1750-1800 / Document / John Wesley / Letter / Methodism / Ministers, Preachers & Associates / Paper
Paper; ink
From John Wesley to William Orp, December 16th, 1766

A letter written by John Wesley to William ('Billy') Orp at Stroud in Gloucestershire.

His observation that "We may repair but must not build Houses yet", is very interesting. Is Wesley making reference to building new Methodist meeting houses or chapels in general, or is he referring specifically to the situation in Stroud? In the mid 18th century most Methodist meeting houses were indeed not purpose-built but were existing buildings which had been adapted for a new purpose. Wesley's choice of words, especially the word 'yet', might indicate that purpose built Methodist chapels in 1766 were still potentially contentious, as Wesley still argued that Methodism was of part of the established (Anglican) Church.

Was Wesley anticipating the day when Methodism would move beyond the established Church, as it did by the 1780s?