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.

  • Lantern
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    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
  • 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
  • Chapel vestibule
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    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
  • John Wesley's Tomb
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    Postcard printed on paper
    1965-75

    An early colour postcard of John Wesley's tomb monument. The photograph was taken before the graveyard behind the Chapel was redeveloped.

    2010/12633
  • Foundation Stone Ceremony booklet, Benoni, South Africa
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    Paper, printed
    1925

    This order or service booklet records the foundation stone laying ceremony of the New Wesleyan Methodist Church in Benoni in 1925. The church is still very active today and has since added a mission centre and clinic.

    2015/14498
  • 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
  • Building work
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    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.
  • 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."
  • Portrait of a young woman in a lace bonnet
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    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
  • Wesley's Prayer Closet
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    Photograph
    late 1800s

    This early photograph shows John Wesley's prayer room or closet on the first floor of Wesley's house in around 1890. The image shows the room probably just after the house ceased to be used as a manse and before the rooms became a dedicated museum.

    Compare also with the postcard of this room dating to around 1980, 2011/13021, in the Online Collection.

    1994/2935
  • Charles Wesley's bureau bookcase
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    Walnut veneer on oak and pine carcase
    c. 1740-50

    This bureau bookcase belonged to Charles Wesley and dates to the middle of the 18th century. Although first resident in Bristol, Charles and his family moved to Marylebone in London in the early 1770s. It is likely, therefore, that the bureau was made or acquired for the Bristol house and was later moved to London. This might also explain why the bureau, which is of good quality, is still veneered in walnut, rather than the expensive mahogany imported from the West Indies and then newly-fashionable in London.

    The bureau was one of the early exhibits at John Wesley's House and its original label is still attached.
  • Apse windows
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    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.
  • 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
  • John Wesley's Study
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    Postcard printed on paper
    c.1900

    An early postcard view of John Wesley's Study, with Wesley's bookcase to the left. Note the decorative arrangement of Church pewter collection plates above the door, and Susanna Wesley's tombstone to the left of the bookcase. Susanna's tombstone was replaced a number of times over the years as the stone and wording began to disintegrate.

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

    2014/14268
  • A Sermon, Preached November 23, 1777
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    Printed on paper
    Printed by J. Fry and Co. at the Foundery, London, 1777

    The pamphlet reproduces the text of a sermon John Wesley gave before the Humane Society at Lewisham Church in the autumn of 1777.

    2015/14628
  • Courtyard works
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    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.
  • The Vestibule
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    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.
  • Graveyard and John Wesley's Tomb
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    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
  • Foundery Chapel
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    Photograph
    1990

    An image of the small 'Foundery Chapel' at Wesley's Chapel. It was named after John Wesley's 'Foundery', which once stood close-by in Tabernacle Street.

    The room was added to the Chapel complex in the 1890s, together with large ladies and gents' lavatories and a new entrance to the garden of Wesley's Chapel.

    2008/11646
  • The Ordination of Francis Asbury
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    Engraving on paper
    late 18th century

    Francis Asbury (1745-1816) was born in Staffordshire, brought up a Methodist and ordained a travelling preacher by Wesley. He went to the Americas in 1771 to minister to the growing number of Methodists there.

    In 1784 in a controversial move, John Wesley ordained Englishman Thomas Coke as Wesley's American superintendent. Coke, in turn, ordained Asbury at the Baltimore "Christmas Conference" of 1784 as Co-Superintendent, or Bishop. This gave birth to the American Methodist Episcopal Church and ultimately split American Methodism from the Anglican Church and the Methodist Church in England.

    See also Charles Wesley's ditty on the occasion of Coke's controversial ordination of Asbury in the Collection.
  • Mr Jonathan Crowther
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    Engraving on paper
    Jackson Pinxt., Hall Sculpt., late 1700s

    Engraving of the Reverend Jonathan Crowther (1759-1824). Crowther was a Wesleyan itinerant minister, and he became known for writing a number of early books on Methodism, which included 'The Methodist Manual' (1810), 'Portraiture of Methodism' (1811), and a book about Thomas Coke (1815).

    His somewhat more technical 'Thoughts upon the Finances of the Methodist Connexion' (1817) criticised Methodism's debt burden, much of which being, he thought, the result of chapel building activity and having to look after so many Methodist missions and circuits.

    Crowther was elected President of the Conference in 1819.

    1992/461
  • Wesley's Tree, Winchelsea, Sussex
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    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.
  • Reverend Thomas Allen
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    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
  • Record
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    Vinyl, cardboard
    1932

    This record was recorded at the Royal Albert Hall at the Methodist Union Conference in September 1932.

    1996/5023
  • The Stations of the Preachers in the Connexion
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    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
  • Teapot
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    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.
  • Card
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    Printed on paper
    1896

    Invitation card for the annual gathering of the Aldershot and Farnham circuit. The event lasted through the afternoon and early evening.

    Curiously, the services and the gathering was held on a Wednesday, when working people were at work, rather than a Sunday. In the days of very large Wesleyan Methodist Church membership this may have been a way of controlling potential crowds.

    2000/7894
  • 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
  • Inkstand
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    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
  • Gospel Temperance Union medal
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    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
  • Brochure
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    Printed on paper
    1925

    A brochure commemorating the Caroline Street and Park Lane United Methodist Church bazaar in November 1925. The bazaar's theme was 'Sunny Spain'.

    Themed bazaars - usually indoor markets, with stalls dressed up in accordance with a theme - were very popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They were a traditional and important means of raising money for the church. In the 1920s, Caroline Street and Park Lane United Methodist Church held annual bazaars, the theme of the bazaar in 1926 being 'Little Switzerland'.

    See also brochure 2010/12743 in the Online Collection.

    2010/12743/1
  • Wesley's Chapel and Forecourt
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    Photograph
    c.1960

    A large black and white photograph of Wesley's Chapel and forecourt dating to c. 1960. On the plinth of John Wesley's statue are advertised the weekly services, led by Reverend Ronald Spivey.

    2009/12098
  • 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.
  • Primitive Methodist Centenary Celebration Programme
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    Paper, printed
    1907

    The Primitive Methodist Church, also referred to as 'Prims', existed in the United Kingdom within the Methodist tradition, but was formed only in 1807. The Church was established in a spirit of revivalism by its leaders, the Wesleyan Methodists Hugh Bourne (1772–1852) and William Clowes (1780–1851). This programme commemorates the centenary of the Church in 1907.

    In the UK, the 'Prims' merged with the Wesleyan branch of the Methodist Church and the Wesleyan New Connexion in 1932. In the US the denomination, although small, still exists.

    See also the Society Rules booklet 2003/9255 in the Online Collection.

    2005/10309
  • Crypt Refurbishment IV
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    Photograph
    late 1970s

    This 1970s photograph shows the Chapel crypt. Works to stabilize the Chapel foundations are almost complete.
    Shortly after, this space was redesigned to house The Museum of Methodism.

    See also the other images of the crypt refurbishment in the Online Collection.

    2019/15997
  • Manse at Wesley's Chapel
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    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.
  • Letter from William Wilberforce to Robert Carr Brackenbury
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    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.
  • Flyer
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    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.

    2004/9759
  • Horn pipe
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    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.
  • Chapel Roof on Fire
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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.

    1995/2951/4
  • The Methodist Church Active Service Booklets
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    Printed on paper
    1939-45

    These small booklets in a cardboard sleeve and entitled 'The Methodist Church - On Active Service for God and King' were issued to soldiers serving in WWII. One volume contained hymns and prayers, the other was entitled 'My Faith'. The booklets were intended to help boost morale and strengthen the soldiers' courage and belief in times of extreme physical and emotional hardship.

    2013/13754/1-3
  • Office Building Construction III
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    Photograph
    April 1983

    The office block covering part of the former graveyard at Wesley's Chapel under construction. The foundations are laid; John Wesley's tomb and monument are boxed-in.

    See also photographs 2012/13494 and 2012/13495 of the construction process in the Online Collection.

    2012/13500/3
  • Medal
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    Metal, silk
    late 1800s

    A Band of Hope commemorative medal from the late 19th century. The Band of Hope encouraged young people (in particular) to "sign the pledge" that they would "abstain from all intoxicating liquors".

    See also the other medals relating to the Band of Hope and temperance in the Online Collection.
  • John Wesley Attending a Deathbed
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    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.
  • Model of Chapel site
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    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.
  • 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
  • Piece of 'Wesley's Tree', West Sussex
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    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
  • Preacher Thomas Dobson
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    Engraving on paper
    Ridley sculpt., 1799

    Little is known of the preacher Thomas Dobson. In the late 1799, he was thirty years of age and there are indications that he was a Methodist preacher in the area around St Bartholomews-the-Great, close to London Wall.

    1992/194
  • John Wesley's bureau bookcase
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    Walnut veneer on oak and pine carcase
    c.1715-30

    This bureau, with a mirrored bookcase above, was John Wesley's. It was made early in the 18th century, unlike most of the furniture in John Wesley's House. Wesley probably already owned this piece when he moved into this house in 1779. It is possible the bureau was a family piece, a gift, or purchased second hand sometime in the mid 18th century.

    The bureau is of excellent quality, veneered in walnut, with an elaborate interior and a number of secret compartments. These compartments proved very useful one night in the 1780s, when Wesley's House was broken into but the thieves did not discover numerous gold coins hidden in one of them!

    The elaborately-bevelled mirrors in the upper doors and the three vase finials are Victorian replacements.
  • Letter from Susanna Wesley to her son John
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    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'.
  • A Collection Of Hymns, For The Use Of The People Called Methodists
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    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.
  • Christmas Card
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    1935

    A Christmas card sent by the Rev. Fred Roberts and his wife in 1935 from Newark, Notts. The card depicts Adam Acton's statue of John Wesley at City Road and is typical of the type of Christmas card sent out by Methodist ministers at the time.

    Compare also with 2007/10939/1 in the Online Collection, a Christmas card sent the following year by a relative, possibly the son of Rev. Roberts.

    2007/10939/3
  • Preachers Room
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    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'.
  • 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.
  • Moses, the Friend of God
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    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.
  • Organ installation
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    Photograph
    1930s

    The image shows the organ at Wesley's Chapel whilst in the process of 'voicing'. The voicing of an organ is a very important part of the work, turning the pipes and the keyboard into the musical instrument.

    The picture was probably taken in the mid 1930s, when the present organ was installed in the Chapel.
  • Reverend John Mason (? - 1864)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Painted by William Gush (1813–1888), c.1850

    John Mason served as Book Steward of the Book Room, the Methodist Publishing House in City Road, for thirty-seven years. With good financial acumen and business sense, he cleared many of the Book Room's debts and put the business onto a much sounder footing. Earlier in his career, he had served as a Foreign Missions Secretary. Also compare this painting to 1999/6633, listed in the Collection register as a 'portrait of an unknown young man'. Painted around thirty years earlier, the similarity of the sitter is striking.

    William Gush was a well-known Victorian artist. He exhibited 53 pictures at the Royal Academy and the National Portrait Gallery in London owns many of his works.

    1993/1513
  • 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.
  • Two busts of John Wesley
    read more →
    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.
  • Explanatory Notes Upon The Old Testament
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    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'.
  • Mug, Muswell Hill Methodist Church
    read more →
    Ceramic
    1985

    The Muswell Hill Methodist Church illustrates the early mobile nature of many Methodist groups. Founded in 1891, the group met initially in a 'Norwegian Chalet' left over from the Alexandra Palace exhibition in London. In 1899, it built a large church and Sunday school hall. Its latest chapel, built in 1985, is seen alongside the earlier buildings on this mug.

    1996/4870
  • 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
  • Set of scripture playing cards
    read more →
    Paper, leather
    1786

    This early set of scripture playing cards is in its original leather case. Scripture playing cards were used as a form of religious entertainment. Chosen at random, each card featured a different verse from the Bible and might provide the answer to a question or problem. As such, the game was a form of superstition, and John Wesley signalled his disapproval.

    For further examples of such cards, see the Online Collection.

    For further examples of such games, see the Online Collection.

    1994/2754/1&2
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Commemorative Cover
    read more →
    Paper, printed; ink
    1978

    This commemorative cover celebrates the bicentenary and re-opening of Wesley's Chapel, City Road after refurbishment on 1st November, 1978.

    The cover was issued by the Methodist Philatelic Society. Its function is to encourage the study of philately associated with Methodism.

    1997/6386/1
  • 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
  • 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
  • A Calm Address To Our American Colonies
    read more →
    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.
  • 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
  • Ezekiel, the Priest-Prophet 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 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
  • Communion cup in travelling case
    read more →
    Copper alloy, leather
    early to mid 18th century

    This communion cup with its leather travelling case is reputed to have been John Wesley's. Originally it would have been plated, but the plating has worn off. The travelling case would have kept the cup safe from damage and unnecessary wear. The decorative shape of the cup and the elaborate tooling of the leather case indicate quality, but not luxury.
  • 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".
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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's House Interior
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1994

    The photograph shows a third floor room in John Wesley's House during refurbishment in the 1990s. Today, this room is the Curator's office, but it may once have accommodated visiting preachers or, more likely, Wesley's housekeeper and her family.

    The woodwork is largely original to the room, and the patches of green paint may be the original wall colour.

    2019/16000
  • Cream jug
    read more →
    Ceramic, glazed
    c. 1780-1800

    A late 18th century creamware commemorative milk jug of John Wesley featuring a black transfer print.

    See also the other commemorative creamware items in the Online 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Miniature
    read more →
    Watercolour guache, cardboard, leather
    1800s

    This miniature of John Wesley is in its original leather travelling case. It dates to the mid 1800s and was painted after the portrait of Wesley by George Romney. The painting is typical of many 19th century commemorative portraits of Wesley and a good example of 'Wesleyana', or Wesley commemorative ware. The artist, 'Lewis', has not as yet been identified.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Mr Henry Moore
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    late 1700s

    Henry Moore (1751-1844) was a contemporary of John Wesley and is perhaps best known as one of Wesley's three literary executors. Moore was converted to Methodism in 1777 and he became a local preacher and opened a school. He met Wesley in 1779, who appointed him as an itinerant preacher; later, in 1785-86, Moore was in London as Wesley's travelling companion. In 1789 Wesley ordained Moore and he was present when Wesley died in 1791.

    Moore, as one of Wesley's literary executors, became involved in the controversy with Dr John Whitehead and Thomas Coke over Wesley's papers. He and Coke prepared hastily a Wesley biography (1792), trying to beat Dr Whitehead - whose biography of Wesley followed a few years later. Moore's and Coke's work may have been the more 'official' (and possibly more flattering) biography of Wesley.

    Moore was elected President of Conference's twice, in 1804 and 1823, although his relationship with that body was sometimes fraught with difficulties and a number of disputes occurred. Moore also served as minister at Wesley's Chapel in the early 1800s and was buried in the Chapel's graveyard in 1844.

    1992/184
  • 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
  • Fundraising Brochures
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    1970s

    Three fundraising brochures relating to the great refurbishment of Wesley's Chapel in the 1970s. By the early 1970s, the Chapel was in a very decayed state and a full refurbishment programme, including underpinning, was required. With help of publicity material such as these brochures, sufficient funds were raised and the work eventually carried out. The Chapel re-opened on Nov. 1st, 1978.

    See also the photographs and other items relating to the refurbishment works in the Online Collection.

    2004/4913
    2005/9955
    2014/14118
  • Crypt Refurbishment III
    read more →
    Photograph
    1975

    This 1970s black and white photograph shows new - if muddy - stairs leading down to the Chapel crypt during works to stabilize the foundations.
    In the 1980s, this space was redesigned to house The Museum of Methodism.

    See also the other images of the crypt refurbishment in the Online Collection.

    2003/8976
  • Window fragment
    read more →
    Wood, glass
    late 18th century

    On 6th December 1879 a large fire burnt down the Morning Chapel and part of the main sanctuary at Wesley's Chapel. All windows on one side of the building were destroyed, as was the ornate Chapel ceiling and parts of the gallery. Later, the remaining Chapel windows were re-glazed with stained and patterned glass.

    This window fragment removed after the fire is all that remains of the original Chapel windows.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • 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.
  • Reverend Richard Watson
    read more →
    Lithograph on paper
    mid 1800s

    This engraving shows the Reverend Richard Watson. 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 publication 'Theological Institutes' (1831), in which he tried to bring John Wesley's theology into a coherent system.

    See also the oil painting of Richard Watson in the Online Collection, 1993/1480.

    1992/199
  • William Moore
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    Engraving, Early 1800s

    This engraving shows William Moore, minister of Bethesda Chapel in Truro, Cornwall in the early 1800s.

    1992/200
  • Letter from John Wesley to Robert Carr Brackenbury, 1783
    read more →
    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'.
  • Cockfighting Chair
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1935-50

    A photograph from the early to mid 1900s showing the 'cockfighting', or study, chair, in John Wesley's Study.

    With broad armrests that form a yoke with the back rail and to which a collapsible reading desk is attached, this type of chair became known as a 'cockfighting' chair, because it was often illustrated in paintings and engravings of 18th century cockfights. Cockfights were a popular - if cruel and bloody - pastime in the 1700s and often took place in the backyards of inns and pubs.

    See also the other images of Wesley's Study and this chair in the Online Collection.
  • Bomb Damage
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1945

    The black and white photograph shows bomb damage next to the manse at Wesley's Chapel during WWII. The area around the Chapel in City Road was bombed heavily, but the Chapel and ancillary buildings survived virtually intact.

    1995/2955
  • Ticket
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    1898

    John Wesley's House was opened to the public as a historic house museum in 1898. Originally, the three rooms on the first floor only (Wesley's rooms) were dedicated to the museum.

    This is a reserve seat ticket, which admitted "its holder to a seat in the Body of the Chapel, or front seats in the Gallery, at any service in connection" with the opening of Wesley's House. Four days of services were dedicated to the opening ceremonies.

    The ticket cost 1 guinea, which was a great deal of money in 1898, especially when considering that admission to the services for the public was free of charge. Likely, the money raised was earmarked to help defray the costs of preparing Wesley's House for opening.

    2008/11704
  • Wesley memorabilia display
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1910-30

    An early 20th century photograph showing a John Wesley House display case with Wesley memorabilia. These include Wesley's glasses, his night cap and his mother's needle case.
  • 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.
  • 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 but not necessarily Methodist, 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.

    This particular statuette has very distinctive facial features and may be a portrait painted from life.

    See also one other vertebra preacher - possibly a depiction of John Wesley - in the Online Collection.
  • A Collection of Hymns, for the use of the People called Methodists
    read more →
    Frontispiece
    1780

    The ‘Collection of Hymns’ was the first comprehensive Methodist hymn collection published during John Wesley’s lifetime and the ancestor of all Methodist hymnals.
  • Donald Soper Memorial
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.2000

    Photograph of the bust commemorating 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. The bust was installed at the Chapel around 2000.

    See also other images of this bust, Soper's portable preaching stand and the cartoon of Soper preaching in the Online Collection.

    2016/15138/1
  • Pair of Chalices
    read more →
    Metal
    early 1700s

    These silver chalices were donated by Peter Fenowillet, a Huguenot. They were originally used in West Street Chapel, London, built for French Protestant Huguenot refugees. John Wesley rented the Chapel for Methodist meetings in 1743.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Commemorative trowel
    read more →
    Metal, bone
    1903

    This elaborately engraved trowel was presented to Mr R. Oldham on his laying a memorial stone of the Wesleyan Sunday School New Town on May 16th, 1903.

    See also the other memorial trowels and stones in the Online Collection.
  • 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
  • Letter
    read more →
    Paper
    1958

    Letter informing the Friends of the Radnor Street Wesleyan Sunday Schools and Mission of the closure of its Radnor Street premises.

    The Schools and Mission had operated since 1798 and they were the oldest dedicated Wesleyan Methodist Sunday school and Mission premises in London. Following compulsory purchase of the Radnor Street building, the school was transferred to nearby Wesley's Chapel, City Road.

    2006/10757
  • Portrait of John Cennick
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, late 18th or 19th century

    Cennick was an Evangelist and hymnwriter. Born in 1718, he was raised in a strict Anglican home but was only converted to religion in 1737, after a youthful bout of rebellion. Concerned with his spiritual life and having heard of Wesley's 'Holy Club' at Oxford, he travelled to Oxford and met both John Wesley and George Whitefield. For a while, he assisted with the Kingswood School Whitefield and Wesley had set up in Bristol, but soon found himself drawn to open air preaching with Wesley's encouragement.

    Unfortunately, he and Wesley fell out over the role of Christian Perfection and Wesley's doctrine of Arminianism within the new movement. Cennick was suspended from the Kingswood Society in 1741. This brought Cennick closer to Whitefield, and soon after he became his assistant and had pastoral charge of the 'Tabernacle', Whitefield's new church in London, whenever Whitefield was away. Cennick also conducted a campaign of evangelisation in north Wiltshire, and built up a network of societies there.

    By the mid 1740s, increasingly displeased with the Calvinist strand within Whitefield's Methodist movement, Cennick decided join the Moravian Church instead. He spent some time travelling in Europe and visited the Moravian headquarters at Herrnhut, after which he went to Ireland. There, he started dozens of societies and was ordained a Moravian deacon in 1749.

    Cennick died early, in 1755, in London.

    A number of similar portraits of Cennick exist; none is of high quality. It is likely they were all copied from a better portrait, possibly now lost.

    1993/1481
  • The Revd. Thomas Coke L.L.D.
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Published by G. Whitfield, City Road, 1801 (?)

    Engraving of Thomas Coke (1747-1814). Coke 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.

    See also the miniature painting of Thomas Coke in the Online Collection, 1992/12.

    1992/585
  • 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.
  • Portrait of an unknown young man
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unidentified artist, c. 1820

    This portrait is listed in the Collection register as an 'unknown young man'. Likely, it is Reverend John Mason; the similarity between the sitter and Mason is striking (compare 1993/1513). Mason became Book Steward at the Book Room, the Methodist Publishing House in City Road, in 1827. For further information about him, refer to 1993/1513.

    1997/6633
  • 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
  • Jonah, the Messenger 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.
  • Pagoda
    read more →
    Metal, silver plated
    c. 1920s

    This silver plate pagoda was a retirement present. It was given by the missionaries of the United Methodist Church in China to the Rev. J.E. Swallow in 1926. Little is known about him; he was one of many hundreds of Methodist missionaries who worked in China in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • 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.
  • Medal
    read more →
    Metal, silk
    late 1800s

    A Wesleyan Sunday School medal awarded for regular attendance.

    See also the other Sunday School medals in the Online Collection.
  • John Wesley Preaching from His Father's Tomb
    read more →
    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
  • Second Isaiah: The Forerunner of God's Great Day
    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.
  • 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
    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
  • 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.
  • Pew Rent Receipts
    read more →
    Cardboard, printed
    1861-1872

    Four pew rent receipts dated between 1861 and 1872.

    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.

    These receipts are particularly interesting, as they chronicle a significant change in the appearance of Wesley's Chapel.

    The receipts for 1861 and 1862 show a plain brick building, virtually identical to the one John Wesley would have known. However, the 1871 receipt shows new stone dressings on the brickwork, including stone pilasters, quoining, window surrounds and a columned parapet balustrade.

    It is likely these additions were made following a significant fire at the Chapel in 1864, when also much of the chapel interior was redone. In the 1860s, 'Italianate' style, in particular in architecture, was admired and fashionable, which explains the choice of the new elements.

    Compare also the pew rent receipt dating to 1804/09 in the Online Collection.

    2004/9717/1-2
    2004/9739/1-2
  • Radnor Hall
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1900

    This early black and white view shows today's 'Radnor Hall', a large room adjacent to Wesley's Chapel.

    When this photograph was taken around 1900, this room was still known as the 'Morning Chapel', and the doors in the end wall led to the vestry (now demolished). Church gatherings and Sunday School would have taken place in this room. The Radnor Hall is still used for gatherings of all kinds, including church and other meetings, and child creche facilities.

    1992/349/2
  • Sailors at a Methodist Sermon
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    1807

    Satirical engraving by George Murgatroyd Woodward (1765-1809) entitled ‘Sailors at a Methodist Sermon’. The print was published by Walker in the Strand in 1807.

    Woodward was an English humorous writer and caricaturist. He issued many similar engravings satirising Methodism, the established Church, the law and the state in the early 1800s. His drawings were nearly all etched by others, in particular Thomas Rowlandson, but also Charles Williams, Isaac Cruikshank, Piercy Roberts and others.

    2014/14256
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Chapel Postcard
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    c.1901-04

    An early postcard showing the interior of Wesley's Chapel. The postcard was part of a series showing different views of the Chapel and site published by the Methodist Publishing House in the early 1900s.

    2019/15991
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Meeting Plan
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    1794

    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 meeting plan is a very early handwritten example showing arrangements for the months between October 1794 and March 1795. It is very interesting that only women's names are listed. Women were accepted and welcome to lead prayer meetings within Methodism. This particular class was led by a women and was a women-only meeting. Sadly, we do not know the name of the chapel or meeting place for which this plan was drawn up.

    For very similar, early class meeting plans, see 1992/86 and 1996/5137 in the Online Collection.

    1996/5143
  • 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.
  • Martha Hall Commemorative Plaque
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1950s

    Black and white photograph of Martha Hall's memorial plaque on John Wesley's monument at Wesley's Chapel, City Road.

    Martha Hall, nee Wesley (1706-1791) was John Wesley's younger sister. She was married to Wes(t)ley Hall, a clergyman, in 1735 and they had 10 children, none of whom reached adulthood. Wes(t)ley was unfaithful to Martha and had many mistresses, eventually running off to the West Indies and leaving Martha behind.

    In later life, Martha pursued a lively social life in London, her acquaintances including Dr Samuel Johnson (1709-1784). She died four months after John in 1791 and was buried beside him in the same crypt.

    2010/12449
  • 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.
  • George Whit(e)field
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Warren sculpt., published by Longman, Hurst, late 1700s

    Engraving of George Whit(e)field (1714-1770). The seventh child of Thomas and Elizabeth Whitefield, George Whitefield was left with a squint by a bout of childhood measles. This resulted in the nickname 'Dr Squintum' in later life, among those who didn't like Whitefield. His squint is visible in this engraving.

    At Oxford, Whitefield met the Wesley brothers 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 Wesley brothers, 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 Online Collection for further information on Whitefield's relationship with the Wesley brothers, as well as the oil painting of Whitefield, 2011/12897, and various engravings, including 1993/1405 and 1993/1409.

    2014/14206
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • The Revd. Charles Wesley, M.A.
    read more →
    Engraving
    Engraved by J, Cochran, after the painting by William Gush, 19th century

    A posthumous depiction of Charles Wesley (1707-1788), John Wesley's younger brother.

    For further information on Charles Wesley refer to online Collection object 1997/6656, 'Reverend Charles Wesley MA', by John Russell.
  • 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.
  • Wesley's belongings
    read more →
    Various
    1770-90

    These items belonged to John Wesley. They include a travel case, his glasses, cufflinks, an indoor hat (worn either whilst studying or in bed), and books.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • '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.
  • 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
  • Thoughts on the Imputed Righteousness of Christ
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed by W. Strahan, London, 1762

    The work poses and answers key questions relating to man's salvation through Jesus Christ.

    1994/2441
  • 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
  • John Wesley Blue Plaque
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1990

    A photograph of the 'blue' plaque fixed to John Wesley's House. The plaque was made by Royal Doulton and installed by the London County Council ('LCC') in the interwar years (1919-1939).

    Blue plaques are permanent markers installed on a public building or in a public place in Britain, and specifically in London. They commemorate links between historic places or buildings, and the people who lived or worked in them. The London scheme was launched in 1866 and has since been administered by the Society of Arts (1866-1901), the London County Council (1901-1965), the Greater London Council (1965-1985) and English Heritage (1986 to date).

    2011/12971
  • 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.
  • Wesley's Chapel
    read more →
    Etching on paper
    c.1980-90

    This etching of Wesley's Chapel was made in the late 1900s. An etching is a type of print which involves a cut, often metal, plate being inked and pressed onto paper. This leaves an imprint of the plate design and can be repeated many times to manufacture a number of almost identical prints.

    This etching was made by Bill Diggins and it is number 9 of a run of 150.

    1996/6009
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Chapel Roof on Fire II
    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.

    1995/2951/2
  • Monument to John Wesley
    read more →
    Photograph
    1990

    A black and white photograph of the marble monument inside Wesley's Chapel commemorating its founder, John Wesley. The monument features symbolic carvings, including a trumpet and a globe.

    2008/11657
  • 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.
  • Revd. John Hannah
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Engraved by J. Thomson, after painting by Paradise, c. 1840-50

    Engraving of Revd. John Hannah (1792-1867), with a facsimile signature beneath.

    Hannah, a Wesleyan Methodist minister, was especially interested in overseas mission work. He was an intellectual and excellent public speaker, gaining an MA and a doctorate. Hannah was appointed as Tutor of Theology at the Theological institution in Hoxton by the Wesleyan Conference in 1834. Later, he became Chairman of the Manchester and Bolton District and Conference Secretary; in 1842 and 1851, he was elected President of the Conference.

    1992/441
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Roundel
    read more →
    Glass, wood, paper
    late 1700s

    This small framed roundel contains a piece of glass into which is scratched:

    "God is Love
    Samuel Bradburn, 16 September 1774"

    A piece of paper on the back of the roundel explains that Samuel Bradburn scratched the motto, name and date into this piece of window glass at Chaston-on-the-Hill Methodist Chapel in the first year of his itinerant preaching ministry, in 1774.

    Bradburn (1751-1816) was one of John Wesley's preachers and closely connected with John Fletcher of Madeley.

    1994/2793
  • 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.
  • A Call to Backsliders: A Sermon on Psalm lxxvii. 7,8
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed by R.Hawes, London, 1778

    Wesley's sermon on 'backsliding' gives hope to those who 'fall away' from Christianity or lapse in their beliefs and fall into sin.

    Wesley accepted that Christians could lose their salvation, although he believed this did not usually come about as one single act but more usually through profound and prolonged sinful behaviour. However, he also believed that man was not beyond redemption. Indeed, he claimed to have seen thousands of instances where those fallen away from faith had reclaimed it by amending their ways.

    2015/14625
  • 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.'
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Picture
    read more →
    Glass, paint (image); wood (frame)
    c.1800

    This unusual small silhouette image of John Wesley is painted onto glass and dates to the early 1800s. It is painted in 'verre églomisé', a French term referring to the process of applying both a design and gilding onto the rear face of glass. It is in its original solid mahogany frame.


    1993/1599
  • Methodist Accounts
    read more →
    Paper; ink
    late 1700s

    Handwritten accounts sheet accounting for monies brought in by Methodist preachers and class leaders through classes, ticket sales and similar.

    Sadly, there is no information as to the exact date of the accounts or to which circuit(s) they belonged.

    2005/9957/4
  • Bill of exchange
    read more →
    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.
  • 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
  • Cartoon
    read more →
    Ink on paper, gouache
    circa late 1970s

    A cartoon depicting the Reverend Donald Oliver, Baron Soper (1903-1988) and entitled 'Humble Tribute to a Remarkable Ministry'.

    Soper is depicted in his preaching stand at London's Speaker's Corner at Hyde Park, where he could be heard preaching regularly for many years.

    For further information, see also Soper's metal preaching stand in the Online Collection.
  • Pulpit
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1900

    A view of the pulpit in Wesley's Chapel dating to about 1900.
  • 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.
  • Hymn Sheet
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    1810

    Hymn sheet for two services held at Wesley's Chapel on Sunday 17th June, 1810. The hymns were sung by the 'Children of the Methodists' Charity Schools'.

    The hymn sheet acts as an advertisement for the charity schools, in that it explains their function and achievements; it also includes a call for further financial support. At a time when there was no state assistance, charity ventures such as these made a big difference to poorer peoples' lives, and they were an important part of Methodism's social activism.

    2003/9272
  • 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
  • Set of trenchers
    read more →
    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.
  • Conversion Window
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1950

    If one looks up to the gallery on the north side of Wesley's Chapel, one can see the 1920s 'Conversion Window'. It shows John Wesley and his brother Charles  singing  Charles’   ‘conversion’  hymn,   ‘Where  shall  my   wondering  soul  begin?’   The window commemorates the conversion experiences of the Wesleys which took place in the Aldersgate area of London in 1738.

    This black and white photograph of the window dates to around 1950.





    A black and white photograph of the 'Conversion' window
  • Rev. Peard Dickinson, A.M.
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    c. 1800

    Engraving of the 33 year-old Revd. Peard Dickinson (1758-1802).

    Originally from Devon, Dickinson went to St Edmund Hall, Oxford, in 1779 and shortly after to Hertford College. By that time, he was already a Methodist, having been converted in his teens by the wife of his first employer.

    Dickinson spent his university holidays in London, where John Wesley took him visiting the sick and needy. Wesley called him a 'very pious and sensible young man'. Dickinson was ordained deacon in 1783 and was asked by John Wesley to assist him at Wesley's Chapel, City Road, in 1786.

    1996/5883
  • The Chapel complex, 1821
    read more →
    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.
  • Note of Theft
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Engraving, c.1920

    This reprint of a note dating to 1777 illustrates that thefts from building sites were just as common in Georgian times as they are today! The 10 guinea reward offered for the return of the tools was a great deal of money; sadly, we do not know whether the tools were ever returned.

    The original note was found under wooden panelling inside the Morning Chapel (today's Radnor Hall) in 1864.

    1995/4973/1
  • Portrait bust of John Wesley
    read more →
    Parianware (ceramic)
    Probably by John Adams & Co, c.1870-1900, after L.F. Roubiliac

    This bust of Wesley is based on a marble bust modelled by Louis-François Roubiliac (1702-1762), a talented French sculptor who worked in London in the mid -18th century. The original is thought to have been worked around 1750-60, and Wesley is notably younger in this portrayal than in Enoch Wood's bust of 1781.

    Wesley was an admirer of Roubiliac's work, referring to the artist's monument of Lady Elizabeth and Joseph Nightingale in Westminster Abbey as the finest in the Abbey, 'as if the marble could speak'.

    See also Enoch Wood's bust of John Wesley in the online Collection.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sunday School Certificate
    read more →
    Printed on paper; ink
    1903

    This rather grand-looking Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School Union certificate was awarded to 11 year-old Lily Hughes for passing 2nd class in the subject 'Missionary Life of St Paul's...First Catechism and Ten Commandments". Such certificates and other prizes were important milestones in every student's Sunday School career, and they would have been taken home and displayed with pride.

    2006/10688
  • Jeremiah, the Mediator 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.
  • Meeting Plan
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    1793

    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 meeting plan is a very early handwritten example showing arrangements for the months between June and October 1793. It is very interesting that only women's names are listed. Women were accepted and welcome to lead prayer meetings within Methodism. This particular group was led by a women and was a women-only meeting. Sadly, we do not know the name of the chapel or meeting place for which this plan was drawn up.

    For very similar, early class meeting plans, see 1996/5143 and 1992/86 in the Online Collection.

    1996/5137
  • Wesley's Chapel from Bunhill Fields
    read more →
    Etched on paper
    Etching, c.2000

    An etching of the exterior of Wesley's Chapel, seen from Bunhill Fields graveyard. John Wesley's House is to the right of the Chapel, the manse to the left.

    The work was done by David Carr in about 2000. This one is no. 5 of a series of twenty. Carr carried out a series of etchings and painting of the Chapel around this time.

    See also the other works by the artist in the Online Collection, including 2014/14361.

    2014/14359
  • 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.
  • Hymn Sheet
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    1834

    This hymn sheet commemorates the opening of the New Wesleyan Chapel on the High Street in West Bromwich in August 1834. The Chapel - a simple, classical building inspired by Wesley's Chapel, City Road - no longer exists. It was rebuilt in the mid 1900s in a contemporary design.

    2010/12741
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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
  • John Wesley
    read more →
    Etched on paper
    Etching, c.1920

    Etching of John Wesley by Ernest Herbert Whydale (1886-1952).

    Whydale studied at the Westminster College of Art and at Camberwell. Nearly every year from 1910 to 1950, he displayed works at the Royal Academy. Whyedale was known for his etchings, a type pf printmaking, and in 1920 he became an associate member of the Royal Society of Painter-Etchers and Engravers.

    1998/7076
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Museum of Methodism
    read more →
    Photograph
    2013

    The Museum of Methodism at Wesley's Chapel was opened in 1984 and fully refurbished between 2012 and 2016.

    This photograph shows the museum after completion of the first phase of the refurbishment in 2013. The space features a central open or viewing area, with screens illustrating the life of John Wesley and the story of Methodism. This screens and the viewing area can be seen in the image.

    2014/15293/4
  • 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
  • Coin
    read more →
    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.
  • 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.
  • Statue of John Wesley
    read more →
    Bronze, marble
    Modelled and sculpted by John Adams Acton (1830-1910), 1891

    This statue of John Wesley was sculpted by John Adams-Acton (1830-1910) for the forecourt of Wesley's Chapel in 1891. The bronze plinth is inscribed: "The World is My Parish".

    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.
  • 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
  • Susanna Wesley's burial
    read more →
    Mezzotint on paper
    S. Gimber, Sculpt, after D. Woolstenhome, 1865

    After Susanna Wesley died on July 23, 1742, she was buried in Bunhill Fields graveyard in City Road, opposite the site John Wesley would one day acquire for his New Chapel, today's Wesley's Chapel. John conducted the service, his brother Charles wrote the epitaph for her tombstone.

    Although best known for her influence on her sons, Susanna Wesley was an accomplished writer, teacher and theologian in her own right. She has often been referred to as the 'Mother of Methodism'.
  • 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
  • Memorial Card and Envelope
    read more →
    Printed on paper; ink
    1858

    A memorial card for Jabez Bunting (1779-1858), with its original envelope addressed to Miss M. Robinson in Bloomsbury, London. Bunting was a very prominent Methodist minister and church leader in the early 1800, with great dedication to Methodist Church order and discipline. He was instrumental in making the Methodist Conference the organ of highest authority in Methodism and was very interested in missions.

    Memorial cards look similar to visiting cards or the French 'cartes de visite.' In the 1800s, visiting cards were usually left in well-to-do households with a butler or maid by a visiting person on arrival, and used by the butler to announce the visitor to the host or hostess. Memorial cards announced the passing of an individual. They were usually framed heavily in black and were sent out via mail to family, friends and acquaintances.

    See also the memorial card for Mrs Mary Crowther, 2018/15587, in the Online Collection.

    2004/9740/1&2
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Reverend John Brown
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    c. 1800

    The Rev. John Brown John Brown of Haddington (1722 -87) was a highly-educated Scottish minister and author.

    Self-educated and entirely self-made, Brown started out as a shepherd. Soon, he discovered he had a gift for languages and came to know and speak at least ten, including Latin, Greek and Hebrew. Brown's career choices were very varied. Following his experience as a shepherd, Brown became a travelling merchant, a soldier in Edinburgh, a school master and then a churchman.

    From 1750 until his death, Brown was a minister of the Secession Church in Haddington. In the 1780s, he obtained a professorship in Divinity in this denomination and started trained other churchman. He also wrote a number of books, some of the best-known being a Self-Interpreting Bible and a Dictionary of the Bible.

    1992/336
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Pulpit
    read more →
    Photograph
    1968 reprint

    This black and white photograph is a reprint of one taken around 1880. The original is one of the earliest detailed images of the mahogany pulpit at Wesley's Chapel. The pulpit dates to the 1770s and it was a gift from one of John Wesley's supporters.

    Simple but elegant wooden stairs curve upward to the reading platform. Originally, the pulpit had three levels. It was cut down after raked seating was installed on the second floor level of the Chapel in the 1860s and the preacher (standing on the top level of the pulpit) could be seen more easily.

    Also visible in the image are the original Chapel box pews, which were replaced in the early 1890s.

    2014/14120
  • Bust of John Wesley
    read more →
    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
  • 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).
  • Membership Card
    read more →
    Printed on paper; ink
    1931

    This Primitive Methodist Sunday School Union membership card was issued to show that the enrolled was taking the Correspondence Course of the Teacher Training Department Advanced Section. Taking courses such as this one enabled one to become a Sunday School teacher, a career path especially popular at the time among women.

    The reverse of the card shows a sample certificate of merit, which would be awarded to the student on completing his or her studies.

    2015/14692
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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)
  • Ceremony Handbill
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    1849

    Handbill commemorating the foundation stone laying for the City Chapel and schools in Jewin and Aldersgate Streets on March 20th, 1849. Events such as this one were important events in the Church calendar and were celebrated as such.

    Interestingly, the commemorative breakfast was held at the City of London Tavern. Some would have found this a curious place for a Chapel breakfast, but it probably showed the practical nature of the Church and their proximity to their grass roots support. It is well possible that the tavern owner or manager was connected to the Chapel in some way.

    2004/9501
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Wesleyan Methodist Twentieth Century Fund Certificate
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    1899/1900

    This certificate was issued to contributors to the Wesleyan Methodist Twentieth Century Fund.

    In 1898, the Wesleyan Methodist Twentieth Century Fund or 'One million Guinea Fund' was launched at Wesley's Chapel in City Road, London. The fund was to finance the building of a centre for world Methodism and help Methodism expand further in Britain and overseas. No-one was allowed to donate more than one guinea, but a donation could also be made in the name of a loved one who had passed away or who had emigrated. The Fund was active for 10 years, until 1908, by which time over 1,025,000 donors had contributed £ 1,073, 682.

    Some of the money was used to construct the Westminster Central Hall, and about £700,000 was left and was used to help build or enlarge Wesleyan chapels and Sunday schools in Britain. The remainder was used to finance more missionaries overseas.

    See also the medal issued to commemorate the Fund in the Online Collection.

    1993/614
  • 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.
  • 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
  • World Methodist Peace Award
    read more →
    Metal, silk
    1981

    The World Methodist Peace Award is awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions to peace, reconciliation and justice. The award was established by Dr. Stanley Leyland at the 13th World Methodist Conference in Dublin in 1976 and is presented annually by the World Methodist Council.

    Recipients have included Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbatchev and Nelson Mandela. This medal was awarded to Donald Oliver Soper, Baron Soper (1903-1998), in 1981 to commemorate his 'Courage, Creativity (and) Consistency'.
  • 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
  • Letter from John Wesley to Ann ('Nancy') Smith
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    16th June 1769

    A letter written by John Wesley to Ann ('Nancy') Smith in 1769. Wesley speaks repeatedly of love for the recipient, and offers her accommodation - 'whether single or married' - at Kingswood or Bristol.

    Wesley felt deep spiritual comradeship with a number of women but these relationships were not sexual. However, taken out of context it is easy to see why intimate letters such as this one led to arguments in Wesley's marriage to Mary ('Molly') Vazeille. Molly was an independent woman, by all accounts rather jealous, too, and she was convinced such letters were proof of his infidelity.
  • The Museum of Methodism
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1990

    The Museum of Methodism at Wesley's Chapel was opened in the crypt of the Chapel in 1984. This photograph shows the original display on circuits and circuit plans, helping to explaining the organisational structure of Methodism.

    2014/14348
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Order of service (hymns)
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    1835

    An early order of service recording the hymns to be sung at City Road Chapel on Nov. 8th, 1835. The preachers that day were the Rev. John Leifchild (morning) and the Rev. John Bowers (evening).

    Single service and hymn sheets like this one are quite rare survivals, as they were often discarded after the service.

    1993/1562
  • 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
  • Australasian Conference Chair
    read more →
    Wood, leather
    early 20th century

    In Methodism, the Conference is the governing body of the Church, which is headed by a President. It meets annually to discuss matters affecting the life of the Church, the nation and the world.

    The first conference of the Australasian Wesleyan Methodist Church was held in Sydney in 1855. This chair would have been used by the Presidents of the Australasian Wesleyan Methodist Conference during proceedings.
  • Roundel
    read more →
    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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Piece of the 'Wesley tree', East Sussex
    read more →
    Wood, paper
    With label explaining the history of the piece, 1800s

    The label on this piece of wood explains the wood was taken from the 'Wesley tree' in Winchelsea, East Sussex, under which John Wesley preached his last outdoor sermon on October 7th, 1790.

    This piece is particularly interesting, in that the attached label, headed paper from the Winchelsea manse of the Methodist minister then serving in the Rye circuit, is signed by the minister himself.

    For other wood samples of this tree, and objects made from this and other trees associated with Wesley, see the Online Collection, for instance 2006/10524.

    1998/7115
  • 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
  • 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
  • Loving cup
    read more →
    Printed ceramic
    c. 1839-42

    The first loving cups were used amongst Methodists in the 18th century at "love feasts." They gathered for these feasts at private homes, small chapels or simply in small groups, praying, reading the Scriptures, and testifying to God's love in their lives. Unlike Holy Communion, the love feast, or 'agape' meal, recalls the meals other than the Last Supper which Jesus shared with the disciples and others.

    Loving cups have two handles for passing water from one participant to the next. The tradition of the love feast still continues in Methodist churches in slightly amended form.

    This black-printed cup was produced to commemorate the establishment of the first Wesleyan Methodist society in 1739 and the building of a new Centenary Mission Hall in Bishopsgate, London.

    See also the other examples of 'love feast' or loving cups in the Online Collection.
  • 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.
  • Rev. Luke H. Wiseman, M.A.
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Engraved by C. Balding, early 1900s

    The engraving depicts Reverend Luke H. Wiseman (1822-1875). Wiseman was well known as a Methodist preacher and biblical scholar. He was strongly opposed to slavery and was a supporter of the Anti-Slavery Association. Wiseman was one of the founders of the Methodist Recorder (1861) and became President of the Wesleyan Methodist Conference in 1872.

    Rev. Luke H. Wiseman was the father of Rev. Dr Frederick Luke Wiseman (1858-1944), who became minister of Wesley's Chapel, City Road (1940-44) and President of the newly- united Methodist Conference in 1933.

    1996/6020
  • 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
  • 'Deborah', Judges, Verse 3
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Henry le Jeune A.R.A. (1819-1904), mid 19th century

    Deborah is the most celebrated female prophet of the Old Testament.

    Henry le Jeune was an English painter who produced landscape, literary, genre and religious paintings. He was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy (A.R.A.) in 1863.
    (1997/6660)
  • Dr Adam Clarke
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    late 1700s

    Engraving of the young Adam Clarke (1762-1832).

    Clarke was a Wesleyan minister and scholar. He met John Wesley in 1782 and was soon after received into full Connexion, in 1783. After Wesley died, Clarke became a moderating influence in Wesleyan Methodism and became President of the British Wesleyan Methodist Conference three times, in 1806, 1814 and 1822. He combatted poverty and was fiercely against African slavery. Instead, he advocated mission activity abroad and overseas.

    Clarke was also an outstanding scholar. He had a reputation as a linguist, especially in Oriental and Middle Eastern languages, and he played an important part in the Bible Society of the time as a result. He received an honorary doctorate from Aberdeen University in 1808 and was elected a Fellow of the Antiquarian and Geological Societies shortly after. He was also a Foundation member and Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society. Sadly, his attempt at decoding the Rosetta Stone (now in the British Museum) were not crowned by success.

    1992/382
  • Site Model
    read more →
    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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Office Building Construction II
    read more →
    Photograph
    March 1983

    The image shows the dug-out area for the foundations of the new office building to be constructed in Wesley's Chapel's former graveyard. At the back can be seen the remains of the vestry house, which was demolished to make way for the office block.

    See also photographs 2012/13494 and 2012/13500/3 of the construction process in the Online Collection.

    2012/13495
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Candle wick trimmer
    read more →
    Metal
    1700s

    This scissor-like object is a candle wick trimmer. It was used much like a pair of scissors, with the difference that it has a small compartment attached to its blades into which the cut-off wick is collected.

    Trimming candle wicks ensured candles burnt evenly. This was important, as many candles in Wesley's day were made from materials other than wax and tended to burn less reliably than candles today.

    2006/10437
  • 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
  • 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
  • Interior
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.2010

    This photograph shows the interior of the gentlemen's lavatories at Wesley's Chapel. They were installed in the 1890s during an extensive refurbishment programme and have survived almost unchanged to this day. Notice the mosaic floor, marble urinals and wooden cubicles.

    2019/15959/3
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Band of Hope Certificate
    read more →
    Printed on paper; ink
    1932

    The Band of Hope temperance society was founded in 1855. Its goal was to teach children and young people the dangers of alcohol and the importance of leading a sober or 'teetotal' life. It encouraged young people to "sign the pledge" that they would "abstain from all intoxicating liquors". The Band of Hope was not specifically Methodist; founded by a Baptist, the movement became a national one and most churches supported its cause.

    This particular certificate - or pledge - is interesting in that it is headed 'United Methodist Church' and is dated 21st October 1932. One month earlier, on 20th September, the United Methodist Church, the Wesleyan Methodist Church and the Primitive Methodist Church had formally united as the 'Methodist Church'. The Mount Pleasant Band of Hope division was probably using up old certificates, which makes this pledge one of the last headed 'United Methodist Church'.

    See also various medals relating to temperance in the Online Collection, including 2006/10692.

    2010/12610
  • The Great Assize - A Sermon on Romans xiv. 10.
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed by Paramore, Worship Street, London, 1792

    John Wesley preached this sermon at the Assizes held before the Honorable Sir Edward Clive, Knight, one of the Judges of His Majesty's Court of Common Pleas and other court officials, in St. Paul's Church, Bedford, on March 10, 1758.

    This appropriately-named sermon was Wesley's most important on the subject of God’s final judgment. Wesley urged those who had authority in this life to provide justice in the courts, reminding those who judge men and women that they will one day stand to be judged themselves.

    2015/14627
  • 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.
  • Portrait of John Wesley (1703-1791)
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Unknown artist, 19th century

    Previously attributed to miniature painter John Barry (active 1784–1827), this painting of John Wesley is by an unidentified artist. The execution of the portrait is quite crude, very likely copied in the 19th century from a more accomplished 18th century work.
  • 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
  • United Methodist Church Souvenir Handbook
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    1932

    This souvenir handbook was issued to commemorate the last Conference of The United Methodist Church in Britain in 1932. The Conference was held at Kingswood in July. A month later the Church merged with the Wesleyan Methodist and the Primitive Methodist Churches to become The Methodist Church in Britain.

    The United Methodist Church was formed in 1907 by the union of the United Methodist Free Churches with two other small Protestant Churches, the Bible Christians and the Methodist New Connexion.

    2006/10535
  • 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 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)
  • George Whitefield
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    mid 1800s

    Engraving of George Whitefield (1714-1770) preaching in a pulpit. 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 in later life, 'Dr Squintum', among those who didn't like Whitefield. His squint is not obvious in this engraving.

    At Oxford, Whitefield met the Wesley brothers 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 Wesley brothers, 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 Online Collection for further information on Whitefield's relationship with the Wesley brothers, and the oil painting of Whitefield, 2011/12897.

    1993/1405
  • John Wesley II Missionary Ship
    read more →
    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.
  • 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.
  • Clock
    read more →
    Walnut veneer on oak and pine carcase
    c.1715-30

    By tradition, this clock was given to John Wesley by a member of his Society. It was made by the well-known French Huguenot clockmaker, Claude Duchesne, who had a workshop in Long Acre, in central London. It is one of his less elaborate clocks but is of excellent quality and has an early moon phase, as well as an eight day movement.
  • Letter from John Wesley to Robert Carr Brackenbury, 1790
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    24th February 1790

    A letter written by John Wesley to preacher and friend Robert Carr Brackenbury (1752-1818) in 1790. The letter illustrates how Wesley's hand writing deteriorated as he got older. Wesley found it increasingly hard to see, and sometimes he now dictated letters instead.

    The spidery hand writing is hard to make out. Wesley is referring repeatedly to a bailiff who has changed his mind about an issue relating to a 'present storm'.

    See also John Wesley's letter of 1783 to Brackenbury in the Online Collection.
  • James Calvert of Fiji
    read more →
    Marble
    Unidentified artist, late 1800s

    The Reverend James Calvert (1813-1892) and his wife Mary were a Wesleyan missionary couple in Fiji. He and his wife landed at Lakemba in 1838 and remained in Fiji for the next seventeen years. They were instrumental in the conversion of Cakobau, the most powerful chief in the Fijian islands. Later, Calvert served as missionary in the Diamond Fields of South Africa.

    See also Cakobau's traditional Fijian war club and the Fijian priests' dish in the Online Collection.
  • 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 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
  • 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.
  • Original Paintwork III
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1994

    This photograph was taken in the first floor Study of John Wesley's House, during refurbishment works in the early 1990s. It shows some of the original interior paintwork behind John Wesley's large mahogany bookcase, after the bookcase was removed for repainting the room.

    Various paint schemes can be made out, but the original would appear to be a pearl (green) colour on the walls, and a darker green on the woodwork below. It is possible that the woodwork colour was originally 'French grey', a greyish-green, as this was specified for most of the house, but that it darkened with age and layers of grime.

    As this was one of the rooms which was to readied for 'paper', according to the building plans, the finish on the upper wall is either a paper without pattern in a light pearl colour, or a paper which was painted over in this colour shortly after its installation. Either way, the colours give an idea of the appearance of the room in the late 1700s when Wesley lived in the house.

    Note the geometric pattern on the upper wall. This is actually dust and grime, which has left an impression of the panelled back of the bookcase on the wall.

    See also images 2012/13651 and 2012/13697 showing similar colours in the hallway and in a second floor room.

    2012/13681
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Christmas Card
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    1936

    A Christmas card sent by the Rev. W.J. Roberts in Kearsley/Farnworth (close to Bolton) in 1936. His chosen motif was an engraving of John Wesley.

    Compare also with Christmas card 2007/10939/4 in the Online Collection.

    2007/10939/1
  • 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
  • Wesley's Chapel Interior
    read more →
    Photograph
    1990

    An unusual black and white view of the Chapel interior, taken from beneath the balcony. The architectural detail and the Chapel monuments are captured very well.

    2008/11650
  • John Wesley's bedroom
    read more →
    Postcard printed on paper
    c.1930-50

    A mid-20th century postcard view of John Wesley's bedroom. Note the stripped woodwork which was then fashionable, and the arrangement of Wesley ceramics inside the lit display cases. The pewter plates on the mantelshelf were once used for collections in church.
  • 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.
  • Medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1898-1908

    This medal was struck to commemorate giving to the 'Twentieth Century Fund'.

    In 1898, the Wesleyan Methodist Twentieth Century Fund or 'One million Guinea Fund' was launched at Wesley's Chapel in City Road, London. The fund was to finance the building of a centre for world Methodism and help Methodism expand further in Britain and overseas. No-one was allowed to donate more than one guinea, but a donation could also be made in the name of a loved one who had passed away or who had emigrated. The Fund was active for 10 years, until 1908, by which time over 1,025,000 donors had contributed £ 1,073, 682.

    Some of the money was used to construct the Westminster Central Hall, and about £700,000 was left and was used to help build or enlarge Wesleyan chapels and Sunday schools in Britain. The remainder was used to send more missionaries overseas.
  • 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
  • Visit of the Prime Minister
    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 outside John Wesley's House around 1980, attending an official event in the capacity as PM, giving a speech.
    Her pose next to a tombstone recalls John Wesley preaching from his father's tomb.

    See also photograph 2019/16024 in the Online Collection.

    2019/16023
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Certificate
    read more →
    Printed on paper; ink
    1931

    A distinguished service order certificate issued by the United Methodist Church Home and Foreign Missions to juvenile missionary collectors. Many young Methodists in the early 1900s helped collect funds for church and mission purposes, often (but not exclusively) after church on Sundays.

    This order was awarded to Miss Isobel Powell for collecting £1 and 1 shilling. This was a lot of money in 1931.
    Isobel Powell was an active member of her church in the West Country. She received various other church and temperance society awards around this time (1931-2), just before the United, Primitive and Wesleyan Methodist Churches united as The Methodist Church.

    See also 2010/12610, 12611, 12612 and 12614.

    2010/12613
  • John Wesley, M.A.
    read more →
    Engraved on paper
    Engraved by G. Vertue, 1742

    This is one of the earliest depictions of John Wesley. The engraving is signed by the artist in the right hand bottom corner, 'G. Vertue del. & sculp. 1742', so it was engraved when Wesley was 39 years of age.

    Interestingly, the artist has titled the engraving 'Thro Evil And Good Report.', hinting at the controversies surrounding Wesley and the new Methodist societies. Vertue also chose to represent the moment John was rescued from the fire at Epworth Old Rectory aged six and he makes reference to Wesley's post as Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford. Vertue may have done so as a means of emphasising Wesley's good character.

    George Vertue FSA (1684 – 1756) was a well-known English engraver and noted antiquary.

    1994/2308
  • 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.
  • Refurbishment
    read more →
    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.
  • The Mischief of Methodism
    read more →
    Etching on paper, hand-coloured.
    Drawn by George Moutard Woodward (1760–1809), published by Thomas Tegg, London, 1811

    This satirical etching was first published in Thomas Rowlandson’s popular Caricature Magazine, or 'Hudabristic Mirror'. The magazine observed and poked fun at the eccentricities of Georgian society.

    The print satirizes two stereotypical preachers: a slender Methodist - somewhat reminiscent of a young John Wesley - whose popularity in the pulpit causes the listeners at his chapel to neglect their daily obligations. The other, a rotund Anglican parish priest whose sermons are uninspiring and attract no attention or following at all.
  • 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.
  • Shoe and buckle
    read more →
    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
  • Chapel Crypt
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1975

    A photograph showing the crypt at Wesley's Chapel undergoing refurbishment works shortly before the installation of the Museum of Methodism in 1983-84.

    2019/15918/1
  • Clearance Works
    read more →
    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
  • 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
  • Alexander Kilham, Minister of the Gospel
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Published by Butterworths of Leeds, Early 1800s

    Engraving of Alexander Kilham, Minister of the Gospel (1762-1798), published in the Methodist Magazine. Kilham was a radical Wesleyan itinerant minister who eventually founded the Methodist New Connexion.

    Kilham became a local preacher in 1782 and acted as assistant to R.C. Brackenbury in the Channel Islands. By 1785 he had met John Wesley and become an itinerant preacher. Following Wesley's death, Kilham became involved deeply in the various debates about Methodism and its future. He was more radical than many of his Methodist contemporaries and advocated the formal separation of Methodism from the Anglican Church. He made enemies among the Methodist establishment and was expelled from the Methodist Church in 1796.

    Following this, and after starting the 'Methodist Monitor' paper, Kilham and three other preachers, William Thom, Stephen Eversfield and Alexander Cummin were instrumental in setting up the Methodist New Connection, with its own Conference. The remaining years of his life Kilham spent around Sheffield and Nottingham. He died early, in 1798, probably of tuberculosis.

    The engraving is rather crude, see also the somewhat more detailed engraving of Kilham in the online Collection.
  • Wesley's Chapel Interior
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.2000

    Photograph of an engraving showing the Chapel's interior around 1870. There are gas lights all around the balcony and green wooden Venetian (slatted) blinds in the apse.

    The image gives a good impression of what the Chapel interior looked like before major alterations were carried out in the 1890s and early 1900s, including the insertion of stained glass windows and new pews.

    2012/13326
  • 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.
  • Preacher Miles Martindale
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Ridley sculpt., c.1800

    Miles Martindale was born in Lancashire. He became a Methodist local preacher in 1786 and an itinerant minister in 1789. In later life he came to hold some prestigious appointments, including District Chairman in Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle and York. He also became a school governor, and was something of a writer. He published an elegy on the death of John Wesley in 1791 and, later, a Dictionary of the Holy Bible (1810).

    Martindale died suddenly while attending Conference in 1824, a victim of Cholera.

    1992/193
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Membership Card
    read more →
    Printed on paper; ink
    1888

    Primitive Methodist Sunday School Band of Hope Poplar membership card belonging to Florence Chapman and dating to the summer and autumn of 1888. It is not clear whether Florence was an early member of the PMSS Band of Hope in Poplar ("No.5"), or whether "5" may refer to the fifth card, possibly that year, recording her attendance dates in the latter half of 1888.

    The card is perhaps most interesting for its date and attendance record. Commencing on 31st August 1888, a series of brutal, and soon-to-become notorious, murders swept Whitechapel in the East End of London. The perpetrator became known as 'Jack the Ripper', and the last of at least five linked murders in the East End occurred on 9th November, 1888. Whitechapel was literally only a mile down the road from Poplar where Florence attended school, and the area was gripped by panic that autumn.

    It would seem that Florence attended the PMSS Band of Hope meetings, scheduled for Wednesday evenings between 7pm and 9pm, less regularly that autumn than earlier in the year. Is this a coincidence or could this be linked to the events in the area?

    2004/9858
  • Isaac Watts
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    W. Hawkins sculpt.; published by Maxwell & Wilson, Skinner Street, 1809

    Engraving of Isaac Watts (1674 – 1748), who was a dissenting minister, theologian, hymn writer and logician. Sometimes Watts is referred to as the "Godfather of English Hymnody", and many of his hymns are still sung today.

    In 1690, Isaac Watts went to the Dissenting Academy at Stoke Newington, then a village outside of London. There, he spent much of his remaining life as a pastor of a congregational chapel. Watts was unusually non-denominational (or ecumenical) in his views for the time, and he was especially interested in promoting scholarship.

    Watts was buried opposite Wesley's Chapel, in Bunhill Fields graveyard in 1748.

    1993/1408
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Thomas Coke Memorial
    read more →
    Photograph
    1990

    Photograph in black and white of the memorial to Thomas Coke (1747-1814) at Wesley's Chapel.

    John Wesley first met Thomas Coke in 1776 and sent him to America in the 1780s to oversee the development of Methodism there. Later, he became the first Methodist Bishop in America.

    Coke was particularly interested in establishing Methodist Missions abroad and overseas, which is why he is often referred to as the father of Methodist missions.

    2008/k11662
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Collection box
    read more →
    Bakelite
    c.1950

    This novelty Missionary Society collecting box in the form of a globe dates to around 1950. It was used in churches but also in a non-church context to collect money for mission projects.

    The Methodist Missionary Society was formed in 1932 out of many smaller missionary societies. The globe shape of the box illustrated that the Society operated world-wide - in Africa, the Caribbean, the Indian sub-continent, Europe, the Americas and Australasia.
  • Leys School Booklet
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    1925

    This Leys School booklet or brochure commemorates the first fifty years of the school. The school was founded in Cambridge in 1875 as a Methodist School for the sons of lay Methodists. The Reverend Dr W.F. Moulton (1835-98) became its first headmaster and the school grew rapidly. 'The Leys', as it is often referred to, is still a very successful school today, but its students are no longer specifically Methodist.

    Wesley's Chapel and The Museum of Methodism have a close connection with the Leys School through the Methodist 'Leysian Mission'. The Mission was founded in East London in the late 1800s by former members of the school, to combat hardship and poverty. The Mission and Wesley's Chapel united as 'Wesley's Chapel and Leysian Mission' in 1989. The Leys School, Chapel and the Museum regularly work together on partnership projects.

    2019/16169
  • Letter
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    From John Wesley to his wife, Mary (Molly) nee Vazeille, 21 May 1756

    John Wesley's marriage was difficult almost from the start. John and Molly got married in 1751. Both were in their forties, headstrong and used to having their own way. Five years into their marriage, this letter hints at trouble. The opening lines are tense, followed by John's complaint that his wife is negligent in writing. He in turn writes of the overarching importance of the ministry and travel in his life, "But my journeys are first". This caused many arguments.

    John and Molly split up in 1758. They got back together and split again over the following years until Molly left John for good in 1771.

    See also John Wesley's letter of 10th July, 1756 to his wife in the Online Collection.
  • 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.
  • Commemorative Cover
    read more →
    Paper, printed; ink
    1993

    This commemorative cover was issued by the Methodist Philatelic Society to commemorate the 90th 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.

    1999/7643/1
  • Edmund Calamy DD
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    G. Vertue sculp., early-mid 1700s

    Edmund Calamy (1671 – 1732) was a Nonconformist churchman and historian. He studied at Oxford and was ordained in 1694. by the Nonconformist Samuel Annesley, John Wesley's maternal grandfather. Calamy became assistant to Daniel Williams in Hand Alley; later he became pastor of a much larger congregation at Tothill Street, Westminster.

    Calamy was a comparatively moderate Presbyterian. In 1709, the degree of Doctor of Divinity was conferred on him by a number of Scottish universities during a tour of Scotland. Calamy published numerous books, many of which biographies of Nonconformists.

    1992/376
  • 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
  • Inkwell
    read more →
    Horn, metal
    1800s

    This small inkwell is made from animal horn, possibly from a ram. It is believed the inkwell belonged to the Reverend Barnabas Shaw (1788-1857), first official Wesleyan missionary in Africa.

    In 1816, 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.

    See also Barnabas Shaw's horn pipe in the Online Collection.

    1992/138/1-2
  • 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
  • Original Paintwork I
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1994

    The photograph was taken in the hallway of John Wesley's House, during refurbishment works in the early 1990s.

    It shows some of the original interior paintwork, after removal of wallpaper on top. The building plans of the house specified that the interior woodwork was to be painted three times in oil in a 'French grey', and a number of the principal rooms were to be ready for 'papering'.

    French grey was commonly chosen to paint house interiors in the mid to late 1700s, as it was a cheap and serviceable colour. It was a somewhat indeterminable hue between grey and green and was often used on woodwork and plaster, as in this instance. In Georgian times, only rooms of high status and in better-off households were painted in colours such as yellow, light pink or blue.

    2012/13651
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Ceiling Detail
    read more →
    Photograph
    1978

    Ceiling detail photograph taken during the Chapel refurbishment works of the 1970s.

    During a fire in the late 1800s, the Chapel ceiling collapsed. Fortunately, the original ceiling plaster moulds were still in existence and the ceiling elements could be recast and the ceiling design re-instated.

    2012/13563
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Commemorative stone
    read more →
    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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Extract from Charles Wesley's diary
    read more →
    Ink on paper
    May - August 1769

    An extract from Charles Wesley's diary for the summer of 1769. In it, he discusses the musical achievements of his 11 year old son, Charles junior (1757-1834).

    On Wed, July 3rd, he writes: 'Mr K... gave him his 104th Lesson (sic); which makes a year compleat (sic). No other, he assured me, could have learned so much in many years.' Charles Wesley jun. was noted as a child prodigy and became a composer and organist.

    Like his brother John, Charles Wesley sen. wrote his diary in code. The entries here are written out in plain English and relate to his son and music. They are extracts from his coded dairy, written in his hand.
  • 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.
  • Letter from John Wesley to Mr Gaulter
    read more →
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Revd. John Hearnshaw
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    mid 1800s

    An engraving of the Wesleyan minister John Hearnshaw, dating to around 1860-80.

    Sadly, we know nothing about Mr Hearnshaw; if you are able to provide information on him, we would be very pleased to hear from you.

    1992/210
  • Letter to the Printer of the Public Advertiser
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    1780

    This stinging 'letter' to the printer of the Public Advertiser newspaper was published by John Wesley in 1780. In it, he takes issue with a recently-published government act of tolerance - implied or real - of Roman Catholicism.

    The letter is very interesting. Clearly, it was an article in the form of a letter intended for publication in the Public Advertiser paper. However, it is worded in such a way as to avoid censorship (the government act is only referred to in passing, for example). The letter leaves no doubt whatsoever as to Wesley's negative view of the Roman Catholic Church.

    1993/1516
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Plate
    read more →
    Ceramic, printed
    1960

    This plate commemorates the West Indian bicentenary of Methodism, 1760-1960. The plate depicts the plantation of Nathaniel Gilbert, who introduced Wesleyan Methodism in Antigua.
  • 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
  • Commemorative Cup
    read more →
    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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Memorandum of Agreement
    read more →
    Ink on vellum
    First page of six, 8th November 1890

    This memorandum of agreement between the Wesley Chapel Trust and the Wilson Street Trustees repurposes John Wesley's House.

    The decision to repurpose John Wesley's House was made possible by three things. Firstly, a larger and more convenient ministers' manse built on the other side of the entrance to the Wesley's Chapel site. Secondly, the removal of a second minister on site, referred to as the 'Great North Road Minister' (who, at the time, lived in John Wesley's House). And finally, financial assistance from the Wilson Street Trustees.

    Originally, only Wesley's rooms on the first floor were to become a museum. Later, the whole house was given over to this purpose.

    For the full document, please refer to 'Exhibits' and click on 'Selected Documents'.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Wesley's Chapel
    read more →
    Paper, lithographed
    John C. Anderson del. et lith.; printed by R. Black, mid 1800s

    An interesting lithograph of the Chapel illustrating the interior as it appeared in the mid 1800s. There is no stained glass as yet, and small chandeliers with candles suspended from the gallery are the only means of lighting the interior. There are vignettes with illustrations of John and Charles Wesley's commemorative tablets to the left and right of the main image, and historical detail recording the foundation stone laying and opening day in 1778 below.
  • Sunday School Commemorative Medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1885

    This medal commemorates the 100th anniversary of St. Domingo Street Wesleyan Methodist Sunday School in Oldham. This was established in March 1785. The top of the medal is drilled, probably to attach a ribbon.

    See also the other Sunday School commemorative medals in the Online Collection.

    2006/10661
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Pocket watch
    read more →
    Metal, enamel, glass
    c.1740-80

    This splendid pocket watch belonged to Thomas Coke (1747-1814). Coke was close to John Wesley and became one of the first Bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America, in a controversial move. Coke later took an increasing interest in overseas mission. He died at sea on his way to fulfil his dream of a mission to India in 1814.

    The watch is very elaborately moulded and chased, in the manner of the mid 1700s. Probably, it was made from then fashionable 'Pinchbeck'. This metal alloy looks very much like gold, but is lighter and cheaper. The watch may have been an inherited piece, or possibly a wedding present.
  • Key
    read more →
    Metal, enamel
    early 1900s

    This elaborate, ceremonial key was used to re-open John Wesley's House after extensive refurbishment in 1934 and once again in 1956. The 1934 opening ceremony was performed by Alice Maud Salisbury, wife of the painter Frank O. Salisbury (1874-1962), the 1956 ceremony by Frank O. Salisbury himself.

    See also the newspaper cutting 1998/7070/3 with an image of the 1934 re-opening ceremony in the Online Collection.

    1998/7070/1
  • Prize Medal
    read more →
    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
  • Bible
    read more →
    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.
  • Kingsway Hall Booklet
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Witney Press Ltd, Witney, Oxford, c. 1960

    The Kingsway Hall was the home of the (Methodist) West London Mission (or WLM) in Holborn. Perhaps the best known Methodist associated with the Hall and the Mission was Donald Oliver Soper, Baron Soper (1903-1988) who was Superintendent Minister of the West London Mission for over 40 years. The Hall also became famous as a recording venue for classical music and film scores.

    In this booklet, dating to the mid 1900s, Soper explains the work and recent achievements of the Mission.

    2017/15228
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Post-WWII Rebuilding
    read more →
    Photograph
    1962

    The black and white photograph shows the rear of the Chapel in the early 1960s. WWII bombings caused a lot of damage in the streets around the Chapel, which took years to clear and rebuild. The photograph gives a very good view of the Chapel graveyard and John Wesley's tomb prior to re-landscaping works in the early 1980s.

    2012/13501
  • 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
  • The Epworth Rectory on Fire and the Rescue of John Wesley, Aged 6
    read more →
    Lithograph on paper
    After the painting by Henry Perlee Parker (1840), 19th century

    John was born in 1703 at the rectory in Epworth. When he was six years old, on the night of 9 February 1709, the rectory caught fire. The family rushed to get out. Once outside they did a head count and realised that John was missing. The flames had become so fierce however that John's father Samuel was unable to get back into the house. Then, John appeared at an upstairs window. A human ladder was formed so he could be pulled to safety, apparently just in time before the roof fell in.

    It was this seemingly miraculous escape from the fire which convinced his mother Susanna that her son was a 'brand plucked from the burning".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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.
  • The Revd William Romaine, A.M.
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Published by Vallance & Simmons, 120 Cheapside, 1774

    This engraving of Revd. William Romaine (1714-1795) was engraved for the Gospel Magazine.

    Romaine was the son of a Huguenot merchant and became an Anglican evangelical. He studied at Oxford at the same time as the Wesley brothers, but apparently was not influenced by them and did not join the 'Holy Club'. Later, he supported some of the early tenets of the Wesleys' Methodism, but disagreed with John Wesley over the doctrine of Christian Perfection, siding with George Whitefield instead. In the mid 1750s, the Countess of Huntingdon appointed Romaine one of her chaplains. A decade later, he succeeded to an appointment as rector of St Anne's, Blackfriars and of St Andrew by the Wardrobe.

    Liturgically, Romaine was a conservative, and he condemned Isaac Watt's popular hymns. Romaine wrote various treatises and essays, among them an 'Essay on Psalmody' (1775) , The Life of Faith (1763), The Walk of Faith (1771) and The Triumph of Faith (1795).

    1992/180
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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
  • Portrait of Adam Clarke
    read more →
    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
  • Seal of the Methodist Conference, South Africa
    read more →
    Wax
    pre-1932

    The Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MSCA) is a large Wesleyan Methodist denomination with churches across South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Mozambique. This was the pre-1932 seal of the Church's annual Conference.
  • 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
  • Wesley's Grave and New Building
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1982

    A black and white photograph of Wesley's grave, showing parts of the redesigned graveyard and the new office building at the back of the Chapel.

    The new office block was constructed in the early 1980s. The design incorporated a mirrored facade, in which can be seen the reflection of the Chapel apse and garden.

    2009/11949
  • Vinyl record
    read more →
    Vinyl, cardboard
    1978

    The museum has a collection of hymn recitals recorded on vinyl, tape and CD at Wesley's Chapel. They show the continued importance of hymn singing among Methodists in the 20th century and today. This record was released to mark the 200th anniversary of the Chapel, and its re-opening after major refurbishment, in 1978.
  • Portrait of Hugh Bourne
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    By unknown artist, early 19th century

    Hugh Bourne (1772 - 1852) and William Clowes (1780 - 1851) were joint founders of the Primitive Methodist movement, the largest offshoot of Wesleyan Methodism. Primitive Methodism, the Wesleyan Methodists and the United Methodists re-united in 1932, establishing Methodist Union.
    1993/1476
  • 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.
  • Chapel Interior with Organ
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1930

    A black and white Chapel interior image dating to c.1930. The organ can be seen on the north balcony to the left. It was one of two, the other (on the south balcony, opposite the other, but not visible in this image) was a dummy organ, installed for symmetry. Both organs were removed in the mid 1930s and a new, larger one constructed on the west balcony.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Methodist Conference Handbook
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    1952

    This Methodist Conference Handbook was issued in 1952. The cover page is illustrated beautifully, including Tudor Roses, to celebrate the Coronation year.

    2017/15437
  • Collection box
    read more →
    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.
  • Lunchtime preparations
    read more →
    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.
  • 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
  • Donald English Memorial Window II
    read more →
    Photograph
    2003

    The Donald English Memorial Window, 'God as Fire', by Mark Cazalet (b.1964). See also the image showing the window being installed, 2007/11070.

    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.

    2007/11070/4
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • Flyer
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    1933

    This flyer or handbill was printed by the Leysian Mission on City Road, advertising a 'Grand Bazaar' on 15th and 16th November, 1933. The handbill outlined how to participate in the bazaar and "seven ways of being a helper".

    The Leysian Mission was established in the late 1800s by former students of the (Methodist) Leys School, Cambridge, and owned large mission premises on City Road. It was primarily a local mission, to alleviate hardship amongst people in the City Road and Old Street areas in London.

    The mission united with Wesley's Chapel, City Road in 1989.

    2009/11909
  • Medal
    read more →
    Metal
    1839

    This large bronze medal commemorates the centenary of Wesleyan Methodism in 1839.
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • A Letter to the Rev. Mr. John Wesley; in Answer to his late Pamphlet, entitled, "Free Thoughts on the Present State of Public Affairs".
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    Printed by J. Towers, Fore Street, London, 1771

    The pamphlet is a response to Wesley's tract published in 1768, in which Wesley looks at a long list of complaints that were being made against the king and several government ministers and judges. Wesley's publications often occasioned formal, and sometimes impassioned, responses.

    2014/14203
  • 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.
  • Organ
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1995

    Photograph of the small organ in the Foundery Chapel at Wesley's Chapel. The organ case is made from mahogany and dates to the early 1800s.

    It is believed that this organ was played by Charles Wesley junior (1757-1834) who was a child prodigy and later became a well-known organist.
  • "The late Revd John Wesley, M.A. and 446 of the preachers in his Connexion represented as assembled in City Road Chapel, London"
    read more →
    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.
  • John Wesley's House
    read more →
    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.
  • 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.
  • John Wesley A.M.
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    mid/late1700s

    Engraving of John Wesley, possibly by John Faber, after a painting by John Williams dated c. 1741. The original painting was done when Wesley was thirty-eight years old.

    1996/5923
  • 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.
  • Office Building Construction
    read more →
    Photograph
    March 1983

    The photo shows the graveyard of Wesley's Chapel after clearance, in readiness for the construction of an office block. John Wesley's tomb can be seen in the foreground, the temporary barracks for the workmen constructing the new building in the background.

    See also photographs 2012/13495 and 2012/13500/3 of the construction process in the Online Collection.

    2012/13494
  • 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
  • Clearance Works III
    read more →
    Photograph
    early 1980s

    During the clearance and re-landscaping works of the Chapel's graveyard in the early 1980s, most grave markers were removed. Many can be seen in this photograph stacked together against the Chapel, others lying in the foreground of the image.

    Many of the grave markers were later used to create a floor covering in the Chapel's crypt (today's Museum of Methodism). Any human remains found at the time were transferred and re-interred in a graveyard in south London.

    See also 2012/13466, 2012/13467, 2012/13483 and 2012/13492 in the Online Collection for other views of the clearance works.

    2012/13472
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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
  • William Fiddian Moulton Memorial
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.2000

    Photograph of the memorial to Rev. William Fiddian Moulton (1835-1898) at Wesley's Chapel.

    A scientist as well as minister by training, Moulton rose quickly to a teaching appointment at Richmond College in 1858. In 1875, he moved to Cambridge and founded The Leys School where he remained as Headmaster until his death in 1891. Moulton established The Leysian Mission in London and became President of the Methodist Conference in 1890-1891. Throughout his career, he contributed to scholarly debates and published academic works, in particular in relation to the Bible.
  • The Revd. Henry Hurd
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    late 1800s

    Henry Hurd (1838-1880) was ordained in 1838 and spent many years as a missionary in the Caribbean. Amongst other appointments, he was Superintendent in Georgetown, today's capital of Guyana.

    1992/352
  • Gideon Ousley
    read more →
    Engraving on paper
    Jones Pinxt., Maguire Sculpt., 1815

    Engraving of Gideon Ousley, or Ouseley, a 'preacher of the Gospel and Irish missionary' (1762-1839). The engraving was featured in the Irish Methodist Magazine in 1815. After a dissolute youth, in which Ouseley lost an eye during a drunken shooting incident, he converted to Methodism in 1791 and became a local preacher. In 1799, Ouseley was appointed General Missionary in Ireland.

    Ouseley has sometimes been called the most effective Irish evangelist of his time. He was also strongly anti-Catholic, which brought him enemies in a predominantly Catholic society. Ouseley died following an attack and robbery in a Dublin street in 1839. Interestingly, many of Ouseley's Methodist converts eventually emigrated to America and at least some found a better life there.

    1992/73
  • The Revd John Wesley as an Old Man
    read more →
    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
  • Bust of Bishop Sundo Kim
    read more →
    Marble, on wooden plinth
    Unidentified artist, c.2013

    Bishop Sundo Kim (b.1930) is the founding pastor of Kwanglin Methodist Church in Seoul, Korea. The Church has 94,000 members and is the largest Methodist Church in the world. Bishop Kim and his congregation have established global mission centres and seminaries in Moscow, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, and China, amongst other countries.

    In 2011, a grant from Kwanglim Methodist Church started the fundraising process for refurbishing the Museum of Methodism at Wesley's Chapel, City Road.
  • Chapel Courtyard
    read more →
    Photograph
    c.1977

    A photograph of the major building works at Wesley's Chapel undertaken in the 1970s. Here, the courtyard re-paving in front of the Chapel is seen nearing completion.

    See also the other photographs of the 1970s refurbishment works of the Chapel, courtyard and ancillary buildings in the Online Collection.
  • 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.
  • Calling card
    read more →
    Paper, printed
    c.1840

    A calling or visiting card left by 'Mr Hanwell, The Preacher'. When visiting, it used to be polite practice to produce a visiting card on arrival, which the butler or maid of the (well-to-do) house would use to announce the visitor. If the master or lady of the house were out, the card alerted them to the caller's visit.

    Little is known of 'Mr Hanwell' ; likely, he was the Wesleyan Methodist minister Revd. John Hanwell, 1805-1854.

    2014/14080/2
  • Letter
    read more →
    Printed on paper
    1992

    Letter received from HRH Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, in 1992 on occasion of the union between the Leysian Mission with Wesley's Chapel, City Road (1989), and following significant refurbishment of the Chapel office building.

    2004/9709
  • Grace Murray (?) in Old Age
    read more →
    Oil on canvas
    Possibly by John Jackson (1778–1831), 19th century

    Grace Murray has been described by some as John Wesley's one true love; and he intended to marry her.

    Born in Newcastle, Grace converted to Methodism in 1739. She became a member of the Foundery Society in London but returned to Newcastle after the death of her husband in 1742. There, she became a class leader and John Wesley appointed her housekeeper of the Methodist Orphan House.

    Wesley was further acquainted with Grace during several visits to Newcastle and told her ‘If ever I marry, I think you will be the person!’. Shortly after during the summer of 1749, she accompanied Wesley on one of his preaching tours in Ireland, a move which was regarded as the prelude to marriage. However, Grace had another admirer who had proposed marriage and of whom she was fond also, a Mr Bennett, one of Wesley's preachers. Wesley procrastinated over the betrothal and asked his brother Charles for advice. Alarmed, Charles Wesley interfered and persuaded Grace to marry Bennett instead.

    Wesley never fully forgave his brother or Bennett and wrote to the latter: ‘I left with you my dearest friend, one I loved above all on earth, and fully designed for my wife. To this woman you proposed marriage, without either my knowledge or consent...'

    Grace went on to have five children by Bennett. John, possibly on the rebound, contracted an unsuitable and unsuccessful marriage to 'Molly' Vazeille in 1751.
  • 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
  • The United Kingdom Band of Hope Union Certificate
    read more →
    Printed on paper; ink
    1932

    The Band of Hope temperance society was founded in 1855. Its goal was to teach children and young people the dangers of alcohol and the importance of leading a sober or 'teetotal' life. It encouraged young people to "sign the pledge" that they would "abstain from all intoxicating liquors". The Band of Hope was not specifically Methodist; founded by a Baptist, the movement became a national one and most churches supported its cause.

    This certificate of merit was issued by The United Kingdom Band of Hope Union for excellent performance in a national essay competition in 1931.

    See also various medals and other certificates relating to temperance in the Online Collection, including 2006/10692 and 2010/12610.

    2010/12611
  • 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.
  • 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,