John Wesley’s Early Life

Discover the roots of Methodism by exploring the early life of John and Charles Wesley. Hear more about their childhood in Epworth, their education in London and Oxford. Learn about their time in America and discover how coming to faith in Jesus led them to feel called to preach in the open-air in Bristol.

 to how faith in a God of love transformed the Wesleys

Georgian Room

What was life in Bristol like in the eighteenth century? What challenges did John Wesley face? Explore the stark contrast between rich and poor, and discover the story of the New Room housekeeper Sarah Perrin. Reflect on the brutality of the city’s involvement in the slave trade with stories from Scipio Africanus and Olaudah Equiano.

to the story of New Room housekeeper Sarah Perrin

Building a New Room

Find out why the New Room is known as a ‘Light in the City’. Hear about the laying of the foundation stone, the early uses of the building, and discover Wesley’s other preaching locations around Bristol.

to how the New Room came to be in the Horsefair

Early Methodist Preachers

Come and see how Methodism went nationwide. Delve into facts and figures in our interactive apple tree, hear stories of mob violence towards Methodist preachers and read the story of John Wesley’s lost love Grace Murray.

to a description of how Methodists were attacked by the mob

Taking the Gospel Overseas

Explore the lives of key figures in the Methodist movement overseas; George Whitefield, Thomas Coke, Thomas Webb and Francis Asbury. Don’t miss Captain Webb’s eye patch and Coke’s ordination certificate! Take a closer look at early Methodist missions to America and Africa.

to Benjamin Franklin's account after hearing Whitefield preach

Education Room

In this room you’ll discover John Wesley’s thoughts on education and the growth of Methodist education worldwide. Learn more about Wesley’s books, letters and journals in our interactive pull-out display. Look out for Wesley’s shoe buckles and the story behind why he once went barefoot in class!

to a student's account of his education at Kingswood School

Common Room

What was the purpose behind building rooms above the chapel? How many of his own preaching rules did Wesley break? What was Wesley’s advice for our health and wellbeing? Find the answers to these and more in our museum common room. Enjoy the oil paintings, marvel at the variety of Wesley ceramics and see a chair sculpted from an elm tree. Don’t miss the New Room membership books; they are the earliest records we have of those coming to the New Room.

to what Wesley had to say about open-air preaching

John Wesley’s Study and Bedroom

Have a close look at personal items belonging to John Wesley in his study. See his letter opener and seal, and his riding crop. View an early edition of Wesley’s Primitive Physick book on health and wellbeing which sold over one million copies!

Step into the bedroom of John Wesley, see his bed and a replica of his preaching gown. Stand next to a statue of Wesley built to his exact height and find out why he preferred standing up to write his letters.

to a description of John Wesley's Study and Bedroom

Wesley Family Room

Play Charles Wesley’s hymns, and discover just how passionate and prolific he was as a hymn writer. Find out more about his family life here in Bristol; see his wife Sarah’s guitar and the key to their home in Charles Street. Don’t miss the Tonga hymn book which is covered in the fabric of Captain Cook’s coat!

to extracts of letters from Charles Wesley to his wife Sally

Anti-Slavery Room

Learn about Wesley’s view on war and find out just how early Wesley opposed slavery. Hear about how he mentored William Wilberforce and discover the story of the Calabar princes who were sold into slavery and brought to the New Room where members campaigned for their freedom. Don’t miss the Josiah Wedgwood anti-slavery medallion!

to extracts from Wesley's Thoughts upon Slavery

Contemporary Issues

Spend time in this room discovering what Methodism has the say about caring for God’s creation, empowering the individual, the role of women and consumerism. Watch the animation video created by local primary school children and reflect on just how relevant Wesley’s principles are for our lives today.

to the Methodist Magazine's objection to the cruelty to animals