John Wesley in Worcester

  • 15 Jan 2012
  • Worcester People and Places
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The City's first Wesleyan chapel was built in New Street in 1772, and a plaque on the wall commemorates the building. The first recorded visit of Wesley to the County was in 1761, when he preached in the 'Abbey Church' at Evesham.

In 1768 he came to the City and his diary records: 'there as difficulty to know where to preach, since no room was large enough to contain the people and it was too cold for them to stand abroad' . The New Street Chapel was built in 1772, and in March of that year, Wesley preached in it, 'but for a time, the work of God was hindered by a riotous mob, but the Mayor cut them short - and ever since we have been in perfect peace'.

Wesley visited the City every year, and by the year 1788 the number of the sect had grown to 209, but only 60 of them were men. In 1861 there was living in a cottage near the Riding School in Frog Lane, an old Lady named Jane Crump, who heard Wesley preach in 'The Riding House', before the chapel was built, and who recalled that 'people used to rise as early as five in the morning to hear him preach, and so far from insulting him, would go some distance from the City to meet him when they knew of his coming to Worcester, and escort him into the city', John Wesley was always fond of Worcester and praised the citizens, and it was not flattery, because Gloucester is not meted the same praise.