Room 3 Object Highlights

Print 'Laying the Foundation Stone'

A print from an engraving by W. E. Gibbs showing the laying of the foundation stone for the New Room on 12 May, 1739.

John first preached in the open in Bristol on 2 April 1739. He immediately began working with two of the religious societies that existed in Bristol, one in Nicholas Street and one in Baldwin Street.  In this room you will hear the story of how the New Room came to be in the Horsefair. On 9 May 1739 John Wesley records in his journal:

‘We took possession of a piece of ground near St James’ churchyard, in the Horsefair, where it was designed to build a room, large enough to house both the societies.’

John described it as a room for a ‘United Society’ but it was soon labelled by objectors as being ‘Methodist’. John saw it as the main base for his work. On 28 June he commenced building a second base among the colliers at Kingswood. This was much larger because there was no church in Kingswood and so the building had to be a place of worship as well as a centre to serve the local community.

Model of the New Room