Jabez Bunting Transcripts

Scope and Content

Correspondence, 1799-1858, of Jabez Bunting (1779-1858, Methodist minister). Typescript transcripts prepared by Prof. W.R. Ward, plus 2 reels of microfilm of original letters. The transcripts cover all the original letters Ward was able to trace by and to Bunting in the Methodist Church Archives (now in the John Rylands Library, Manchester) and in other collections, mostly in the U.S.A. Ward's practice was to transcribe everything which seemed likely ever to be of any use, and to make brief calendar entries of the remainder. The two reels of microfilm are of Jabez Bunting correspondence at Duke University and Emory University in the U.S.A.; Ward's transcripts cover these letters. The letters Ward published in The Early Correspondence of Jabez Bunting 1821-28 (London, 1972) and Early Victorian Methodism: the correspondence of Jabez Bunting 1830-1858 (London, 1976) represent only a selection from the total. Copies of these volumes are shelved with the transcripts.

Administrative / Biographical History

Jabez Bunting, sometimes called the second founder of Methodism, was admitted as a Wesleyan Methodist minister in 1799, and served at many centres (Oldham, Macclesfield, London, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool, Halifax, Leeds). From 1833 he was stationed at the connexion's London headquarters, as secretary for foreign missions and in 1835 became president of the Theological Institute for training prospective preachers. He served as president of the connexion in 1820, 1828, 1836 and 1844. Whereas in the Wesley period matters of religion were the central concern of the Methodist connexion, in the period of Bunting's ministry matters of structure and discipline took on greater prominence. It has been said that Bunting found the connexion a society and made it a church, completing its severance from Anglicanism. His correspondence is a key source for the history of Methodism in Britain in the first half of the 19th century. It strongly reflects his active involvement in the development of central administration and discipline, the doctrine of the ministry, ministerial training, liturgy, and relations between the churches.

W.R. Ward was Professor of Modern History at the University of Durham 1965-1985, author of numerous works on 19th century ecclesiastical history, and editor, with R.P. Heitzenrater, of the Journal and diaries of John Wesley (1988-).


Chronological order.

Access Information

Open for consultation.

Acquisition Information

Presented by W.R. Ward.

Other Finding Aids

Typescript index of correspondents.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of material from the collection must be sought in advance from the Sub-Librarian, Special Collections (e-mail PG.Library@durham.ac.uk) and, where appropriate, from the copyright owner. The Library will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Location of Originals

John Rylands University Library, Manchester; Duke University; Emory University