The Methodist Church Heritage News Spring 2018






Welcome to our spring newsletter, in which you will find features on the new developments at Tolpuddle, our new Liaison Officer for Methodist Archives, and an update on the ‘Writing to Wesley’ project that we launched in last year’s spring edition.






In the last Heritage News, Jo made a welcome return to this column while I finalised the new Methodist Heritage Handbook.

I hope you will have all seen the updated edition by now. If you haven’t, you can order a copy FREE by emailing or calling 0845 017 8220.

Remember, if you support a local heritage site or historic chapel, you can order (and re-order) a large stock to make sure you have plenty to give to all your visitors, and you can order a stand to display the handbooks in.

As a special offer for 2018, all orders received before 31 December will be delivered with free postage, regardless of quantity. This year marks the tenth anniversary of the launch of the Methodist Heritage strategy.

To celebrate this, the Heritage Committee is planning a special event in Oxford on 18 August. More details will follow, but if you would like to participate, contact me at


The new Liaison Officer for Methodist Archives           

Jon Purcell introduces himself, and explains why his new involvement with Methodist Archives is his dream job.

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Writing to Wesley

Readers may recall the launch of this project last year (see the Spring 2017 edition).

Since then, more than 60 people have tried their hand at transcribing these letters. We asked some of them how they had found the experience.


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New beginnings at Tolpuddle


The Tolpuddle Old Chapel Trust bought the derelict 1818 building in 2015, and are successfully fundraising for its renovation as “a quiet place in the heart of the village” – a community space that will also tell the story of the Martyrs and their Methodist faith.

Read more


Relaunch of Society of Cirplanologists

The Society of Cirplanologists, established in 1955, has recently been relaunched with a new team of officers.

From its inception, the Society’s purpose has been to “bring together for study, research and fellowship those people interested in any aspect of circuit plans, especially those plans printed before 1970, and to encourage the deposit of such plans in the nearest Record Office or Archives Centre”.


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1918–2018 Remembrance 100


100 days of prayer and peacemaking

More people than ever are expected to observe Remembrance Sunday on 11 November this year, on the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War 1.

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Stories on the Mantelpiece

Just as no chapel vestry wall was complete without a print of Henry Perlee Parker’s painting The Rescue of John Wesley from the Epworth Rectory Fire, no Victorian middle-class Methodist mantelpiece was complete without a Wesley bust or figurine.

Collector Stephen Duckworth’s new book covers this phenomenon and its wider context.


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John Wesley, man of many faces


Dr Peter Forsaith, Research Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History, Oxford Brookes University, and member of the Methodist Heritage Committee, is better acquainted with the many depictions of John Wesley than most. His new book, Image, Identity and John Wesley: a Study in Portraiture, is not just about portraits, but a critical study of the image(s) of Wesley; how these originated, how they were used and how they were seen.

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Wesleyan package tours? Get away!


I t is well known that travel agent Thomas Cook started out as a Baptist tour guide and organiser for temperance and Sunday school excursions.


However, it is less well known that Lunn Poly, now part of TUI UK (formerly Thomson), had similar origins.


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