Letter

Scope and Content

[Pages 170-175 of the volume:]

From near Ashbourne to Thomas Warwick at Castle Gate in Nottingham. Bardsley is as well as he can expect in body and soul, although had he been more faithful [to God] then he thinks that he would have been happier.

The last time that he wrote, he was in a hurry and had therefore to be short. He supposes that Warwick has heard that they had a 'comfortable' Conference [in London]. Bardsley was rushed off his feet, hurrying from one good place to another.

As Bardsley has now travelled through his [Macclesfield] circuit, he can now give his good friend some account of it. He can assure Warwick that 'it is a circuit not to be dispized'. It is true that the itinerants [Thomas Westell, Thomas Hanson and Bardsley] must spend longer in the saddle than in Warwick's circuit [Derbyshire], but they have no just cause to complain on this account as he thinks that the longest ride does not exceed fourteen miles except once in six weeks when the itinerants travel out of their way to meet one another. Macclesfield is a 'comfortable' place with many benefits; a large society and 'comfortable' band meetings - when the men and women begin to pray one can hardly tear oneself away. The congregations are large and the Methodists are very kind to the preachers - their accommodation is very comfortable. They are boarded with society members near the preaching house and 'as we have no wife, we have a fire made in the house and can read or write and be very retire'.

The itinerants are in Macclesfield on Saturday, Sunday and Monday for two weeks in a row and on the third Saturday they come in again to meet the preacher who is succeeding them, have dinner together and then part. The itinerant who goes the long way round goes to Congleton and meets the children on Saturday evening. There are beautiful [preaching] houses in both Congleton and Macclesfield and there is a 'pritty' society in the former place. Some of the more prominent members of the society keep entertain the preachers free of charge. The people are very lively in Staffordshire - in the small village of Flass the society is forty strong. 'A wicked man lately came to fetch his wife away from one of their meetings and beat her though she was under a good deal of trouble on account of her soul: however while he was abuseing her she cryed to God for mercy and the Lord heard and made her very happy'.

Bardsley's dear love should be passed to Warwick's mother, to Brother and Sister Fletcher, to Sally and Sammy, to Sister Warwick in Nottingham and to Robert Gregory and his apprentice - how are Warwick's sons? 'Dear children, I long to see them & to have them in my arms'.

In a postscript, he asks that his love should also be passed to Brother and Sister [John] Shaw, Brother [Richard] Seed and [William] Percival [all itinerants stationed in the Derbyshire circuit, of which Nottingham was a part], Richard Richards, William and Jack and all in Warwick's class.

When Warwick is next in Gotham, Bardsley's love should be passed to his dear old mother, to Jenny and to Brother and Sister North. What became of their son John?

Warwick should write to Bardsley in three weeks at the house of the shopkeeper Thomas Garside in Congleton. Bardsley hopes to be in a position to spend a night or two with his Nottingham friends at about Christmas time if he can get a replacement for that period. He would be pleased to see Warwick at Cowhead or Critch when convenient.