- James Kershaw (1730-97) was born in Halifax, Yorkshire, the son of a clothier. He was converted after hearing a sermon preached by the Anglican evangelical Henry Venn, and the two subsequently became close friends. He joined the itinerancy in 1752 and accompanied John Wesley on several journeys. He left the work in 1757 and settled as an independent minister in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, where he also apparently sold quack medicines. Kershaw re-entered the itinerancy in 1765 and was involved on Wesley's side in the Calvinistic controversy of the 1770s. However he fell foul of the Methodist leader with the publication of his poem The Methodist, which caused Wesley to restrain his preachers from indulging in unauthorised publications. Kershaw again left the ititerancy in 1776 and returned to Gainsborough before moving to Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire where he died. Kershaw's preaching was highly regarded but his usefulness was impeded by a lack of mental stability. Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995) and Methodist Memorial by Charles Atmore (London 1801), 237
From 'Sister' [in the spiritual sense] S. Flint [in Nottinghamshire?] to Samuel Bardsley at the house of Mr Peach, the saddler, Asbourne). She is at last enabled to write to her much neglected friend who she loves and esteems as a teacher sent by God. She was much obliged for the concern that he expressed for her spiritual well-being. She can honestly say that she never heard Bardsley preach or received a letter from him that did not quicken her soul. Since [John] Wesley's visit, she has enjoyed much communion with God, although she has also been much bothered with business.
She has not found the nearness to God that she longs for. Spiritual matters are discussed. When she examines the state of her soul, she thinks that there is nothing that she would not give up 'excepting a little dress'.
Mr [James?] Kershaw's preaching was very blessed 'to som of the grate' [some of the great] at Nottingham. [Part of the Derbyshire circuit.] Mr Worthington, William Corden's master [employer] 'has found the Lord' and the two Miss Radfords are under conviction of sin - they were very 'gay' ladies fond of being seen in public places, but since the Lord has been striving with them, they have been able to withstand this temptation.
Flint's young daughters send their love to Bardsley.
20 May 1774
Addressed to Mr Lomas at the house of Revd. Lomas. Incomplete detailed notes on theology, with particular regard to Methodist teaching on works, grace and the emphasis on the preaching of repentence and faith.
If Lomas would like to reply, Bardsley can be contacted through Joshua at Moniash.