250th Anniversary of the Birth of Robert Carr Brackenbury


Robert Carr Brackenbury was born 28th April 1752 at Panton House, near Wragby in Lincolnshire. He was intended for Holy Orders but this idea was abandoned whilst still a student. He was educated at Felsted in Essex and St Catherine’s College, Cambridge.

A meeting with a travelling preacher in Hull led to his becoming a Methodist and very soon he became a preacher. He first met John Wesley in 1776. By that time, he was living in Raithby the heir to a large Lincolnshire fortune and estate. He developed a deep friendship with John Wesley and at times accompanied him on his travels.

Robert’s first wife died in 1782 only two years after their marriage. In 1783 he was sent by Wesley to the Channel Islands where he stayed for seven years engaged in pioneering work for the Methodists in Jersey and Guernsey.

In 1784 he was included by Wesley in the Legal Hundred which was a sign of Wesley’s affection for Brackenbury who, though a Methodist preacher, had not been received into Full Connexion.

He remarried in 1795 and his second wife, Sarah Holland, a Leicestershire woman and an enthusiastic Methodist, continued to support the Methodist causes in the Channel Islands, Portland and other areas where her husband had worked until she died in 1847.

In addition to his pioneering work for the Methodist cause in the Channel Islands he pioneered work in the Isle of Portland and was influential in the growth of Methodism in Lincolnshire. 

This great friend of John Wesley, and the Squire of Raithby Hall by Spilsby was by nature a modest man. He has been described as poet, preacher, philanthropist and mystic. He built the chapel at Raithby which John Wesley opened in 1779. It is still in use, though not owned by the Methodist Church. There is an annual Brackenbury Memorial Lecture.

He died 11 August 1881 and was buried at Raithby Parish Church, as were his two wives.

Itinerant Preachers

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