KINGSWOOD & SOUNDWELL Local History Site
THE METHODIST CHURCH
The Kingswood area played a big part in the birth of the Methodist church. The leading founders of the movement were;
John Wesley 1703-91
Charles Wesley 1707-88
George Whitfield 1714-70
They formed "The Holy Club" while at Oxford University, with the intention of bringing about changes in the Church of England. However the Methodists eventually split from the C of E in 1785. There are now about 80 million Methodists worldwide.
After leaving university and spending some time in the American colonies, Whitfield returned to England, heard about Kingswood and decided that it was a place that definitely needed saving! He started preaching in the open air here, returning to America in 1739.
Before going, Whitfield asked John Wesley to take his place. Wesley was very successful and preached to large crowds at Hanham Mount and Rose Green, before travelling the country looking for converts.
Two years later (1741) Whitfield built a meeting house, Whitfield's Tabernacle, which still stands in Park Road, Kingswood. This is the second oldest Methodist chapel in the world, after John Wesley's New Rooms in Broadmead, Bristol.
To be continued