Early Methodist Personal Papers: Volume 1 contains the correspondence of fifteen individuals,many of these were Methodist preachers, others influenced the Evangelical movement in some way. Mostof the 216 letters in this collection is made up of the letters of four individuals: Atherton,Atmore, Ball and John Barber. The correspondence of these four accounts for two thirds of thetotal.
Thomas Adam (1701-84)
Adam was born in Leeds, the son of the town clerk. He was educated at Wakefield and Hart HallOxford and was ordained in 1724, becoming the Rector of the parish of Winteringham in Lincolnshire.
Adam experienced an evangelical conversion in 1748 and went on to exercise a major influenceover the Evangelical movement within the Church of England, especially after the publication of hisLectures on the Church Catechism in 1753. He was a particularly close friend of his fellowevangelical clergyman Samuel Walker of Truro.
As a staunch Anglican, Adam was opposed to what he regarded as the irregularities of Methodism.
Source:Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974),Kenneth Hylson-Smith,Evangelicals in the Church of England1734-84 (1988),29-30 andDictionary of EvangelicalBiography, 1739-1860, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)
John Addison (d.1788)
Addison was born in Broughton, Lancashire and was educated at Queens College Oxford. He graduatedin 1732 and was ordained into the Anglican ministry. He became Vicar of Urswick in 1744 andministered there until his death in 1788.
John Allen (1737-1810)
Allen was born at Chapel-en-le-Frith in Derbyshire of mixed Anglican and Presbyterian parentage.He joined the Methodist society at Chinley as a young man and became a local preacher. Allen enteredthe itinerancy in 1766 and exercised an active circuit ministry, mainly in the North of England,until poor health forced him into retirement in 1799. He died in Liverpool. Source:Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, 1739-1860, edited byDonald Lewis (1995)
Francis Asbury (1745-1816)
Asbury was the first general superintendent or bishop of American Methodism. He was born nearBirmingham in England and came under Methodist influence at an early age. Asbury was accepted as alocal preacher at the age of eighteen and joined the itinerancy four years later. At the 1771Conference, he was one of five volunteers to go to America.
At first subordinate to senior colleagues like Joseph Pilmore and Richard Boardman, withintwelve months of his arrival Asbury was appointed by John Wesley to be his temporary assistant incharge of all American work. During the War of Independence, Asbury was the only British Methodistpreacher to remain in America and his pre-eminent position was confirmed by John Wesley in 1784,when he was consecrated general superintendent, a position which he held jointly with Dr ThomasCoke.
For thirty years Asbury made annual tours of the eastern United States, preaching sermons andadministering to the far-flung Methodist congregations. During his lifetime and at least partly dueto his influence and supervision, the American Methodist Church expanded to become one of the mostimportant Protestant denominations in the United States.
Source:Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974)and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860,edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995)
John Ashall (c.1770-1809)
Ashall entered the Wesleyan itinerancy in 1794. His active circuit ministry lasted untilsuperannuation in 1804, probably due to ill health. He died five years later in Stockport.
Source:Minutes of Conference 1809 and An Alphabetical Arrangement of WesleyanPreachers...1739-1818, compiled by Kenneth Garlick
William Ashman (c.1740-1818)
Ashman was born at Holcombe in Somerset. Converted at the age of seventeen, he entered theitinerancy in 1765. He travelled in the South of England and Wales until 1798 when he superannuatedto his native town where he continued to act as a class leader and preach locally until a short timebefore his death in February 1818.
Source:Minutes of Conference 1818 and An Alphabetical Arrangement of WesleyanPreachers...1739-1818, compiled by Kenneth Garlick
William Atherton (1775-1850)
Atherton was born at Lamberhead Green near Leigh in Lancashire. He entered the Wesleyanitinerancy in 1797 and served with great distinction in England and Scotland until shortly beforehis death.
Atherton was well-known for his forceful preaching and considerable debating skills. In 1846 hewas elected to the office of President of Conference, despite his opposition to the dominance ofJabez Bunting.
Source:Minutes of Conference 1851 and Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974)
Miles Atkinson (1741-1811)
Atkinson was born in Ledsham, Yorkshire, the son of Christopher Atkinson, the evangelical rectorof Thorp Arch in Yorkshire. He was educated at home and Peterhouse Cambridge. After graduation in1763 Atkinson became Curate of Leeds Parish Church and headmaster of Drighlington School. In 1768 hewas appointed lecturer at Leeds and was firmly converted to evangelical views by readingDoddridge’sRise and Progress of Religion in theSoul. In 1771 he joined the Elland Clerical Society and was one of its first tutors ofordinands. Atkinson was morning lecturer at Whitchurch near Leeds (1773-80), Rector of Walton on theHill in Lancashire (1780-88), Vicar of Leek (1785-1803) and of Kippax (1783-1811) where heestablished Sunday Schools for over 2,000 children. He also built St Paul’s Leeds and servedas its first minister from 1793 to 1811. Atkinson’s sons Christopher and Thomas both followedhim into the ministry. Source: Dictionary of EvangelicalBiography 1739-1860, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)
John Atlay (b.1736)
John Atlay was born at Sheriff Hutton in Yorkshire. He was converted at the age of 22 and enteredthe itinerancy in 1763. After serving circuits in Yorkshire and Scotland for ten years, he wasappointed by John Wesley to be his book steward in London.
By 1785 Atlay was showing signs of disenchantment with Methodism, which included his attendanceat Moravian worship. In 1788 he supported the Dewsbury Chapel trustees in their dispute with Wesleyover the power to dismiss preachers. He severed his connection with the Methodists after theConference of that year and became an independent minister at Dewsbury.
Source:Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974)and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, 1739-1860by Donald Lewis (1995)
Charles Atmore (1759-1826)
Atmore was born at Heacham in Norfolk, the son of a ship’s captain. After the early deathof his mother, he was raised by his aunt and uncle. Atmore was converted by the ministry of JosephPilmore in 1779 and became a local preacher before entering the itinerancy in 1781.
Despite his youth, Atmore was named to the Legal Hundred in 1784 and was ordained by Wesley forthe work in Scotland in 1786. He was President of Conference in 1811 and was actively involved inthe establishment of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society.
Source:Dictionary of Evangelical Biography,1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995
William Aver (1768-1835)
Aver was converted in early life and entered the itinerancy in 1790. His active circuit ministrylasted until 1835 and was spent principally in the South-west of England. Shortly before the 1834Conference he retired to Penzance where he died in January 1836 after an illness lasting severalmonths. He is described in his Conference obituary as ‘naturally endowed with considerableshrewdness and power of discrimination, he was remarkable also for the gentleness of hismanners’.
Source: Hill’s Arrrangement andMinutes of Conference 1835
George Baldwin (1762-1810)
Baldwin was converted in early life under the ministry of the Methodist preacher George Snowden.He became a local preacher and in 1786 entered the itinerancy. Baldwin’s active ministry oftwenty-four years was exercised in England and Wales. He died at Burslem in Staffordshire after anillness lasting several months.
Source: PLP 4/29.8,Minutes of Conference 1811and An Alphabetical Arrangement of Wesleyan MethodistPreachers...1739-1818, compiled by Kenneth Garlick
Hannah Ball (1734-92)
Hannah Ball was born in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, the daughter of a lace-maker. She wasinfluenced by the printed sermons of the Methodist itinerant Thomas Walsh and was converted by JohnWesley in 1765. She began to keep a diary the following year and this was published in 1796 as hermemoirs.
Ball founded a Sunday school in 1769, which pre-dated the efforts of the more famous pioneerRobert Raikes. She was supported by the Methodist preacher Samuel Wells. After her death, the schoolwas run by her sister Ann.
Source:Dictionary of Evangelical Biography,1739-1860, edited by Donald Lewis (1995).
John Barber (1757-1816)
Barber was born in the Peak District of Derbishire. While working as a farm labourer, he attendedevening school and proved a diligent pupil. Barber was converted in 1778 and joined a Methodistclass which was led by his employer. Barber moved to Chinley in Derbishire and started working as aweaver, while at the same time labouring as a local preacher. He was heard by Wesley in 1782 to theevangelists's satisfaction and was appointed to itinerate in the Birmingham circuit later that year.Despite his lack of years in the ministry, Barber was appointed to the Legal Hundred in 1784 and wasordained by Wesley for the work in Scotland in 1788. Barber served twice as President of Conference(1807 and 1815) and was a leading member of the important Committee of Privileges. Barber diedsuddenly during his second presidential term. Source:Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995)
Thomas Barber (1746-1825)
Thomas Barber was born in County Fermanagh, Ireland. He was converted under the ministry of JohnSmith and John Wesley. Early in 1779, Barber commenced travelling as a preacher at his own expensein parts of Ulster. The famous Wesleyan minister Adam Clarke was one of his early converts. Laterthat year, he was officially accepted by the Conference and was appointed to the Sligo circuit wherehe laboured with great success. In 1780 he was sent to the Waterford circuit where he gave specialattention to working with young children.
Barber's extensive circuit ministry was exercised throughout Ireland and ended in superannuationin 1808. He retired to Monaghan where he died after a long period of ill health. Source: Pioneer Preachers of Irish Methodism by Robert Gallagher(1965), 94-95, Minutes of Conference 1826 andHistory of Methodism in Ireland, Vol.1-2 by C. H.Crookshank (1885).