- George Escrick (1723-1805) was descended from an 'ancient and respectable family' from the vicinity of York. According to Escrick's obituary of 1805, there were collateral branches of the family still living in 'considerable opulence and style' and Escrick himself could recall a relation who was Lord Mayor of York. Escrick's own father was brought low by loose living and intemperance and he moved to Bolton in Lancashire where Escrick was born. He was brought up to be a weaver and as a young man was fond of hunting and fighting 'being very stout and exceedingly resolute'. He was also a professed churchman and regular in his attendance at the parish church. Escrick attended Methodist open-air preaching at Bolton cross sometime towards the end of the 1740s and was converted after wrestling in over-night prayer in the hills close to his home. He then joined the Methodist society in Bolton and continued in membership until his death many years later. Escrick served as a class leader and often provided hospitality for the preachers. He also entertained John Wesley on several occasions. Escrick possessed great energy and had a love for 'plain experimental preaching. He regularly walked twelve miles to Manchester for the early morning worship before returning home for breakfast and the commencement of his day's work. He played a very active role in the establishment and running of Bolton Sunday School. Escrick was described in his obituary as a man of 'strong passions.rough in his manners, apt to be angry at times and a little too positive in his way'. He once walked thirty-two miles to Liverpool to castigate John Wesley for leaving Bolton off his itinerary; having delivered his rebuke he left the room and walked home again. He was married four times and had a son by his third wife on whom he doted but who proved to be a burden and disappointment to his father. Source: Arminian Magazine 1808, 126-130
- Thomas Hanby (1733-96) was born in Carlisle, the son of the manager of a woollen factory. He was orphaned at an early age and was brought up by his aunt at Barnard Castle. Hanby was raised an Anglican but was converted by a Methodist shoemaker from Leeds, while making his living as a stuff-maker. He entered the itinerancy in 1754 and exercised a long and successful circuit ministry in England and Scotland. He was appointed a member of the Legal Hundred in 1784 and the following year was one of those ordained by John Wesley for the work in Scotland. Hanby was a keen supporter of the right of Methodists to receive the sacraments from their own preachers. He served as President of Conference in 1794. Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995)
From Sheffield to George Escrick in Bolton. Bardsley has sent the knives and he hopes that they will be pleasing. [Sheffield was well-known for its high quality steel products.] Escrick should send the money with Mr [Thomas] Hanby [stationed in this year in the Liverpool circuit which included Bolton] to Leeds or he can bring it himself. His love should be passed to Escrick's wife and children and all in the Methodist society.