Just before Bramwell came to Sheffield there was a powerful revival, which is described in the following letter from the previous minister.
"REV. AND DEAR SIR
"At our last quarterly love-feast, in Sheffield, the fire broke out in a most extraordinary and amazing manner. The meeting began with its usual calmness and order, and so continued till we were about to conclude; but while we thought hereon, a person came and requested our prayers for one in deep distress, and soon after the same request was repeated for a woman in the gallery. I then desired two or three of the Local Preachers to go and pray with her, intending to keep my place, and conduct the remaining part of the meeting with all possible decorum; it being, however, a new thing, and to them not a little strange, they appeared reluctant to go. I knew not what to do; I hesitated for a moment, but the cry of distress still prevailing, I determined to sacrifice regularity to the season of usefulness which presented itself to me. I therefore went up into the gallery, and prayed with the distressed person; but, I must acknowledge, so awkwardly did I enter on this important duty, through my great attachment to order, that I found very little access to the throne of grace, and perhaps as a punishment for my reluctance to engage, and my awkwardness in performing the work, I had not the answer to my prayer. When I concluded, one of the Local Preachers below gave out a hymn and prayed. And now the power of God in a wonderful manner filled the place. The cries of the distressed instantly broke out like a clap of thunder, from every part of the chapel, and the voice of the person engaged in prayer, though exceedingly loud, could no longer be heard. I now determined to resume my place, that I might, at least, in some tolerable degree, regulate our further proceedings. But before I could accomplish this design, some of the Local Preachers had spread themselves among those who were so greatly distressed and were praying for them; while others came inquiring what I would wish thorn to do. I recommended to them the same work in which their brethren were already employed; so that, I suppose, in two minutes ten little parties were praying in different parts of the chapel at the same time. In a few minutes one of our friends informed me that seventeen persons had found peace with God in the gallery, and about half that number below. I never saw anything like it. It could not but appear to an idle spectator all confusion; but to those who were engaged therein, it was a glorious regularity. It must be granted that cries for mercy, and thanks pardoning love, ascended in a wondrously mixed but grateful incense, before the heavenly throne. As it was impossible to keep the meeting any longer in the form of a love-feast, the doors were thrown open, and the multitude without admitted. Many of those who entered found that God was there, both to convince and convert, before they left the place. As far as we could judge, upwards of seventy persons found peace with God before the conclusion. The next bight, as our friends were engaged in prayer, the flame broke out again, and continued, bearing down all before it, till a late hour. In about three days, one hundred persons, or upwards, struggled into the gracious kingdom of our God and Saviour. Since that period the work has proceeded in a less rapid, and of course in a more regular, way. Sometimes four or five have been brought to God at a prayer-meeting; and, praised be the Lord, thus it continues still. Even little boys and girls have now prayer-meetings among themselves; and one company of lads meet constantly in field, in the evening, when the weather is fine; they form a circle, and pray for each other, till they have some signal answer of Divine approbation. In this meeting, simple as it may appear to some, two or three have been set at liberty before they parted from the reflections I have been led to make on this extraordinary work, together with what has Lately taken place through Yorkshire, I am led to conclude that this must surely be a prelude of that most glorious conquest in grace, which we are prophetically assured shall take place in the last days, and hence is eminently preparing the way for the grand millennial reign of our redeeming God. Amen. Even so come Lord Jesus.
"I am, with due respect and affection,
"Yours in the Gospel,
From, ‘The Christian Minister in Earnest’, by Thomas Harris, published in 1847, p47-50.
The first Methodist Chapel in Sheffield was built in 1777 on this site.
This is at the time of the Great Yorkshire Revival.