From Leeds [Venue of the July 1818 Wesleyan Methodist Conference.] to [Mary] Tooth. Moore received Tooth’s letter of the 7th some days after it was sent, brought by Mrs [Francis] Derry and Miss Gray who took tea with them on that Friday. As Tooth had anticipated that concern would be felt at her long silence, Moore will not mention the subject although she had good reason to think that new friends had replaced old ones in Tooth’s remembrance. Moore had to ask the London friends by letter if anyone had heard any news from Madeley. There were many enquiries from people in Birmingham about Tooth, which Moore was unable to answer. The Moores are always very pleased to hear from Tooth and especially concerning the reception that she received on her return [from London] to her dear village. No doubt Tooth’s interest in events at home during her ‘first short absence’ was increased by concern over the state of health of ‘that good man Mr [George] Perks who had so kindly supplied the deficiencies of your absence [as class leader?] and which give me to conclude that you took the right time for your London exertions. This has truly been, as we may yet say, still all is in the Lord’s hands who will doubtless supply you an able help meet.’ [Much of the rest of this paragraph is very difficult to read by reason of its lack of punctuation, convoluted style and legibility].
Moore could not reply to Tooth’s letter before their arrival here as they were very busy with packing for the removal [from Birmingham to a new circuit]. Everything was made ready before their departure except for what may have to be done to the [Birmingham] house in the way of painting, whitewashing and cleaning up. They have left their servants ‘near a month to do it.’ The Moores have no intention of returning to Birmingham. [Stations were formally allocated by Conference, but as early as 1803 it was common for ministers to petition for particular appointments and circuits could also issue invitations. The Moores would therefore have been aware before Conference that they would be moving on. ]
They left at 9am on Tuesday on the Sheffield mail coach and reached Mr [Thomas] Holy’s a little before 9 that night. They are a very fine family and although very wealthy are ‘taught to love Methodist preachers.’ They found Mr [Richard?] Watson there. Mr[?] Holy has been sick with a ‘light touch of the paralytick affliction’ but is feeling better and enjoyed the ‘meeting’ and the company of his friends. They had a most profitable and happy evening. The next day after dinner, to which all the Sheffield preachers and their wives were invited, the Moores set off in a post chaise to Wakefield to meet with their dear friends there. Mr [Thomas] Stanley is the superintendent in Wakefield and it is a ’most lovely situation.’ They discovered their friends [the Stanleys] in good health – Mrs Stanley has just recovered after giving birth six weeks ago. They now have three boys and two girls. Moore’s sister Mrs [Lucy] Entwisle was there with Mary, who is on the way to stay for a few weeks with her uncle in Thorner. ‘They are all smarting[?] under the affliction brought upon them by one whom if we [unreadable word] judge by reasonable appearances, [unreadable word] than the least of them. The poor father I have not been yet to speak to on the subject, altho the Lord has graciously supported him, yet had it taken hold of his constitution I fear, and at least has added years to his age. He told me yesterday I could not believe by seeing him, how very ill he was. The extremely hot weather also and the fatigue of Conference greatly add thereto.’
[Henry’s] ‘call to Leeds’ [to attend the Conference] required them to leave Wakefield the next day, accompanied by [Thomas] Stanley. They arrived in good health. Owing to the difficulty in finding a place to stay near the chapel [where the Conference was held], [Lucy Entwisle] has not yet arrived. ‘The gentleman at whose house Mr [Joseph] Entwisle was the immediate invited guest resides 2 miles from Leeds. They keep their carriage and live in style, and the situation is truly lovely, and he finds it desirable to go there in the evening to sleep, but for my sister [Lucy Entwisle] to be there all day alone would not be too her agreeable, and till some other [unreadable word] can be found, she continues at Wakefield with Mrs Stanley.’
Moore started this letter on Saturday but has kept hold of it until now so that she can inform Tooth of the identity of the next President of Conference. [Henry] was nominated on Saturday together with [Jonathan] Edmondson. This morning, [Joseph] Benson ‘was brought in [nominated] that by dividing the votes the majority might be for Mr E. [Edmondson] which accordingly took place, altho Mr Benson would have certainly been proposed from not having the care of a circuit [Benson was the full-time Connexional Editor] to say nothing of capability with respect to station, we have left ours entirely unto the Lord, and not [unreadable word] one step to interest or procure any one in particular. Various [stations] are spoken of, at present we are down for York – we know all shall be well and rest in that knowledge.’
The heat and [unreadable word] has prevented Moore from seeing anything of the Conference at first hand, as she is lodging some distance from the chapel where it is being held. [Henry] preached yesterday forenoon at Albion Street Chapel to a large congregation and the Lord was certainly present. [Jabez] Bunting was there with many other preachers. The text was John 14:14.
- George Perks (1752-1833) was born at Higford in Shropshire, the son of a wheelwright. He trained in Birmingham as a cabinet-maker and was married in 1779 to Elizabeth Claverley. The couple moved to Madeley soon after. He was converted under the influence of John Fletcher and began to attend Methodist class meetings under the leadership of Mary Fletcher. Perks remained active in Methodism for the remainder of his life, serving as a class leader and as Secretary to the Madeley Benevolent Society. Other members of the Perks family were to be extremely influential in Wesleyan Methodism. George Perks' grand nephew George Thomas Perks (1819-1877) entered the Wesleyan itinerancy and served as President of Conference in 1873. He was also a founder of the Methodist Recorder. Perks' son Sir Robert William Perks (1849-1934) was a prominent solicitor, civil engineer and politician as well as one of the most important Wesleyan laymen of his generation. He served as a Member of Parliament, was appointed Baronet in 1908 and was elected Vice President of the Uniting Conference in 1932. His son Sir Robert Malcom Newbury Perks (1892-1979) was an importatn civil engineer and continued the family tradition of involvement in Methodism. Source: A Dictionary of Methodism in Britain and Ireland, edited by John Vickers (2000), Methodist Magazine 1835, 895-900.
- Thomas Holy (1752-1830) was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, the eldest son of a businessman Thomas Holy and his wife Sarah. His family had early connections with Sheffield Methodism. His maternal uncle John Wilson was closely involved with the erection of the town’s second chapel in 1746 and Holy’s mother Sarah was also a devout member of the society. Holy was educated by Revd. John Ryland of Northampton and in 1766, just after leaving school, joined the Wesleyan society. The well-known itinerant Matthew Mayer of Stockport, a close friend of the Holy family, was a particularly strong spiritual influence. Holy’s father died in 1760 and his mother passed away when the boy was sixteen, leaving him in charge of the family business and with care of his brothers and sisters. Despite his youth, Holy quickly proved himself an astute and principled businessman. During the course of his life he amassed a very large fortune. Holy remained a staunch Methodist throughout his life, although the press of business prevented him from taking on lay offices. John Wesley stayed with him during his visits to Sheffield and used to preach in front of Holy’s house. He was generous in his giving and was particularly concerned with the needs of Methodist ministers and their families. It was one of his customs for example, to present five guineas to preachers called into the itinerancy from the Sheffield circuit He was also a supporter of overseas missions and presided at one of the first public meetings of what became the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society. His greatest contribution was however the erection and maintenance of chapels. It was stated in his obituary that ‘there are few Methodist chapels…within twenty or thirty miles round Sheffield, to whose erection, or subsequent relief from debt, he did not contribute.’ His generosity was not confined to Methodist causes but encompassed all the major Protestant denominations. Holy died after a long decline on 9 November 1830 and was buried in a family vault close to Carver Street Chapel. Source: Arminian Magazine 1832, 1 and Revd. T. Alexander Seed, History of Norfolk Street Chapel and Wesleyan Methodism in Sheffield (London, ).
- Richard Watson (1781-1833) was born at Barton-on-Humber in Lincolnshire. He entered the Wesleyan itinerancy in 1796 but withdrew on doctrinal grounds in 1801 and joined the Methodist New Connexion in 1803. He returned to the Wesleyan Church in 1812 serving as President of Conference in 1826 and as secretary to the Wesleyan Missionary Society from 1821 to 1825. He was a leading opponent of slavery. Watson was a gifted writer and theologian. In 1818 he wrote a reply to Dr Adam Clarke's doctrine of the Eternal Sonship which caused some dispute within the Church. In 1823 he began to publish his Theological Institutes which remained a standard for many years and in 1831 wrote a well-regarded life of John Wesley. Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974)
- Thomas Stanley (1772-1832) entered the Wesleyan itinerancy in 1795. He exercised an active circuit ministry until his death, which occurred suddenly while he was Superintendent of the 6th London Circuit after paying a visit to the home of the musician Charles Wesley. Source: Methodist Magazine 1832, 842.
- Lucy Entwisle (d.1830) was the wife of the prominent Wesleyan minister Joseph Entwisle. Her maiden name was Hind and her sister Mary Ann was the wife of the minister Henry Moore. She died in Deptford, London, following a short illness on 16 October 1834. Source: Methodist Magazine 1834, 880
- Joseph Entwisle (1767-1841) was born in Manchester of Presbyterian and High Church stock. He began preaching at the age of sixteen and entered the itinerancy in 1787. Entwisle was responsible in 1802 for the introduction of stricter regulations for the testing of ministerial candidates and in 1804 became the secretary of the first Wesleyan Missionary Committee. He served as President of Conference in 1812 and 1825 and as the first house governor of the Theological Institution between 1834 and 1838. He died at Tadcaster in Yorkshire three years after retirement. Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)
- Jonathan Edmondson (1766-1842) was converted at an early age and graduated M. A. with the idea of ordination into the Church of England. A member of a Methodist Society, he entered the itinerancy in 1786 and exercised an active circuit ministry for fifty years until ill health forced him into retirement. He was Secretary of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society 1814-15 and President of Conference in 1818. Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974) and Methodist Magazine 1842, 867-868.
- Joseph Benson (1748-1821) was born of farming stock at Mamerby in Cumberland. Intended by his father for the Anglican ministry, Benson received a sound classical education and became a teacher at the age of sixteen. Converted under the influence of a Methodist cousin, he was introduced to John Wesley and was appointed classics master at Kingswood School. In 1769 Benson entered St Edmund Hall Oxford but was denied Anglican orders because of his Methodist sympathies. After serving for a short time as headmaster of the Countess of Huntingdon's ministerial training college at Trevecca, he joined the Methodist itinerancy in 1771. Benson was a great favorite of John Wesley and the two often corresponded. He went on to become President of Conference in 1798 and 1810 and served as its secretary in 1805 and 1809. In 1803 Benson was appointed connexional editor and in this capacity was a major influence on the development of the Methodist Magazine. Despite his own experiences, Benson was a staunch supporter of the link with the Church of England and two of his own sons entered the Anglican priesthood. Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism(1974) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995)
- Jabez Bunting (1779-1858) was born in Manchester, the son of a taylor. His family were devout Methodists and despite their poor circumstances managed to give their son a good education. While studying for a career in medicine, Bunting felt the call to offer himself for the Wesleyan ministry. He was accepted in 1799 and within a few years revealed himself to be a minister of exceptional ability. Bunting served four terms as President of Conference, held office as the secretary of the Conference from 1814 to 1819 and again from 1824 to 1827. He was also Connexional Editor from 1821 to 1824 and played a leading role in the establishment of the Wesleyan Missionary Society. He was the main advocate for the setting up of the Theological Institution in 1834 for the training of ministers. Bunting was without doubt the dominant figure in the Methodist Church of his day. His outstanding talent for leadership and organisational ability placed the Church on a more efficient footing, and provided the framework for continued expansion. His authoritarian style was however very controversial and resulted in several divisions and expulsions, most notably the Wesleyan Reform Movement of the 1840s. Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974)