Epworth Rectory

Epworth Rectory

Epworth – the Home of the Wesleys

The Rev Samuel Wesley became the Rector of the Parish Church of St Andrew, Epworth in 1695. He, with his wife, Susanna, made the Epworth Rectory the home for their family.

On 17th June 1703, John, the second surviving son of the family was born. This stamp cover celebrates the 300th anniversary of the birth of John Wesley. The Epworth Rectory home fashioned John’s formative years, being educated with his siblngs by his mother, and brought up within a strict Christian environment.

By the age of 8 he had taken his first communion in the Parish Church.

On 9th February 1709 fire broke out at night whilst the Wesley Family were in bed and the Rectory was destroyed.

Epworth was the home of the Wesley family from 1697 to 1735. The Old Rectory, rebuilt by their father Samuel Wesley after the fire of 1709, remained the family home until he died in 1735.

In 1956 it was purchased by the World Methodist Council and is a major centre of Methodist pilgrimage from March to October. In 2006 a Heritage Lottery Fund grant made further restoration plans possible.

John Wesley returned to his birthplace in 1742 to find a society already established there, and he came almost every other year until 1790.

He preached often in the old market place and on one memorable occasion, in 1742, when refused the pulpit in the parish church, he preached on his father's tomb in the churchyard.

But Epworth was never a Methodist stronghold. The first chapel (1758) was replaced by a larger one in 1821. An Epworth Circuit existed briefly 1765-66 and more permanently from 1776.

John and Charles Wesley