- Thomas Doncaster (fl.1770) was a partner in a firm of bankers in Wigan, Lancashire. He contributed £50 to the erection of the first chapel in the town in 1776. Nothing more is known of him. Source: John Wesley and Wigan, compiled by Marjorie Swindlehurst (Owl Books, 1991), 19
- Alexander Mather (1733-1800) was born in Brechin, Scotland. As a boy, he was involved with the 1745 Jacobite uprising and fought for the Young Pretender at Culloden. Mather moved to London at the age of nineteen and was converted by the preaching of John Wesley. Mather joined the itinerancy in 1757, the first married preacher to be accepted. He was one of Wesley's closest confidants during the last years of the evangelist's life and in 1788 he became the first itinerant to be ordained for work in England. Such was his status within the Connexion that it was widely expected after Wesley's death, that Mather would jointly with Thomas Coke, exercise some kind of episcopal oversight over the Methodist Church. Mather served as President of Conference in 1792 and was a member of all conference committees until 1797. Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995)
From Warrington to [Thomas] Doncaster, banker of Wigan. May heavenly blessings attend Doncaster and his wife. Spiritual matters are discussed. He trusts that Mrs Doncaster is feeling better.
He has the pleasure to inform Doncaster that Mr [Alexander] Mather [Assistant of the Colne circuit between 1777 and 1779] will be in Wigan tomorrow week to preach in the evening. Doncaster should publicise this as much as possible. Mather will be asking for the assistance of the Wigan Methodists for the poor people who were injured by the collapse of the gallery in Colne Chapel.
[See John Wesley's journal entry for June 11th 1777 - 'I had appointed to preach in the new preaching house at Colne. the galleries were but half full when I came into the pulpit. Two minutes after, the whole left gallery fell at once, with a hundred and fifty or two hundred persons.one would have supposed many lives would have been lost; but I did not hear of one.']
In a postscript, he also asks that his regards be passed to Mr Manners and to Brother Leyland and his wife. Bardsley expects to be in Wigan a fortnight tomorrow.