Thursday, 27 October 2011

How did Methodism develop under Jabez Bunting?

Between 1800 and 1830, Wesleyan Methodism faced threats from outside and from within as it sought to find ‘respectability’ and acceptance throughout British society. [1] Three problems dominated discussions: first, the problem of Methodist loyalty; secondly, how and where should Methodism grow; and finally, how should Methodism respond to popular radicalism. The problem was that Methodism seemed particularly revolutionary since enthusiasm and evangelism tapped strong emotions and was believed to have genuinely dangerous potential. Methodists were therefore suspected of radical tendencies, even when their leaders went to great pains to demonstrate their support for the Tory establishment. Within Methodism the struggle was between ‘conservative’ and broadly ‘liberal’ wings both convinced they were being faithful to Wesley’s principles and intentions.  

On Wesley’s death in 1791, ‘Church Methodism’ was still an option and those who advocated it could use Wesley’s refusal to separate himself from the Church of England as a conclusive argument. [2] Though theoretically an option it was soon replaced by the determination to build a church more strongly organised than the Church of England.   The Methodist Conference of preachers was to be the ‘living’ Wesley, entitled to govern autocratically as he had governed but delegating its power to local superintendent ministers appointed by it. With this hierarchical conception of church government went a ‘no politics’ rule that in practice meant no radical politics.   A  ‘liberal’ wing opposed this conception of government arguing that they were faithful  to Wesley’s own impatience with rules,  loyal  to  his appeal  to  the poor over the heads  of the  existing  dominant aristocratic elite. Ministers were regarded as servants rather than masters and laymen had to be included at every level of government from national to local level. The minister’s function was to evangelise and bring new recruits into the Christian family where all were equal. Implied in this alternative view of Methodism was a revolutionary vision of Britain not, as the conservatives maintained, an acceptance of the existing social structure. [3]

Between the 1790s and 1820s, the aristocracy suffered from a growing paranoia and political radicalism and widespread economic distress caused government to be apprehensive. [4] This was also the period when Methodism, that was about 100,000 strong in 1791, reached its point of organisational take-off. Methodists claimed, though probably with some exaggeration, that there were 200,000 members by 1802, 270,000 by 1806 and 367,000 by 1812.   A more moderate, and more reliable, claim saw 167,000 members in England alone in 1815 with 631 preachers and 1,355 chapels, with over half a million members and hearers combined. Figures apart, there is evidence of the Connexion moving boldly into the more settled towns and villages of rural England posing a direct challenge to the Established Church.

For many, Methodism seemed a great threat to stability and Anglican clergy were especially disconcerted by ‘levelling principles’.  Popular religious feeling was, to those who governed, synonymous with fanaticism and fanaticism was an enemy to stability.  The response from the Connexion was twofold. First, the Methodists continued, following Wesley, to insist that their religious beliefs made loyalty to the established order a spiritual imperative. Methodist sermons, conference resolutions and tracts continually emphasised loyalty, for conscience sake, to the government and the Crown.   Secondly, the preachers of the Connexion proclaimed that Methodism dampened the discontent of the lower orders and that its influence was consciously exerted to bring about peace and good order’.  By 1830, these arguments that corresponded with Wilberforce’s views as to the practical, political effects of ‘vital Christianity’ were becoming more widely accepted outside Methodism but it was a slow process.

The second problem that Methodists faced was how they could increase the number of members and what direction that growth should take.   There was a fine line between acceptable mass evangelism and revivalist excesses that had on occasions worried Wesley and increasingly concerned Wesleyan preachers in the early decades of the nineteenth century. Though some expressed theological doubts about revivalism, more important was the political pressure from government and the Church of England about growing Methodist extremism. The problem was made worse by two things. First, American Methodism that was trying to introduce frontier-style revivalism into eastern cities was introduced into England by Lorenzo Dow. Secondly, Methodist revivalist offshoots in Britain began to organise themselves into some kind of connectional system. Arriving in England in late 1805, Dow soon made contact with revivalist Methodists in Lancashire, Cheshire and the Potteries. Under his influence Hugh Bourne and William Clowes adapted the ‘camp-meeting’ technique of the American frontier. Camp meetings were condemned by the Methodist Conference and many chapels were closed to Dow and his followers but they won considerable support.   The result, in 1811, was the formation of the Primitive Methodists that seceded from the parent body. It spread quickly through the Midlands and its membership of 7,842 in 1819 quadrupled to 33,507 by 1824. A roughly similar movement, the Bible Christians flourished in Devon and Cornwall with revival meetings that lasted several days and nights and its application to join the Wesleyan Connexion was refused. [5]

Foremost among those opposed to revivalism was Jabez Bunting.  What Bunting wanted was a marriage between vital religion and educated opinion, because in his view revivalism was not only divisive but also childish and degrading. In their opposition to revivalism Bunting and others failed to distinguish between the temporary outbreaks of zealous revivalism in some northern towns and the massive rural support for the brand of Methodism offered by Bourne and Clowes.   Revivalism was not the monolithic entity that Bunting perceived but was something that had degrees of acceptability and unacceptability.  As in 1797, the Wesleyan leadership decided that the best method of control was expulsion.

Bunting dominated Wesleyan Methodism until his death in 1858. In 1813, Bunting, then only 34 years old, was stationed at Leeds as an itinerant preacher serving under the superintendence of George Morley; stationed nearby was Richard Watson.   There was no doubting Bunting’s orthodoxy.  But Richard Watson, born in 1781, though briefly a Wesleyan itinerant, had joined the New Connexion in 1804.   Watson met Bunting in 1811 when the latter was helping organise opposition to Sidmouth’s bill.   They formed a close friendship and Bunting urged Watson to apply for readmission to the Old Connection that, because of Bunting’s considerable exertions, occurred in 1812. [6] Bunting, Watson and Morley planned the organisation of the Leeds Missionary Society as a model for the Connection.  The usefulness of this initiative in its appeal to the rank-and-file was recognised at the 1814 Conference and led to the introduction of a new rule in relation to the Legal Hundred, the 100 senior ministers who could veto the decisions of the Conference. Previously ministers were received into that body by a system of strict seniority but from 1814, though three out of four vacancies were filled by seniority, the fourth would be a nominee of all the preachers of the Conference. Bunting was the  first minister  to  benefit from the new system and the extent  of  his success  may  be seen  in  his  election  as  Secretary of  the Conference as well.

The final problem that Methodism faced was popular radicalism. [7]  The Conference and the Committee of Privileges were vocal in their support for the existing social order, but the number of circulars they issued testifies to their ineffectiveness among rank-and-file members.   In 1812 preachers, including Bunting fought a hard and potentially dangerous campaign against Luddites, refusing to conduct Luddite funerals and closing chapels to Luddite orators.   The ineffectiveness of institutional solutions came home to Bunting when six Luddites, whose fathers were Methodists, were hanged at York in 1813. [8] Throughout the Midlands and the north Methodism faced competition from, and was influenced by, the new generation of political clubs.   Also in 1812 Wesleyans in the hosiery districts of the East Midlands became involved in the anti-war petitioning of the Friends of Peace. [9]  The changing fortunes of war in late 1812 and 1813 spared the Conference from further embarrassment.

After 1815, Methodism came under attack from two fronts. The radical press claimed it was too reactionary, while the government accused it of harbouring radicals.   Wesleyan leaders transferred responsibilities to local preachers and the result was a squeeze on membership as individuals were expelled for radical actions. Growth in the northern manufacturing districts came to a halt and even went into temporary decline in 1819 and 1820. In Rochdale, for example, there was a 15% decrease in members between 1818 and 1820. Events between 1800 and 1830 had led to a closer definition of Methodism in both a denominational and social   sense. Government pressure, revivalism and radicalism and administrative and financial difficulties led to changes in the structure and organisation of the Methodism. Wesleyan conservatism was now well rooted, at least among those with influence. Methodism was becoming respectable.[10]

Bunting was undoubtedly sincere in his own support for the Methodist mission at home and abroad, but he was also convinced that he was indispensable to that mission’s success.[11] Though the formal basis of his power was not large, his control that over the direction that Methodism took after 1820 was both absolute and clerical. He was often called the ‘Pope of Methodism’. [12]  He was secretary of the Methodist Conference after 1814 and of the missionary society that emerged on a nationwide scale.   He was president of the Conference for the first time in 1820 and again in 1828, 1836 and 1844. He was a member of every important committee, weighty speaker at every Conference, edited the Wesleyan Methodist Magazine, and had a decisive influence on the ‘stationing’ of ministers.   He managed Conference because the majority supported his policies, because he mastered every subject, because he was more moderate in proposals than in manner and because he was a realist.  He persuaded the Wesleyans to open a ‘theological institution’ with himself as active president in 1834. Bunting established both a spiritual ideal and a disciplinary system, ruthlessly punishing any who dared to criticise him.

Bunting redefined the government of the Connexion.  The Conference, which consisted of the Legal Hundred and other preachers, had to some extent been reformed in 1814. But the Connexion remained under Bunting’s control and both senior churchmen and Conference aimed at strong government as the only way of directing Methodist expansion. The burden and responsibility over the local Methodist societies and chapels was carried by local laymen though Conference chose district committees to act during the year.   To overrule a decision by determined local officers who controlled the money invited collision between Conference and its congregations, between central and local government, between high clerics and low laymen.  Bunting’s control over the Stationing committee enabled him to press the authority of itinerant ministers and diminish that of congregations.   In 1818, preachers were authorised to call themselves ‘the Reverend’. In 1836, Conference approved the laying on of hands in all ordinations of ministers.  High Methodists preferred clerical costume but opposition from anti-ritualists in the northern congregations resulted in the 1842 Conference banning them.

As Conference met for only a few days a year and most of the preachers who attended lacked experience of business, real power lay with a permanent executive dominated by Bunting.  When Bunting was absent from sessions of the Conference it was found that it could not conduct sensible business.   The problem with this control was that it allowed little room for opposition or independence. Conference tended to agree with what the executive proposed. The consequence of this was a growing conflict between central government and local initiative.   In any local dispute, Bunting upheld the right of ministers to instruct and to discipline their members. In 1827, for example, he insisted that the Brunswick Chapel in Leeds should have an organ, though most of the Methodists there considered it a symbol of clericalism, if not Popery, and in protest formed their own denomination, the Protestant Methodists. [13]   In 1835, one of his opponents, Samuel Warren of Manchester, was expelled by the Conference and the Lord Chancellor upheld that decision.   Warren and  his supporters wanted local societies to be given more  independence, Methodist  money  to  be controlled  by  laymen, no  legislation without  the consent of a majority of the local societies and the theological institution to be abandoned. These two groups joined forming the Wesley Methodist Association. For those who did not wish to be expelled from Methodism it seemed safer to let Bunting dominate and define Wesleyanism. Teetotalism posed a further threat to the unity of the Connexion in the late 1830s and early 1840s.  In England it was usually led by Methodists and old dissenters and in Cornwall it resulted in members deserting ministers who would not sign the pledge and give the sacraments with unfermented wine.[14] In 1841, Conference prohibited this wine but a prudent Cornish superintendent prevented worse schism by turning a blind eye to some usage of the banned wine.   In 1842, however, a group of about 600 separated from Conference and organised as the Teetotal Wesleyan Methodists. [15]

By the 1840s, ways of worship within Methodism were as diverse as those in the Established Church. At one extreme, some chapels were solemn and liturgical and used the Book of Common Prayer. At the other end, the worship was revivalist. Irrespective, women did not become eminent as local preachers in Wesleyan Methodism, though they did among Primitive Methodists and Bible Christians. [16] Bunting, though he stood for order, recognised the rightfulness of revivals.  It was the extent of revivalism that, by the 1840s, he questioned. He disapproved of ranting and sought to repress it and was careful to disassociate himself from the emotionalism of Primitive Methodists. The most serious opposition to Bunting and the most serious secession came in the 1840s.  Both the Wesleyan Times and anonymous pamphlets or Fly Sheets attacked Bunting’s personality and policies furiously. Though he never acknowledged authorship, James Everett, a disgruntled preacher and satirist, was accused and in 1849 was expelled along with two contributors to the Wesleyan Times.   The venom of the dispute between Conference and Everett was intense and was a reflection of discontent with Bunting’s regime.  The result was the formation of the Wesleyan Reformers and led to up to a third of Wesleyan Methodists leaving the Conference. Some  seceders formed Wesleyan Congregationalist churches, other gravitated towards the Primitive  Methodists and in 1857 Everett succeeded  in  joining with  those who had walked out with Warren in forming the United Methodist Free Church, Liberal in politics and lay in emphasis. Everett became the first president of almost 40,000 members. [17]

The Wesleyan splits left the seceders more radical and those who remained more conservative. But they also aroused many feelings of bitterness and cynicism. Wearmouth called it a ‘spiritual earthquake that shook the very foundations’. [18] They may  also  have  diverted Methodism  from evangelism among  the working  population,  though  even at the nadir of  the  reaction against  Bunting in 1855 there were still some  260,000  adult Wesleyans who accepted his control of their national life and the local rule of ministers acceptable to him. Bunting’s policies of establishing Wesleyan Methodism as a religious grouping between dissent and the Established Church had been bought at the cost of theological repression and expulsion but in the Methodism he had refashioned many people found an acceptable spiritual home.

Methodism accounted for nearly a quarter of the total attendance in the 1851 Religious Census.   It was most dominant in the belt of open arable country stretching from the south Midlands into Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, and in Cornwall and the Isle of Wight.   Its influence was least felt  in  three regions: everywhere south-east  of a line from  Bournemouth  to Great Yarmouth; in the three northern counties of Northumberland, Westmoreland and Cumberland; and, in the counties bordering the Bristol Channel (Gloucestershire Devon and Somerset)  and extending north across the Welsh Marches. The south-eastern counties of Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and large parts of Wiltshire and Berkshire were devoid of Wesleyan Methodism in 1851 and no sustained effort was made to introduce it till 1865. Why this area was a ‘Methodist Desert’ was partly a result of Wesley’s policy of concentrating on urban areas where the Church of England was failing in its functions and in areas that would readily accept his message. The situation in the south-east was less responsive since the Anglican parochial system had not broken down as it had in the north.   By contrast, Methodism was highly successful in the Isle of Wight after 1800 when it stepped in to fill the vacuum left by the Church of England. A similar situation existed in Cornwall that Methodism capitalised on. By 1851, Methodist influence was at its peak and all branches of the original Connexion were represented. Wesley also paid frequent visits to Devon but it was not until after 1850 that Methodism took off but never to the same extent as Cornwall. The strong position of Dissent in Devon before 1740 helps to explain this compared to the existence of fewer Dissenting chapels in Cornwall.

Methodism was never a monolithic denomination. During Wesley’s lifetime the only division within Methodism was between those who subscribed to a Calvinist theology led by George Whitefield and the Arminian Wesleyans. The nineteenth century saw its progressive decline as individual churches either rejoined mainstream Methodism or became Congregational churches. In England the only concentration of Calvinistic Methodists was in a belt from Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, south through London into Kent. The Methodist New Connexion, formed into a separate denomination in 1797, was virtually identical to the parent body, except for the power it gave to the laity.[19]   It drew its membership almost exclusively from north of the Severn-Wash line and in 1851 there were only nine churches south of that line: five in London, three in Cornwall and one in Norfolk. The New Connexion was essentially a phenomenon of the Midlands and the north and its greatest strength lay in the complex of counties formed by Cheshire, Nottinghamshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire and the West Riding and into the north-east.

Primitive Methodism arose as a result of attempts to stifle enthusiasm that were taking place in the main body of Methodism. Originating in Staffordshire, it spread quickly between 1810 and 1850.   From its original home it expanded along the line of  the River  Trent,  encountering  considerable success  in the  East Riding  and  then  it  spread northwards into Durham  and  south through Lincolnshire  into Norfolk. On reaching the Bible Christian strongholds in south-east and south-west England Primitive Methodism lost its impetus.   By 1851, it was firmly established as a denomination accounting for over 20% of all Methodists, and the second largest Methodist group. Primitive Methodism was largely rural in character and, with the exception of Durham and the Potteries; its main strength was in the predominantly agricultural counties of England. It was not until after 1850 that its appeal to the urban worker became obvious.  Primitive Methodism was used, to a certain extent, by nineteenth century agricultural labourers as a means through that they could fight for social and economic recognition and the Primitive Methodist chapels provided the rural worker with a symbol of independence and defiance of the established social order.

The Bible Christians were a product of the West Country and, unlike the other branches of Methodism they were not a breakaway body. [20]   Though they adopted features similar to Methodism when they applied for membership of the Wesleyan Connexion this was rejected because of the independent character of its charismatic leader William O’Bryan.   The Bible Christians opened their first chapel at Shebbear in north Devon in 1815 and four years later held their first Conference.   In the early 1820s, the leaders of the movement sent a mission to Kent and London and also accepted an invitation to take their cause to Somerset.   By 1851, there were small groups of Bible Christians all along the south coast from Cornwall to Kent.   However, over large parts of England there was little success. The appeal of Bible Christianity, like Primitive Methodism, was in rural society and provided a religious position from which to attack the economic system symbolised by the Church of England and Anglican landowners.  It is no surprise that the Bible Christians found industrial towns difficult to evangelise. Both Primitive Methodism and Bible Christianity arose in response to the need to fill the religious vacuum left by the Church of England among rural workers.   The spread of Primitive Methodism was halted when it reached the Bible Christian strongholds and the converse was true.  The similarities between them made it unlikely that both groups could flourish in the same locality though this did occur in Hampshire and Cornwall. [21]

The Protestant Methodists, formed in 1827, united with the followers of Samuel Warren to make the Wesley Methodist Association in the 1830s. It was, with the exception of Cornwall, weak everywhere south of the Severn-Wash line.  The main concentrations were in Cheshire, Lancashire, Cumberland and Westmoreland, with eastern extensions into Durham and Yorkshire and then south in Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire. It made little headway in the strongly revivalist counties of the east: Norfolk, Lincolnshire, the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire. The Wesleyan Methodist Reformers, formed when James Everett was expelled in 1849, was barely organised by 1851.   To a large extent, the Reformers complemented the Association in geographical distribution and in 1857 they joined with the Association to form the United Free Methodist Church with an initial membership of around 40,000.

The 1851 Religious Census appeared to show a resurgent Nonconformity and a defensive Anglicanism. Most contemporaries accepted this but it is deceptively simple. By the 1840s, Nonconformity was beginning to enter a phase of limited growth that eventually led to decline.   The economic, demographic and cultural conditions of the previous one hundred years had been highly receptive to Nonconformist recruitment. But three separate circumstances began to alter this situation. First, effective Anglican competition emerged with the resurgence of the Church of England after 1832. Secondly, society was changing in ways unfavourable to Nonconformity. The decline of traditional supporters like the urban artisan and the tenant farmers and agricultural labourers meant that Victorian Nonconformity depended  heavily for support on  those  social groups, like the middle-classes, least insulated from  the influence of the religious Establishment. Finally, Nonconformist religious culture was evolving institutional and denominational priorities that slowed down the rate of growth and by 1851 Nonconformity was just passed the zenith of its power.


[1] Methodism between 1820 and 1914 can be approached in the following general works: Davies, R. E., George, A. S., and. Rupp, E. G., (eds.), A History of the Methodist Church in Great Britain, Vol.  2, (Epworth Press), 1978, Vol. 3, (Epworth Press), 1980, and the documentary Vol. 4, (Epworth Press), 1987,   Hempton, David, Methodism: empire of the spirit, (Yale University Press), 2005, Semmel, B., The Methodist Revolution, (Heinemann), 1974, the brief study by Bebbington, D., Victorian Nonconformity, (Headstart History), 1992, and Hempton, D., Methodism  and Politics in British Society  1750-1850, (Hutchinson), 1984. More specific older studies include Edwards, M., After Wesley: a study of the social and political influence of Methodism in the middle period, 1791-1849, (Epworth Press), 1948, Taylor, E. R., Methodism and Politics 1791-1851, (Cambridge University Press), 1935, and Wearmouth, R. F., Methodism and the Working-class Movements of England 1800-1850, (Epworth Press), 1937.  Currie, R., Methodism Divided: A Study in the Sociology of Ecumenicalism, (Faber), 1968 gives full weight to the secessions.  

[2] Lloyd, Gareth, ‘“Croakers and Busybodies”: The Extent and Influence of Church Methodism in the Late 18th and Early 19th Centuries’, Methodist History, Vol. 42, (1), (2003), pp. 20-32.

[3] Bowmer, J. C., Pastor and people: a study of church and ministry in Wesleyan Methodism from the death of John Wesley (1791) to the death of Jabez Bunting (1858), (Epworth Press), 1975.

[4] Vickers, J. A., Thomas Coke: An Apostle of Methodism, (Epworth Press), 1969, and Thomas Coke and world Methodism, (World Methodist Historical Society), 1976, are good studies of a neglected figure who led the movement between Wesley and Bunting. See also, Smith, W. T., ‘Thomas Coke’s doctorate’, Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society, Vol. 41, (1978), pp. 169-173, and Lloyd, Gareth, ‘The papers of Dr Thomas Coke: a catalogue’, Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, Vol. 76, (2), (1994), pp. 205-320.

[5] See, Kendall, H. B., The Origins and History of the Primitive Methodist Church, 2 Vols.,  (Robert Bryant), 1919, Milburn, G. E., Primitive Methodism, (Epworth Press), 2002, and Wilkinson, J. T., Henry Bourne 1772-1852, (Epworth Press), 1952, examine the major secession, Shaw, T., The Bible Christians, (Epworth Press), 1975, a less important one. See also, Walford, John, Memoirs of the life and labours of the late venerable Hugh Bourne: Founder of the English Camp Meetings, and the Originator, and for Twenty-two Years Editor of the Primitive Methodist Magazines, 2 Vols., (T. King), 1855-1856, reprinted Antliff, W., (ed.), 2 Vols., (Berith Publications), 1999, and Brittain, J. N., ‘Hugh Bourne and the Magic Methodists’, Methodist History, Vol. 46, (2008), pp. 132-140.

[6] See, Bunting, Jabez, Memorials of the late rev. Richard Watson, including the funeral sermon and brief biographical notices, (John Mason), 1833.

[7] Dolan, John, The Independent Methodists: A History, (James Clarke Company), 2005, provides the definitive history of Independent Methodism from its beginnings shortly after the death of John Wesley. The early Independent Methodist societies arose from breaches in Wesleyan Methodism over involvement in radical politics and the refusal to allow writing to be taught in Wesleyan Sunday Schools. Other societies came into being through the attraction of a ‘free’ ministry, particularly in communities where poverty was prevalent; this attracted some dissident Primitive Methodists.

[8] Hargreaves, John A., ‘Methodism and Luddism in Yorkshire, 1812-1813’, Northern History, Vol. 26, (1990), pp. 160-185.

[9] Cookson, J. E., The Friends of Peace: Anti-war Liberalism in England 1793-1815, (Cambridge University Press), 1982, pp. 190-191, 245-249.

[10] Engemann, T. S., ‘Religion and political reform: Wesleyan Methodism in nineteenth-century Britain’, Journal of Church & State, Vol. 24, (1982), pp. 321-336, provides a good summary.

[11] Hempton, David, The Religion of the People: Methodism and Popular Religion c. 1750-1900, (Routledge), 1996, pp. 91-108, considers Bunting’s formative years to 1820.

[12] Ward, W. R., (ed.), The Early Correspondence of Jabez Bunting, (Royal Historical Society), 1972, and Early Victorian Methodism: The Correspondence of Jabez Bunting 1830-1858, (Oxford University Press), 1976. See also, Hayes, A. J., and Gowland, D. A., (eds.), Scottish Methodism in the early Victorian period: the Scottish Correspondence of the Rev. Jabez Bunting 1800-57, (Edinburgh University Press), 1981, and Bunting, T. P., and Rowe, G. S., The life of Jabez Bunting, D.D., 2 Vols., (Harper & Brothers), 1859, 1887. Kent, J. H. S., Jabez Bunting: The Last Wesleyan, (Epworth Press), 1955, and his defence of Bunting in The Age of Disunity, (Epworth Press), 1966, puts one side of this leading figure while ibid, Currie, R., Methodism Divided, is more hostile. Ibid, Bowmer, J. C., Pastor and People, recognises Bunting’s arrogance but regards him as essentially a defender of ‘classical’ Wesleyan church order.

[13] Hughes, J. T., ‘The story of the Leeds ‘non-cons’: formation of the Wesleyan Protestant Methodists’, Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society, Vol. 39, (1973), pp. 73-76.

[14] Lander, John K., ‘The early days of teetotalism in Cornwall’, Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, ns, Vol. II, (2002), pp. 85-100, and Rule, John, ‘Explaining revivalism: the case of Cornish Methodism’, Southern History, Vol. 20-21 (1998-1999), pp. 168-188.

[15] Small, William, Methodism versus Teetotalism: The Despotism of modern Wesleyan Methodism, (Ingram and Cooke), 1841, is a witty attack on Bunting over the issue.

[16] Lloyd, Jennifer M., Women and the Shaping of British Methodism: Persistent Preachers, 1807-1907, (Manchester University Press), 2010, considers the experience of Bible Christian and Primitive Methodist female evangelicals especially before 1850.

[17] Beckerlegge, Oliver A., The United Methodist Free Churches: a study in freedom, (Wesley Historical Society Lecture), 1957, and Gowland, D. A., Methodist Secessions: The origins of Free Methodism in three Lancashire towns, Manchester, Rochdale, Liverpool, (Manchester University Press), 1979.

[18] Wearmouth, R. F., Methodism and the struggle of the working classes, 1850-1900, (Epworth Press), 1964, p. 91.

[19] Larsen, Timothy, ‘Methodist New Connexionism: lay emancipation as a denominational raison d’etre’, in Lovegrove, Deryck W., (ed.), The Rise of the Laity in Evangelical Protestantism, (Routledge), 2002, pp. 153-164.

[20] Ibid, Shaw, T., The Bible Christians,

[21] See, Few, Janet, ‘Uproar and Disorder?: The Impact of Bible Christians on Communities of Nineteenth Century North Devon’, Family and Community History, Vol. 12, (1), (2009), pp. 37-50.

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