Witney - Primitive Methodists (1824)

Leicester circuit sent two missionaries into Oxfordshire in July 1824. Writing from Witney under date of December 27th, 1824, to the editor of the magazine, they say; “In the month of July last, Leicester circuit sent William Allcock on a mission, leaving Divine providence to guide him to the most eligible locality. After reconnoitring the country he fixed his standard at Witney, in Oxfordshire. In many of the adjoining villages, he found great numbers of the inhabitants living in darkness, sin, and misery. Many of them had not heard a sermon for twenty, and some for thirty years. To these outcasts, he began to preach the Gospel of Christ, but had to endure many hardships and privations, such as hunger and thirst, and sometimes he was not able to get a bed to rest upon after the toil of the day was over. The desert, however, begins to blossom as the rose. We have now large congregations who hear the Gospel with great attention, and many of the vilest characters have been turned from the error of their ways. But the work appears as if but just beginning. Last Tuesday night, while we were speaking in a house at Witney, two wicked men cried aloud for mercy; and on Christmas Day, we had a very powerful love-feast, when many were earnestly seeking salvation. At present, we have two travelling preachers labouring here, and we have 135 members, among whom are ten local preachers and exhorters. Many places are crying, ‘Come over and help us.'"

“We arrived at Witney on the Saturday and were received as from the Lord. On Sunday morning we held a fellowship meeting at five o’clock. At eight we formed a procession and advanced towards the camp-ground about a mile and a half distant. The town was moved and hundreds followed us. The enemy stirred up many of his subjects to oppose us. About forty horns were blowing at one time, and the noise was alarming. We entered a large moor, where thousands were assembled. We had two wagons for two preaching stands, but our persecutors soon turned one of the wagons upside down. I never saw such determined opposition before, and it continued through the day. The Lord, however, was with us, and a glorious work broke out fifteen or sixteen persons were crying for mercy at one time, and many were saved.”

From, ‘The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion from its origin, by John Petty, 1860, p188/9.


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