Jabez Bunting was born in Manchester, on Ascension Day, May 13th 1779, of humble parentage. When very young his mother took him to Oldham Street Chapel, and presented him to John Wesley. And the old apostle devoutly blessed him.
In 1799 Bunting was accepted as a candidate for the ministry and was appointed to the Oldham Circuit.
He was elected Secretary of the Methodist Conference in 1814-19 and 1824-27. Bunting was a popular preacher and an effective preacher from the pulpit. In 1818 he was given an M.A. degree by the University of Abderdeen.
He was President of the Methodist Conference four times, 1820, 1828, 1836 and 1844.
Under him, Methodism ceased to be a society based upon Anglican tradition, and became a distinct church.
Politically, he was a conservative and as the President of the Methodist Conference he actually supported the transportation of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, despite the fact that they were closely linked to Methodism as their leaders were local preachers.
He was Secretary of the Missionary Society from 1833-51.
He was the one and only President of the Theological Institution 1834-58.
Talented in many ways, at his best a wise and conscientious statesman, sacrificially serving his beloved Methodism, he nevertheless became the symbol of officialism.
He became a supernumerary in 1851 and died in 1858.
He has been called ‘The Last Wesleyan’.
His eldest son, William Maclardie Bunting (1805-1866) was also a distinguished Wesleyan minister, and his grandson, Sir Percy William Bunting (1836-1911), son of T.P. Bunting, became prominent as a liberal nonconformist and editor of the Contemporary Review.