- David Simpson (1745-99) was born near Northallerton in Yorkshire, the son of a farm bailiff. He was educated at St John's College Cambridge and was ordained deacon in 1769 and priest two years later. After two curacies in the south of England he was appointed to St Michael's Church in Macclesfield where his ministry quickly earned him the title of Methodist. After meeting with opposition, he was deprived of his curacy in 1779. Through the influence of the wealthy evangelical sympathiser Charles Roe, Simpson was then appointed Vicar of Christ Church Macclesfield where he remained for the rest of his life. Simpson was a staunch friend of Methodism. John Wesley often preached in his church and he attended the Conference of 1784. In addition to his normal ministerial duties, Simpson also ran an evening charity school which was succeeded by a Sunday School in 1796. Simpson's published works include hymnals, doctrinal works and spiritual biographies. Source: Alumni Cantabrigienses compiled by J. A. Venn (1940), Dictionary of National Biography and Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974)
Ms copy letter from Macclesfield to Lady [Darcy] Maxwell in Edinburgh. Since Bardsley last had the pleasure of seeing Maxwell, he has often thought of her and the rest of her family.
He had a comfortable journey to England and preached by night and day most of the way. The Methodists who he encountered on the road were very kind and he was greeted very warmly upon his arrival in Macclesfield. They have good congregations here and the Lord 'has so many followers that it is no scandal to be a fool for Christ's sake'. There is a very 'dear and worthy' [Anglican] minister [David Simpson] in one of the churches here who has been very useful for several years. He treats the Methodists with a great deal of respect and sometimes attends the preaching. Simpson is however of poor health and the good people pray a great deal for him. He trusts that Maxwell will pray for him [Simpson] and for all here in Macclesfield.
Two of the society died 'well' here recently. Bardsley preached one of the funeral sermons from Hebrews 4:9.
It would give Maxwell much pleasure to see the chapel here and Simspson's church [Christ Church] and the large congregations that they enjoy.
There have lately been horse races in the town which is very unusual for here. Simpson bore testimony against them by preaching every day at about the time that the race began.
It would give Bardsley much pleasure to hear that Maxwell's health has improved. God will reward Maxwell for all her kindness to the Methodists since their arrival in Scotland.
He hopes that she is well enough to go and listen to the preaching of [Joseph] Pilmore, who he hopes will be a great blessing to the dear Edinburgh Methodists.
Bardsley trusts that dear Mrs Thompson continues to meet with Maxwell and hopefully there will another one or two people by this time. He thinks that it would be a blessing to Miss Napier [possibly a member of the prominent Scottish family of that name] if she were to attend. Bardsley's respects should be passed to her [Napier]. His kind love and service should also be passed to Miss Brisbane [a relation of Maxwell - her maiden name was Brisbane] - he hopes that she is well and happy in her soul.
In a postscript, he asks that his respects be passed to Revd. Dr [Alexander] Webster [Alexander Webster (1707-84); Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and a prominent evangelical preacher.] Also to William who should be told that Bardsley's horse should do well.
They have had very little winter weather here yet.
Letters should be sent to Bardsley at the Methodist chapel in Macclesfield.