper to dry ink.

    The shaker is only one example of a wide variety of commemorative Wesley objects, or 'Wesleyana', produced in the 19th century.
  • Portrait of Mrs Mary (‘Molly’) Vazeille (1710-1781)
    read more →
    Oil on wooden panel
    mid to late 18th century

    Mary Vazeille, usually known as ‘Molly’, was the widow of a Huguenot City banker and merchant. She and John Wesley were married in 1751 after an exceptionally short courtship. Molly and John were not suited well for each other and the marriage suffered from misunderstandings and jealousy from the start. The marriage remained childless and resulted in separation.
  • The Revd John Wesley, M.A.
    read more →
    Watercolour
    Unknown artist, mid 1800s

    This small watercolour of John Wesley is typical of many Wesley images dating to the mid 1800s, when reverence for John Wesley was at an all-time high.
  • Piece of fabric
    read more →
    Cotton (linen)
    1700s

    By tradition, this piece of fabric was part of John Wesley's bed hangings. It is a piece of linen, printed with an India pattern fashionable in the 1700s. An old provenance label dating to 1853 is shown alongside.

    Interestingly, the museum owns another piece of fabric which is said to have come from John Wesley's bed. This is also an India print cotton but in a different colour. Possibly, one was taken from the bed hangings and the other from a coverlet?
  • John Wesley's statue and the Curate's House
    read more →
    Photograph
    c. 1930-50

    The photograph shows Wesley's statue by John Adams Acton (1830-1910) in the forecourt of Wesley's Chapel and, in the background to the right hand side, the Curate's House.

    The Curate's House was built shortly after the Chapel and John Wesley's House and would have provided accommodation for the chapel keeper and assistants. Today, the house provides additional office accommodation and a number of bedsits.
  • Commemorative Cover
    read more →
    Paper, printed; ink
    2019

    Susanna Wesley (1669-1742), mother of John and Charles Wesley, is the subject of this commemorative cover issued by the Methodist Philatelic Society in 2019. The cover celebrates the 350th anniversary of her birth.

    2019/15963
  • John Wesley's Monument, Chapel and Tomb
    read more →
    Postcard printed on paper
    c.1920-40

    An unusual black and white composite postcard dating to the interwar years, c. 1919-39. Many of the older buildings surrounding Wesley's Chapel were bombed during WWII, including the large window-fronted building visible behind Wesley's tomb.

    2010/12436
  • Visitors at the Museum of Methodism
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.2000

    A black and white photograph showing visitors exploring the Museum of Methodism in around 2000. The museum is located in the former crypt of Wesley's Chapel, City Road. It was opened in 1984 and fully refurbished between 2012 and 2016.

    2007/11031
  • The Life of God in the Soul of Man
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed by R. Hawes, Moorfields, London, 1777

    'The Life of God in the Soul of Man or, the Nature and Excellency of the Christian Religion', was originally published by Henry Scougal (1650-78) in 1677. It originated as a letter of spiritual guidance to a friend, but Scougal agreed to its publication a year before his early death. The text soon became a classic, and John Wesley published this abridged and amended version for his followers.

    Although strange to modern eyes, abridging, paraphrasing and simply copying other writers was not unusual in an age when copyright law did not exist.

    1994/2424
  • Wesley's Chapel land title deed
    read more →
    Ink on vellum
    1776

    The title deed of Wesley's Chapel was issued to the trustees of what was called the 'New' or City Road Chapel (today's Wesley's Chapel).

    It includes a site plan and a drawing of the proposed view of the site from City Road by George Dance the Younger (1741-1825), the Architect and Surveyor to the Corporation of London. He was responsible for the design of public buildings in the City.

    The title deed shows that Dance proposed a terrace of five houses facing City Road, at the front of the site. The Chapel, of which there is no design in this deed, was to be hidden completely, accessed by a central columned archway. This suggests that Wesley's Chapel, as a Nonconformist or dissenters meeting house, may not have been regarded as entirely respectable, or on a par with the established Church.

    In the end, only two houses at either end of the proposed terrace were built, apparently both in a simplified version of Dance's design. The central space, today's courtyard, was kept free and the Chapel became visible from City Road.
  • View of Epworth Rectory
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, 1905

    Epworth Rectory in Epworth, Lincolnshire, was John Wesley's childhood home. Originally a large thatched building dating to at least the 1600s, the building burnt down in a catastrophic fire in 1709. This almost cost John's life, but his near miraculous escape convinced his mother Susanna that her son was the biblical 'brand pluck'd from the burning' and destined for great things.

    The new rectory was expensive, largely because it was built from brick, which was still unusual in this area at that time. In fact, the cost was almost ruinous for John's father, the Rev. Samuel Wesley (1662-1735), who had notorious money problems and once was thrown into debtors' prison for insolvency.

    In December 1716 the house became the backdrop to one of the best-known 18th century poltergeist claims, the 'Wesley poltergeist'. The house is said to have been plagued by mysterious knockings and loud noises, heard and attested by all the Wesley family (bar the eldest sons, who were studying in London). The haunting was assumed to be a ghost the eldest Wesley daughter Hetty nicknamed "Old Jeffrey". The occurrences ceased as quickly and mysteriously as they started, at the end of January 1717.

    1993/1485
  • Daniel, the Statesman of God
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), c.1930

    One of a series of dramatic oil on canvas studies of the biblical prophets by Frank O. Salisbury. Salisbury's work was illustrated in 'The Prophets of Israel', in 1933.

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    The painting is on long term loan to Wesley's Chapel from the Bible Society.

    See also the other paintings by Frank O. Salisbury in the Online Collection.
  • Two busts of John Wesley
    read more →
    Glazed ceramic
    Inspired by Enoch Wood's model of 1784, Staffordshire, early-mid 19th century

    Examples of John Wesley busts produced around the second quarter of the 19th century (c. 1825-50).

    Compare with earlier Wesley busts in the Collection.
  • Conscientious Objectors
    read more →
    Photographic print
    c. 1950s

    This re-print of a WWII photograph shows Methodist conscientious objectors. In both World Wars, men who objected on moral or religious grounds were known as 'conscientious objectors'. They were expected to do their duty in other ways, often in agriculture, forestry, or mining.

    2009/12167
  • Bust of Donald Oliver Soper, Baron of Kingsway
    read more →
    Metal, wooden plinth
    Sculpture by Ian Homer Walters (1930–2006), 1998

    This bust was sculpted to commemorate the life of Donald Oliver Soper, Baron of Kingsway (1903–1998). Soper was a Methodist minister, pacifist and socialist, who was known for his powerful preaching and wit.

    Ian Homer Walters (1930-2006) was a committed socialist who taught sculpture at Stourbridge College of Art and later at Guildford School of Art. He took part in Josip Broz Tito's public sculpture programmes in Yugoslavia in the 1960s and in the 1970s worked with the African National Congress.

    See also Soper's portable preaching stand and the cartoon of Soper preaching in the Online Collection.
  • John Wesley's Study
    read more →
    Postcard printed on paper
    c.1935-50

    An unusual mid twentieth century postcard view of John Wesley's Study, featuring his bookcase, electrical machine and study chair.
  • Letter from John Wesley to Samuel Bradburn
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    26th February 1780

    In this short and personal letter, John Wesley addresses 'Sammy', or Samuel Bradburn (1751-1816). Bradburn was a Methodist itinerant preacher and friend of Wesley who became one of the greatest and physically most commanding orators of his day.

    Wesley congratulates Bradburn on acting wisely in a matter of personal conflict and tells him of his travel plans to Ireland that year (Wesley was 77 years old).
  • Commemorative Key
    read more →
    Metal
    1895

    Commemorative key, presented to the Rev. J. B. Knipp on June 4th, 1895 at the opening of the Primitive Methodist Book Depot in Aldersgate Street, London

    This key follows the tradition of opening Methodist buildings with an opening ceremony and the presentation of a symbolic key or trowel. But this key is unusual. Even by the standards of the time it is very elaborate, large and the materials costly. The key was made from hallmarked sterling silver gilt, and with 'teeth' in the shape of the initials of the person conducting the opening ceremony ('JBK'). It is perhaps somewhat grand for celebrating the opening of a Book Depot by a Primitive Methodist minister.

    See also the other commemorative keys, trowels and foundation stones in the Online Collection.

    2006/10649
  • Portrait of a young man in gown and bands
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, c.1750-1800

    The identity of the young man in this picture, like that of the artist, is unknown. It is likely he was a young Methodist preacher, possibly within John Wesley's circle. There is a tantalizing similarity to John Cennick, see 1993/1481 in the Collection. It is interesting that the sitter chose to have himself painted in front of a background of gothic church architecture when the fashion would have been for all things classical. This may indicate that he wanted to associate himself with the values of the traditional Church and emphasise the respectability of his faith. Alternatively, the work may have been commissioned as a commemorative portrait.

    We know nothing of the painter but the portrait is of good quality. The colouring suggests the painter was influenced by Old Master paintings; or the client asked for this traditional rendering to emphasise the message he wanted to convey.

    1993/1637
  • John Wesley preaching inside a Pulpit
    read more →
    Glazed ceramic
    statuette, Staffordshire, c. 1800

    Ornaments depicting John Wesley were very popular in the 19th century, often as mantelpiece decorations. This particular one shows Wesley preaching inside a pulpit, a very poignant image which warns against temporal living and reminds of the need to prepare for the hereafter through spiritual devotion.

    Many 'Wesleyana' ceramicware items were made in the potteries in and around Staffordshire, where Methodism was especially strong. Often, the modelling and decoration are quite rough.

    Compare also to the John Wesley Pulpit and Clock statuette in the Collection.
  • An Extract of Mr. Richard Baxter's Aphorisms of Justification
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed by Paramore at the Foundry, London, 1784

    The first edition of this pamphlet Wesley published in 1745 in Newcastle. Like most of Wesley's publications, the pamphlet was reprinted a number of times during his lifetime, indicating there was strong demand for Wesley's writings.

    The 'Extract' paraphrases Richard Baxter's (1615-91) work. Baxter was an English Puritan church leader, poet, theologian and hymnodist. He became a leading Nonconformist and spent time in prison for his views. Baxter argued for the necessity of repentance and faithfulness to attain salvation, not simply faith alone.

    1994/2440
  • Photograph of television recording
    read more →
    Photograph
    1983

    Another image of the recording of Songs of Praise in the Chapel on 10th March 1983. The camera equipment was mounted on a chassis in various locations in the Chapel, so the recording views could be varied. The bulk of the cameras is very obvious in this photograph.
  • Bust of John Wesley
    read more →
    Ceramic, painted
    Staffordshire, c.1800

    Based on Enoch Wood's 1781 model of John Wesley, this bust is well modelled and well painted. Soon after 1800, the quality of Wesley busts started to deteriorate. By the mid 1800s, as Wesley busts were produced in ever larger numbers and got cheaper, they were no longer naturalistic. Some featured Wesley with pink hair, eyeliner and rouged cheeks!

    See also the other ceramic busts of John Wesley in the Online Collection.
  • Ecumenical Conference medal
    read more →
    Metal, silk
    1911

    This medal commemorates the 1911 Ecumenical Methodist Conference, the forerunner of the World Methodist Conference. This took place in Toronto, Canada.

    2006/10669
  • Hymns And Sacred Poems
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Fifth edition, 1756

    In March 1739 the Wesley brothers issued the first in a new series of collected verse. This was titled 'Hymns and Sacred Poems'. It was published under the names of both Wesleys, but the evidence suggests that John was the primary collector of the content and the editor of the work. The work included many contributions from early religious revivalists, such as George Herbert, John Gambold, and also a German Moravian hymnal.

    'Hymns and Sacred Poems' went through five editions by 1756 and was central to early Methodist devotion and worship. This copy, the fifth edition (1756), belonged to John Wesley. The line 'And Hernhuth is the fav'rite name! Wesley annotated: "It was! But how is yr fine Gold become dim?'. By this time, Wesley had left behind his early fascination with the Moravian movement.
  • Record
    read more →
    Vinyl, cardboard
    1932

    This record was recorded at the Royal Albert Hall at the Methodist Union Conference in September 1932.

    1996/5023
  • Shoe buckles
    read more →
    Metal, leather
    late 1700s

    Shoe buckles are a traditional means of securing shoes to the foot. They were particularly widespread in the 1700s and lend themselves to elaborate decorations, such as moulding, engraving and setting with paste or precious stones.

    These steel and leather strap buckles are typical of the type many men and women wore in Wesley's day. We know that Wesley's shoe buckles were even plainer, as one of his pairs of buckled shoes has survived. See also Adam Clarke's shoe and shoe buckle in the Online Collection which, like Wesley's, are plain.

    2007/10868
  • Chair (detail)
    read more →
    Mahogany, horsehair (upholstery)
    c.1760-1770

    This image shows the back of a mahogany armchair in John Wesley's House. Because the intricate back of the chair looks like a ladder, this chair type is also known as a 'ladderback' chair. The ladder back is carved intricately, in the style made fashionable by Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779).

    Although no documentary evidence exists, the chair dates to the 1700s and may have been part of the first furnishings of John Wesley's House. The chair is also pictured in a photograph of John Wesley's monument from the 1870s in the Online Collection. In the photograph, a gentleman holding a top hat leans on the back rest.
  • Statuette
    read more →
    Metal
    1800s

    This small metal statuette of John Wesley with outstretched arm as if giving a blessing might have been used as a small paperweight.

    2006/10598
  • Minutes of Several Conversations between The Rev. John Wesley M.A. and Others, From the Year 1744 to the Year 1789
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed by John Kershaw, 14, City Road, London, 1827

    During John Wesley's lifetime, Wesley had full decision-making power among the Connexion and the annual Conference, over which he presided.

    In 1763, the disciplinary relations of former Conferences were collected and published. Twenty-six years after that date, and just two years before John Wesley's passing, Wesley revised and enlarged this publication. The result was this publication. A copy of this was given to every preacher on admission into 'full connexion'.

    Following Wesley's death, the process started with this publication was formalized in a meeting of Wesley's preachers in 1797. The preachers approved and formalized most of the 'Minutes' and issued them as Connexion-wide rules and legislation governing Wesleyan Methodism.
  • Collection box
    read more →
    Wood, paper
    c. 1880

    This very early wooden collecting box was used in the work of the Wesleyan Missionary Society.

    The Wesleyan Missionary Society (also known as English Wesleyan Mission) was a British Methodist missionary society that was involved in sending workers to countries such as New Zealand, Africa and China in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Monies collected by church members outside of church assisted the endeavours of the society.

    See also the other collection boxes in the Online Collection.
  • Photograph of television recording
    read more →
    Photograph
    1983

    This image shows the recording of Songs of Praise in the Chapel on 10th March 1983. The camera equipment was mounted on a chassis next to the pews and on the balcony. Its bulk made it hard to manoeuvre.
  • Pencil
    read more →
    Wood, graphite
    early 1900s

    Methodism has always been quite strong in North London. The Neasden Methodist Institute no longer exists, but a number of Methodist churches still serve the Neasden area.

    2009/11793
  • Pulpit
    read more →
    Oak and pine, partially painted
    early 18th century

    This pulpit was used by John Wesley at his original London headquarters, the ’Foundery’, originally a government cannon factory which stood close to today’s Wesley’s Chapel. Made from pine and oak it is much simpler than the elegant mahogany pulpit which was given to the ‘New Chapel’ shortly after opening in 1778.
  • New Chapel, City Road
    read more →
    Engraving
    Published by John Hindmarsh, 1779

    This view shows the New Chapel (today’s Wesley’s Chapel) shortly after it was built. Wesley described the Chapel as ‘neat but not fine’. Although changes have been made over the years Wesley would still recognise ‘his’ City Road Chapel today.
  • 'Cockfighting' or reading chair
    read more →
    Walnut and imitation leather (replaced)
    c.1720-30

    This chair, with broad armrests that form a yoke with the back rail and to which a collapsible reading desk is attached, was a library or reading chair. It became known later as a 'cockfighting' chair, because this type of chair was often illustrated in paintings and engravings of cockfights. Cockfights were a very popular - if cruel and bloody - pastime in the 18th century and often took place in the backyards of inns and pubs.

    The seat of the chair is shaped so that the sitter can either sit normally or astride, facing the collapsible desk at the back of the chair. The large armrests made the latter position comfortable. Beneath one armrest is a hidden pen tray; underneath the other there would have been a fold-out brass candlestick, now missing. The desk flap has a compartment for storing paper, and beneath the seat is a drawer for storing documents.

    The chair is an early example of this type. By tradition, it was given to John Wesley by a penitent, former cock-fight-loving man Wesley converted to Methodism. More likely, perhaps, it was a gift from a well-to-do patron.
  • Iohn Wesley
    read more →
    Engraved on paper
    Published by Robert Sayer, Fleet Street, London, 1791

    The full title of this engraving is "Iohn Wesley - That Excellent Minister of the Gospel carried by Angels into Abraham's Bosom.
    Well done, good and faithful Servant: Enter Thou into the Joy of Thy Lord. St Matthew. Ch. 23

    The hand-coloured scene shows Wesley transported by angels to heaven, with a small vignette depicting his Chapel in City Road to the bottom right hand corner.
  • Portrait of Rev. David McNicoll
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    After J. Jackson R.A. (1778-1831), Early 19th century

    As a young man, David McNicoll (c. 1782-1836) showed much promise as a poet and preacher. He was held in high regard by Adam Clarke, in whose family he lived for a while. Later, McNicoll became an assistant in the London (Southwark) circuit (1828-29).
    1993/1477
  • Apse windows
    read more →
    Photograph
    1978

    Two of the three stained glass apse windows in a close-up photograph during restoration works in 1978. The windows were installed in the 1890s, and this was the first time they were cleaned and conserved. The image also shows the architectural mosaic and plaster detail in the apse.

    In Christian churches, the apse is often a semi-circular recess, usually where the altar is placed. Normally, it faces east.
  • Letter from John Wesley to George Merryweather, 1761
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    June 7th, 1761

    In this letter to George Merryweather (c.1743-1817), John Wesley informs the recipient of his changed travel plans.

    Instead of spending two full days and nights in Yarm (Yorkshire), he will only spend the Friday night and preach Friday evening and Saturday at noon. Apparently, there was other business further south at Hutton Rudby, which was, accordingly to Wesley, "nearer the Center (sic) of our Societies".

    John Wesley visited North Yorkshire frequently. He is reputed to have stayed with the Merryweather family in Yarm on nineteen occasions.

    See also the two other letters by John Wesley to George Merryweather in the Online Collection.
  • A Plain Account of Genuine Christianity
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed by John Paramore at the Foundry, London, 1779

    First published in 1753, Wesley's letter or tract asserts “that actual Christian faith and life, not only in apostolic and patristic, but also still in modern times, reflects the supernatural power of God and the miraculous presence of the Holy Spirit.” Christian living is still present in the context of the Christian community, and one of the central tenets of the tract is Wesley's point that the genuine Christian “is full of love to his neighbour.”
  • Portrait of Anna Kull
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by James Smetham (1821-1889), 1857

    Born in Austria, Anna Kull (1841-1923) was probably the best known mid 19th century female Cellist and a child prodigy. She spent much of her youth travelling through Europe on concert tours. Aged 12 she first performed in London (1853), and then visited again in 1857, when this portrait was painted. Her final performance in the English capital took place in 1859. Kull withdrew from public performances in 1860 aged only 19, although she lived to the age of 82.

    James Smetham (1821 – 1889) was an English Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood painter and engraver. He was a follower of Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

    1997/6642
  • View of Savannah, Georgia
    read more →
    Paper
    20th century

    This map of Savannah is based on Fourdrinier's and Peter Gordon's map of Savannah of 1734, the earliest engraved map of the settlement.

    John and Charles Wesley arrived in Savannah in February 1736, but for both it became a disappointing and extremely trying experience. John Wesley returned to England in December 1736, his brother Charles had already sailed home earlier.
  • Map of Moorfields and the Foundery
    read more →
    Paper
    Drawn by R.R. McCullagh, then engraved, 1861

    This 19th century commemorative map is based on one issued by Mr Roquet in 1746. It shows the Moorfields area around the time John Wesley was living and preaching at the Foundery Chapel. The Foundery is located to the right of the map, just above Upper Moor Fields, in Windmill Hill.
  • Busts of John Wesley and George Whitefield
    read more →
    Glazed ceramic
    Sculpted by Enoch Wood (1759-1840), c.1790-1800

    Two busts by Enoch Wood of the two great evangelists of the 18th century, John Wesley and George Whitefield. Both busts are sensitively modelled and expertly-decorated. Note Whitefield's prominent mole and squint; Whitefield was famous for being cross-eyed.

    Compare also to the other Enoch Wood busts of Wesley in the Collection.
  • Pilgrims and Visitors
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1970

    Coaches in front of the Chapel site, as seen in this photograph dating to around 1970, are nothing unusual. Wesley's Chapel, the Museum of Methodism and John Wesley's House are visited by many pilgrims and other visitors every year, many of whom come from abroad and arrive in groups.

    These days, buses are only allowed to drop off visitors outside the Chapel gates, they may no longer park in City Road.

    2017/15343/1
  • Letter from John Wesley to George Merryweather, 1767
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    6th October 1767

    A letter from John Wesley to George Merryweather (c.1743-1817) in Yarm, North Yorkshire.

    Like most of the other letters written by Wesley to Merryweather in the museum's collection, this one also hints at problems with the Society (circuit) at Yarm. It would appear two preachers wanted to change places, and Merryweather was embroiled in the conflict. Wesley advised: "Get out of the fire as soon as you can".

    Interestingly, Wesley opens the letter with a reference to "Mr Whitefield" who at "length meets me halfway". He may be referring to George Whitefield (1714-1770), fellow Holy Club member at Oxford but now leader of the Calvinist arm of Methodism opposed to Wesley's doctrines.

    See also the other letters written by John Wesley to George Merryweather in the Online Collection.
  • The Holy Man (Christ)
    read more →
    Ripolin enamel on board
    Painted by John Reilly (1928-2010), c. 1960

    Reilly attended Kingston-upon-Thames art college between 1949 and 1952. His Christian beliefs formed the basis and inspiration of his work, coupled with a conceptual, modern style.
  • Interior of Wesley's Chapel
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1910-20

    An interior view of the Chapel early in the 20th century. On the first floor gallery to the left and right of the image can be seen two organs. These were installed in the late 19th century; one was a real organ, the other a dummy, installed for symmetry.
  • Two John Wesley memorial plaques
    read more →
    Ceramic, hand-painted
    late 18th/early 19th century

    Two examples of John Wesley memorial plaques issued after Wesley's death in 1791. Many were produced quite cheaply, so they were accessible to most of his followers. Note the letters 'I M' - 'In Memoriam' (In memory of) - on one of the plaques.

    Compare also to the other commemorative plaques of John Wesley in the Collection.
  • Chest of drawers
    read more →
    Mahogany venneer on pine
    c.1780

    A small mahogany veneer chest of drawers, with a first generation (c.1890s), bakelite museum label attached stating it was John Wesley's.

    The chest of drawers is of good quality but plain. Perhaps it was acquired to furnish Wesley's new house in 1779 when he moved in. It certainly looks similar in age and overall plain style to other furniture in the house, notably the mahogany bookcase in Wesley's Study. All original furniture pieces in John Wesley's House recall John Wesley's comment about Wesley's Chapel (then the 'New' Chapel) in 1778: "The Chapel is neat but not fine."

    The chest of drawers is seen in Wesley's bedroom; the bedstead is a modern reproduction.
  • Commemorative mug
    read more →
    Printed ceramic
    c.1839

    This commemorative Wesley mug celebrates the one-hundredth anniversary of the first Wesleyan Methodist society founded in 1739. The mug was decorated in 'lustreware', a type of pottery or porcelain with a metallic glaze.

    Lustreware is produced by metallic oxides in an overglaze finish; the technique is an ancient one, much used in middle eastern pottery.

    Compare also to the commemorative lusterware jug in the online Collection, which features the same decoration.
  • Preaching Bands
    read more →
    Cotton
    1700s

    These preaching bands belonged to Charles Wesley. They are made from fine cotton and bear a first-generation museum label dating to the 1800s.

    Preaching bands are worn around the neck and are fixed with thin ties. Such bands are still worn today as part of clerical (non-liturgical) clothing by the clergy, and also by some members of the legal and academic professions. Preaching bands are a distant cousin of historic neckwear, such as cravats, jabots and ruffs.
  • Amos, the Spokesman of God
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), c.1930

    One of a series of dramatic oil on canvas studies of the biblical prophets by Frank O. Salisbury. Salisbury's work was illustrated in 'The Prophets of Israel', in 1933.

    Frank O. Salisbury (1874 - 1962) was a well-known British Methodist painter and stained-glass designer. Following his studies at the Royal Academy, London (1892–1897) and a scholarship to visit Italy in 1896, he developed a taste for large scenes of pageantry and portraiture, painted in traditional style. He worked particularly in Britain and the United States of America, where he was known as Britain's 'Painter Laureate'.

    The painting is on long term loan to Wesley's Chapel from the Bible Society.

    See also the other paintings by Frank O. Salisbury in the Online Collection.
  • John Wesley's teapot
    read more →
    Transfer printed ceramic
    Possibly made by Josiah Wedgwood, late 18th century

    It is said this teapot was made for John Wesley by Josiah Wedgwood, and there is a story that part of the decoration of the teapot was inspired by one of Mrs Wesley's gowns. The teapot is a large one gallon size and it is possible that it was used by the preachers in Wesley's house during meetings or when debating sermons.

    Ironically, Wesley was no friend of tea, and he published a pamphlet in 1748 criticizing his contemporaries' craze for (unhealthy and expensive) tea drinking.
    See also 'Letter to a Friend, Concerning Tea', in the Collection.
  • Tree trunk
    read more →
    Wood
    c. 1800

    John Wesley preached his last open air sermon in Winchelsea, East Sussex, on October 7th, 1790 under a tree. This trunk was part of this tree.

    See also the framed engraving of Wesley preaching under the tree in the Online Collection.
  • Monument
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.2000

    The photograph shows the marble monument of Lancelot Haslope, Esq. (1767-1838) inside Wesley's Chapel, City Road. Lancelot Haslope was a Justice of the Peace for Middlesex and involved actively in the Wesleyan Missionary Society.

    2019/15956
  • Fountain pen
    read more →
    Metal
    c.1920-30

    This gold fountain pen bears the signature of John Scott Lidgett (1854 –1953). Lidgett was a British Wesleyan Methodist minister and theologian committed to improving education, in particular in London. He became President of the Wesleyan Methodist Conference in 1908-09 and was instrumental in bringing about British Methodist Union in 1932. He served as first President of the newly-united Methodist Conference in 1932-33.
  • The Revd. John Wesley, A.M.
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    William Ridley, after Henry Edridge, 1792

    This engraving of John Wesley was engraved shortly after Wesley's passing in 1791. There was a great demand for commemorative images and mementoes of Wesley, and many engravings and works in ceramic were produced.

    John Wesley's academic title is listed as 'A.M.' in Latin for 'Artium Magister'; today, the title would be 'M.A.' (Master of Arts).
  • Teapot
    read more →
    Ceramic, printed
    c. 1770-90

    A creamware commemorative teapot of John Wesley dating to the late 1700s. Like many commemorative Wesley ceramics of this period, it isn't hand-painted but features a black transfer printed image. These could literally be stuck onto ceramics and then fired on. Transfer prints were quick to produce, cost effective and became very fashionable.

    See also the other commemorative teapots in the Online Collection.
  • Gold ring
    read more →
    Metal
    1800s

    This ring was made from gold dust given by the king of the Ashanti to the missionary Rev. Thomas Birch Freeman during an exchange of gifts in 1841. The king permitted the establishment of the first mission post in the Ashanti capital, Kumasi, and later granted land for a second mission.

    Thomas Birch Freeman (1809-1890) set up schools and agricultural projects in Africa and promoted the anti-slavery cause. Birch Freeman was the son of an African father and an English mother.

    1992/20
  • John Westley (1636-1670)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    late 18th century (ca)

    The Reverend John Wes(t)ley was the paternal grandfather of John and Charles Wesley. A Puritan and Non-Conformist, he was imprisoned for preaching 'illegally' after the restoration of Charles II.

    See also the engraving of John Wes(t)ley based on this portrait in the Online Collection.

    (1993/1635)
  • Miniature painting
    read more →
    Watercolour gouache on board (?)
    early/mid 1800s

    This small painting in its original frame depicts John Wesley. It is typical of many painted of Wesley in the 1800s when Methodist membership and regard for John Wesley were reaching new heights.
  • Collection of photographs of Wesley's Chapel
    read more →
    Photographs
    c. 1920

    An early collection of photographs of Wesley's Chapel and the site, which would have been available to visitors and tourists in the early 20th century.
  • Wesley's Chapel and Courtyard
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1950s

    This black and white photograph of the Chapel shows a prominent cupola, or roof light, on top of the Chapel's roof. This was installed in the 1800s, as a decorative vent for the heat and smoke issuing from the newly-installed Chapel gas lighting.

    The cupola was removed in the 1970s restoration works. Electrical lighting made the vent redundant.

    1995/4138/5
  • Frontispice, 'Letter to a Friend, Concerning Tea.'
    read more →
    Pamphlet printed on paper
    Published by W. Strahan, London, 1748

    John Wesley's 'Letter to a Friend, Concerning Tea' is an attack on fashionable and expensive 18th century tea drinking. It illustrates Wesley's interest in health and personal economy.

    In the pamphlet, Wesley recounts how, nearly three decades earlier, he found himself suffering “Symptoms of a Paralytick Disorder.” Wesley decided it might be his tea intake that was the cause and resolved only cutting out tea altogether provided relief. It also helped save money.

    Wesley had a lifelong interest in health. The year before, in 1747, he had published the “Primitive Physick,” an overall preventive approach to health which included a long list of remedies for specific ailments.
  • Roof on Fire III
    read more →
    Photograph
    1952

    Over the years, there have been a number of fires at Wesley's Chapel. The 1879 fire was particularly bad and caused much damage. However, a fire in 1952 also had the potential to become devastating, had it not been for the fire crew extinguishing the blaze in time. The photograph shows smoke rising from the Chapel roof and the firemen working hard to put out the blaze.

    See also the other images of this fire in the Online Collection.

    1995/2951/1
  • Wesley's Chapel and forecourt
    read more →
    Photograph
    c. 1960-70

    This large, wide-angle presentation photograph shows the Chapel, ancillary buildings and the forecourt prior refurbishment. Atop the chapel roof is a cupola (for ventilation) dating to the 1800s, and the Chapel courtyard still features the Georgian symmetrical driveway Wesley would have known.
  • Reverend Charles Wesley (1707–1788), MA
    read more →
    Oil on Canvas
    Painted by John Russell R.A. (1745-1806), 1771

    The Reverend Charles Wesley, MA was John Wesley's younger brother. He was one of the youngest children of Susanna and Samuel Wesley, their eighteenth child. Like his brother, Charles was ordained into the Anglican Church and later became active in the Methodist movement, However, despite their closeness, the brothers did not always agree on questions relating to their beliefs, in particular whether a breach with the Church of England was permissible or justified. This led to open conflict.

    Charles Wesley is best known for writing about 6,500 hymns and he has sometimes been called the 'sweet singer of Methodism'.

    1997/6656
  • Model of a traditional Fijian boat or 'drua'
    read more →
    Wood
    c.1900

    Wesleyan Methodist missionaries started work in Tonga, Fiji, in 1835 and by the late 19th century had converted most Fijians to Christianity.

    This artefacts marries old traditions with new. Drua boats, also known as Waqa Tabu ("sacred canoe"), were large, traditional, double-hull sailing boats in use in Fiji at the time Christianity arrived. At that time, their main role was as war ships. This boat model has its sail painted with a cross, as a symbol of the peaceful conversion and nature of the Fijians.
  • The Reverend John Wesley, M.A.
    read more →
    Paper, wood
    After miniature painting by J. Barry, engraving published by Dr Whitehead for his 'Life of Mr Wesley' (1792), 1792

    According to the engraving, John Wesley was 87 years old when Wesley's portrait was taken, which gives good indication of the images's original publication date (c.1790/91.) The engraving is based on a miniature painting by J. Barry and was published in 1792. A number of versions of this engraving dating to the 1790s exist and they were used as the basis for portraits illustrated in later Wesleyan hymn books. See also John Mason's 1846 edition of the 'Collection Of Hymns, For The Use Of The People Called Methodists', in the Online Collection.

    The work is in its original frame. The glass is painted in 'verre eglomise', a technique which refers to applying both a design and gilding onto the rear face of glass. This was popularised by the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Glomy (1711-1786).