- Alexander Kilham (1762-98) was born in Epworth, Lincolnshire. He entered the Methodist itinerancy in 1785 and served circuits in England and Scotland. After Wesley's death, he wrote a series of pamphlets advocating that the laity should have a greater say in Methodist Church government. As a result, he was expelled by the Wesleyan Conference in 1796. With fellow preacher William Thom, he founded the Methodist New Connexion in 1797 the first major non- Wesleyan Methodist Church. Approximately five thousand left the Wesleyans for the new body. Kilham died at an early age in Nottingham. Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995)
From Gunnerton [part of the Hexham circuit where Bardsley was stationed in 1797] to [Joseph] Benson at the Methodist Chapel in Hull. Benson's kind letter revived Bardsley's spirit. 'Blessed be God for inclining you and our dear friends at Hull to shew their dutifull attachment to the best of Kings [George III]'. He mentioned Benson's letter to some of the local Methodists and they have contributed £3 to add to Benson's collection. 'This country you know is a poor country, and it is too much a republican country'.
Thanks be to God, there is reasonable peace in this circuit. [Alexander] Kilham seems to have been almost forgotten but some of his poison is left. Some of the [Wesleyan] Methodist preachers in Newcastle have started to hold services in [Anglican] church hours - Bardsley is pleased that Benson is not likely to be much hurt at Hull by the Kilhamites [Methodist New Connexion]. 'We have lived to have our belly full of divisions. Had we firmly stood by our first principles, and solemn engagements, neither Kilham nor any of his associates could have done much harm.'.
His regards should be passed to Benson's wife and any at Hull who remember him.