Author G M Best
A history of the New Room and of Methodism in Bristol and Kingswood in the time of John and Charles Wesley and the subsequent history of the building.
The first full-scale history of the New Room, Bristol – the oldest Methodist Chapel in the world. It was built by John Wesley in 1739 and is the cradle of Methodism. Much of what developed into the movement known as Methodism was initiated first at the New Room. Among other things, the building acted as a food bank, as a school for the poor, and as one of the first free medical dispensaries, and its early members championed prison reform in Bristol. From the New Room, John Wesley attacked the consumerism that was creating a huge gulf between rich and poor, spoke out for a living wage for workers, encouraged women in leadership roles, and vigorously campaigned against the slave trade.
This book examines the complex relationship between John Wesley and the tow other men most responsible for the creation of Methodism: his brother and hymnwriter Charles and their friend, George Whitefield, who was one of the greatest preachers of all time and helped establish the conditions that linked the American colonies together, encouraging them to seek their independence. It is rich in stories about individuals from lay preachers such as Thomas Webb, who never preached without his sword, and Sarah Perrin and Sarah Ryan who took leadership roles at the New Room at a time where many men and women thought that wrong. Written to mark the opening of the New Room’s Visitor Centre in 2017, ‘The Cradle of Methodism’ will help many to gain a far better understanding of the significance of the New Room and why Bristol should indeed be proud to have such a historical building in its city centre.