Saturday, 10 March 2007

The Methodist influence

During the last week two people have written to me about the strong Methodist influence in their Daglish family histories. This does seem to be common amongst many of the Daglish familes, including my own - and I think this would be an interesting subject for further research.

John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church, spent much of his life touring Britain and Ireland preaching to crowds - often numbering many thousands - in the open air. It is estimated he covered over 250,000 miles and preached some 40,000 sermons, and until his death in 1791 he continued to campaign tirelessly on social issues and for universal education.

His journals hold a record of his travels and show that he visited the North-East of England on 48 occasions, visiting towns and villages sand giving birth to Methodism in the region.

Methodism appealed to the working people with a down-to-earth, more informal approach to religion. Wesley encouraged people to work hard and to save for their future; he also warned about the dangers of gambling and drinking.

Later during the nineteenth century the methodist movement split into groups, such as the Prmitive Methodists, which set up their own meeting places. These divisions ended in 1932 when most of the various strands of Methodism were reunited to form the Methodist Church of Great Britain.

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