- William Collins (d.1797) entered the itinerancy in 1767. The first two years of his ministry were spent in Northern Ireland which may indicate that he was himself of Irish extraction. He withdrew from the travelling ministry in 1770 but re-entered the following year. From 1773 he was appointed to English circuits, mainly in the North of England. He apparently died in 1797 while stationed in the Diss circuit. There does not however appear to be an obituary in the Conference minutes which is unusual. Source: Hill's Arrangement 1900 [list of ministers who had died in the work] and Kenneth Garlick, An Alphabetical Arrangement of Wesleyan Methodist Preachers and Missionaries, and the stations to which they were appointed 1739- 1818
From Lowestoft to 'Jere' [his brother Jeremiah] Bardsley in Tib Lane, Manchester. Bardsley received Jerry's letter while he was in Bercles[?] and it gave him great pleasure to hear from his brother. He rejoices especially that Jerry's face is 'zionward'. If he goes on a little longer, it will be well with him forever. He is also pleased that Jerry writes as well as he does and the more that he practices, the better he will be. Bardsley hopes that he reads the scriptures every day and prays. Spiritual matters are further discussed.
He is pleased that his brother has been spared another winter, especially considering its severity.
When Jerry writes again, he should inform Bardsley if [John] Wesley has been with them in Manchester and if the society there is to have a new preaching house. [Manchester's Oldham Street Chapel was opened a year later.]
He asks that his dear Jerry pray for him so that he can endure until the end. His love should be passed to Mrs Braddock and to any friends who ask after him.
In a postscript, he mentions that he is to be in Norwich next Friday and will be staying there for a fortnight. He hopes that Jerry will respond to this letter within a few days.
1 Apr 1780
Copy letter from Norwich to Mr and Mrs Derry.
May the blessing of God be their portion and that of their children. The Lord, who Bardsley serves, has removed him to a considerable distance from his friends but if he was ten thousand times further away, he would still remember their great kindness to him while he was preaching the gospel at Grantham.
Since he was with them, he has been blessed with a reasonable degree of health.
The Lord's work is proceeding in this circuit [Norwich]. The society here and in some of the country places have been increased and a good number have been awakened and converted since the current preachers were stationed here [Bardsley, George Shadford and John Acutt]. Spiritual matters are discussed.
Bardsley's dear love should be passed to all in the Grantham society and to the Methodists at Gunerby and Musson. If Miss Gratton is still at Grantham, his love should be passed to her also and likewise to Mr and Mrs Bulkey at Bredon Hills [Breedon on the Hill?].
His regards should also be passed to [William] Collins [Assistant in the Nottingham circuit between 1778 and 1780] and his wife and the other preachers [John Walker and George Vaughan of the Nottingham circuit].
In a postscript, he mentions that this letter is being carried to Lincoln by a Christian soldier named Darby.