London Tabernacle Minutes: 1743-5

Pages 1-11

Two Calvinistic Methodist Chapels, 1743-1811: The London Tabernacle and Spa Fields Chapel. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1975.

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(Trevecka MS. 2946)

1. [p.1]

A conference book including a general account of the affairs and oeconomy about the Tabernacle before and after the separation by Brother Cennick, etc.—an account of the preachers, labourers, trustees and in connexion with Mr Whitefield from December 1743 to December 1747, etc., to be continued to December 1749. (fn. 1)

2. [p.3] [Monday 5 December 1743]

That Brother Cennick for the single brethren.

That Brother Church and Sister Badily agreeing do not marry at present, but he leaves of trade and lives with Brother Symes, Mr Whitefield proposing to pay for his board. Agreed to by the brethren and sisters that Brother Cennick carry the news to her.

That Sister Wood live at the Tabernacle house.

That the visitors of each of the quoirs of the bands have a meeting once a week to speak of the state of the bands they meet with and to confer on matters relating thereto. And the superintendents of each quoir have a meeting once a week together with the ministers to confer about and settle any thing that is of general nature to the whole bands, and such of a private nature as would not well be settled in the private meeting of the visitors.

That once a month there be a general conference of all those who labour in the inward society meet to confer on all affairs of the whole society and settle all matters relating thereto as the holy spirit shall direct for its wellfare [and] establishment.

[p.4] That no stated time be fixt to meet the whole [brethren] together, but that things be said to them from time to time as they meet with the society on Wednesday night, and if there be need of a private meeting of them to appoint it on the most convenient time.

That Jefferies and Low inspect the sick and poor of the widow bands.

Agreed to buy sundry things of Brother Peat for the minister's use at the Tabernacle House, and any other things that are wanted.

That a school be continued under due regulation and with proper masters and mistresses.

That the work shop be put down.

3. Monday January the 6 [sic 1744]

That if any one of the conference staid away 2 persons should be appointed to enquire the cause, and satisfaction to be given to the conference of it.

Sister Mason, Brothers H. Harris, Adams, Cudworth, Elsom, Ross taken into the conference and joined themselves being by them approved.

4. [p.5] 1744 Monday March the 12th

Called over the names absent—Brothers Abbot, Barker, Cennick, Church, Ross, Smith, Morgan, Sisters.

Brother Hammond being askt of his freedom to join with the brethren and their plan we go upon, but having scruples after much debate he was put aside, but [received] to preach and be with us.

Sister Weston [illegible] and Brothers Abbot, Singer (fn. 2) and Brother Herbert Jenkins, preacher, being askt were approved of and received into the fellowship of the conference.

Brother Smith to speak to [illegible] Brother Thomson about his [absence].

Spoke of Sister Crosland being allowed to sit with the bands and it was thought she should not by the majority. Sister Pane to speak with her.

That if any person that has been in band would come to the private exhortation of the respective quour (fn. 3) for a constancy, apply to the ministers and the visitors of that quier to [allow] of it—that they have no objection to them.

That the sisters and brethren that do not meet be appointed to sit in the gallerys and not below.

That the minister admit a person transiently at pleasure.

[p.6] That Sister Green abide in the school for the present, but thought not capable of good work.

That Mr Whitefield preach a charity sermon for the children Good Fryday if here.

That there be appointed supervisors of the books to be considered next Wednesday.

That Brother Justice be suspended his office till his affair with Sister Gibson be decided, and not received to it again without satisfaction given to the conference.

Agreed to class the society and consider of it further on Wednesday next.

5. [p.7] 1744 Monday Aprill 30

Called over the names of persons in conference. Took in Brother J. Church and Sister Hayes after examination. Brother Sleep taken in per ditto.

Syms to speak to Abbot on account of absence and to Thomas Justice.

Ross on account of illness [deleted].

Morgan on account of her wrong spirit and behaviour put out of conference.

Question—put round if any had a contrary opinion as to any thing agreed to in conference than they explained at that time. Sister Wood did not speak her mind of Ewen.

Question—put round if they have kept to the things agreed to so as to defend and uphold them to the extreme of their power. No one pleaded guilty.

Sav. [sic] be spoken to of her [s]lyness to us before she be admitted to conference—particularly spoke of Chatwin account of Laffeet and Sleeps, Pane spoke to her.

That Brother Hammond be admitted to confer, (fn. 4) but not subscribing his name.

[p.8] If a brother or sister differ from the conference in any matter that is not essential and whereby union is not broke, that forbearance be exercised to such a differing person as to what they differ, and such a person on their part be silent, (fn. 5) and not to speak against the differing brethren agreed on by the conference. Though if a person's conscience oblige them to speak against anything, they speak of it here first.

Sister Paul to give an answer in 3 weeks if she will undertake the girls school.

Collack discarded and his wife to be assisted.

That there be a meeting again next Wednesday.

6. [p.9] 1744 Wednesday May 2d.

Called over the names.

Sister Laffeet sent word by her husband she is not willing to belong to the conference and was there upon put out.

Put by having a collection and charity sermon for the children for the present [deleted].

That Mr Whitefield preach a charity sermon for the children of the school before he goes out of town; at what time shall here after appear most convenient.

That there be two ministers in town always and one of them in every conference.

That the bands are continued.

That Mr Harcourt, Mason, Hollair, Monday, Hodgson be appointed to collect and tell the mony always, (fn. 6) and that they from time to time survey the accounts and settle them.

That collection for the poor and school be kept up as usual. That classing the people be deferred.

[p.10] That they be examined every time their tickets be changed.

7. Monday May the 28th [1744]

Agreed to take the new house at £30 per year and take a running lease (fn. 7) of the ground the Tabernacle stands upon.

That there be 7 trustees fixt for the taking of the account of all the outward matters and in subserviance to the conference; that the persons proposed vizt. Brother Cennick, Brother Sleep, Brother Mason, Sister Harcort, Hollier and Monday are approved of.

Tuesday the 29th

Agreed that [No entry].

8. Monday June the 4th 1744

Took in again to conference Sister Laffeet and Jefferies, being satisfied on both sides.

Sister Crosland (fn. 8) to come again next conference.

[p.11] That the society and bands be examined strictly every one without respect at the time of changing the tickets, and none to have their tickets that don't come to be examined. Brothers Cennick, Sleep, etc. are to be employed in the work.

That all who are uneasy or disquieted in the society or band have their cases enquired into and the faulty persons after exhorted and reproved. Remaining restless, to be put from the bands if there—first and afterward if they continue in the wrong spirit quite out of the society for this reason. It is better that one member be cutt off than the whole body be disturbed.

That the trustees have liberty but in all cases of the poor of the outward society and those of the bands by the visitors and those that meet in conference, that they take account of all the mony received and distribute and see to the settling of the accounts.

9. [p.12] Monday July 16th [1744]

That Brother Abbot be asked the reason of his not being there and likewise Brother Church, (fn. 9) Brother Thompson.

That Brother Pugh go down to Olney and release Brother Hammond, and desire Brother Hammond to go to Bristol if Mr Humphries does not go himself.

Brother Pugh brought his report of a Sister Thornbury. The parish will not relieve her and the conference has thought proper that all her money shall be continued.

Sister Shaw's case was considered, and agreed that she also have her money continued.

That the conference does approve of Mr Harcourt continuing cashier till our next meeting if he please.

[p.13] That no money be given to any out of the society.

That an account be brought to conference every time they meet as to what is collected and what is disbursed.

Mrs Mason desiring to be excused her employment in the school, it is thought proper Sister Richards make tryal, if she finds freedom. If not to seek out for another.

That the children be present to hear the word Sabbath day morning and evening and Tuesday and Friday evenings, and that Brother Cudworth or Brother Allt be always present with them.

That Brother Cudworth and Brother Allt affair be considered next conference, and Sister Powel to have what Sister Green had.

To consider the things in the trustees conference book.

To consider of the fixing of the time for changing the tickets to prevent ill persons and those that have been turned out coming in again.

10. [p.14] Monday August 27th 1744

Sister Crosland came again and gave much disturbance to the conference after much tenderness and entreaty to go from us but refused— though at length went out. Proposed to her by Brother Cennick to give her a meeting by herself to hear all she had to say, but she stiffly refused and went away. All the conference thought her quite wrong and agreed to what was done and said in the affair.

Thought proper that there be an association at Bristol of all the ministers (preachers) to confer about the work of the Lord and general plan and their appoint further circular associations; and that the society at Bristol be brought into subjection to the ministers and be under their government.

Agreed that Brother Cennick write a letter to Brother H. Harris to invite him to England to be seen by the conference to the import—vizt to lay before him Mr Humphries and peoples proposals and that the conference is agreed to all the proposals of Mr Humphries and people, and be invited to meet the association in the bands and association.

[p.15] Mr Cennick read a letter from Mr Chapman about his difference between Mr Wesley and him. Mr Cennick will wait on Mr John Wesley about it.

Agreed to give Sister Richards 6s. per week while she continues with them.

That the time be fixt for changing the society tickets.

That Brother Sleap, Brothers Harcort, Laffeet and Syms visit the boys [school] and take care thereof.

That Sisters Paul and Weston visit the girls school.

That Thursdays meeting be kept by all the school visitors.

Brother Pugh to be referred to the association whether or no he is to be given up wholly to the ministry. Brother Allt to supply his place if he goes into the country.

That Brother Cudworth have 15s. per week. Brother Altt to have 7s. per week.

That the association should be kept Wednesday September the 4th at Bristol.

That Mr Seagrave be asked to serve in the Tabernacle while the ministers are gone to the association.

11. [p.16] Monday October 7th [sic 1744]

Read over the minutes of the last conference.

Brother Cennick read over the association minutes at Bristol. (fn. 10) Brother Humphries letter implying he would not join unless they would separate from Mr Whitefield and Humphries, etc. He has declared himself not in connection.

That the conference meet the trustees to hear them speak of their matters—particularly of the school mistresses and masters and salaries.

That no person take notice of any fault of a brother or sister (let them be never so erroneous and blamable) to any one before they speak to the person privately by themselves, and if they hear not them then let them take one or two more and so proceed in the way the Lord directs and tell it to the conference, and none write letters to any in the way of complaining.

That Brother Cudworth preach tomorrow morning for approval of the ministers and conference.

12. [p.17] Monday October the 15 [1744]

Read the minutes of the last conference.

Brother Cennick to speak to Thomas Justice of his inclination to come into fellowship again.

That the preaching at the little meeting in Peters Yard be kept up as usual till the association and there to be considered of.

That the bands be universaly visited by the preachers.

13. Monday October 22d [1744]

Brother Cennick had some discourse with Brother Godwin of the doctrine and of Brothers Pugh and Cudworth preaching, and 'tis deferred to the association.

Brother Cennick read part of his catechism and had no fault found with it. (fn. 11)

14. [p.18] Monday October 29th [1744]

Agreed to have a conference every Monday evening at half past 7.

That there be an advertizment in the Dayly General Advertizer that no preachers of the Methodists preach but where they are sent for and make no collections.

That Brother Collins be spoke to to meet on Saturday evening at the ministers' conference.

15. Monday November 5th [1744]

Read the minutes of the last conference. Agreed out of hand to put out the advertisement of the preachers.

Brother Cennick read a part of his catechism—had a dispute about the Milenium.

Brother Cennick read the minutes of the Hampton association (fn. 12) and read several letters which were agreeable and pleased us all.

16. [p.19] November 12 Monday [1744]

Received a letter from Brother Syms wherein he gave reasons for his not being present, the cheif of which were Sister Wood's spirit with which he could not bear and her continual speaking against him.

We agreed to send for Brother Syms who, when he was come, gave the same reasons for absenting himself and spake with Sister Wood, who together with him thought it best to withdraw for a time at least. All in conference thought Sister Wood to blame.

That we would meet the trustees and hear their complaints and weigh their proposal of shortening the salary of some and of relieving none save the sick poor till the Tabernacle debt was paid.

17. Monday November 19 [1744]

Read the minutes of the last conference.

That seeing Sister Wood has withdrawn her [p.20] self we send to Brother Syms and invite him back to the conference.

That a message be sent likewise to Sister Wood to let her know that if she sees herself in fault in the matter of accusing and grieving Brother Syms and will be content to confess this, and be led and ruled by the brethren and sisters as a little child droping all her suspicions, etc., we will receive her again into our bosom and fellowship, and invite her again to labour here with us in the Lord; but if she cannot see she has sinned, but remains still as when she first withdrew herself, then we judge it best for her to wait upon the Lord apart from us.

That Brother Cennick carry the message to Sister Wood.

[p.21] That conference and the trustees meet together Monday next after sermon and hear their mind about Brother Syms, the laying out of the money, etc.

18. Monday November 27th [sic] 1744

We met the trustees who agreed to let the salarys remain as they were and not shorten them, and to relieve such sick and other of the poor whom the brethren and sisters of the conference should find after due enquiry to be in want.

That the trustees should meet on Wednesday and Brother Syms should bring his accounts and satisfy them, which he did and all things appeared to be well settled in his accounts etc. He also told them he was ready to answer any question which might hereafter be proposed to him of that matter by any of them, or to meet them at any other time to give them farther satisfaction. (fn. 13)

19. [p.22] Monday December 3 1744

Read the minutes of the last conference.

That the single brethren have a love-feast on Sunday next.

That the brethren of the association be invited up by next Wednesday sev'night.

That Brother Pugh go to Braintree in Essex and stay till the association.

20. Monday December the 10th [1744]

Brother Cennick read a letter from Sister Crosland wherein she desired to know if she might come to conference again. If not, she desired to have her name taken from the book. Brother Cennick is appointed to give her reasons for waiting longer, which is the opinion of the conference she should.

Agreed that there be no preaching Thursday morning; no society Wednesday but on Thursday at 7 instead of preaching.

That the women of the conference be present, but that they do not meddle with anything disputing unless they be asked at least to take a seasonable opportunity to say what may come on their minds. (fn. 14)

[p.23] It being asked if the conference would agree to the trustees coming to the association, and all were against it except 2 who were for it. The chief reasons against their coming was that a fundamental difference in matters of faith arising among them and the preachers was there to be heard, debated and decided, and therefore as they stood in solemn [illegible] one with the other, it was not proper that any indifferent person should be present. Brother Cennick to inform the preachers of this minute.

Brother Allt spoke of Sister Clerk of Clerkenwell-green requesting medecines of Mr Hudson at the expence of the society. The answer was that she apply to the parish.

That Brother Peat have 5s. sent him by the hands of Mr Hammond Tuesday.

Brother Allt spoke of Hannah With for relief—to be considered of more after the association.

21. [p.24] Munday January 7 1744[/5]

That Brother Halt go into Staffordshire for a month and that Brother Salmon supply his place.

Let there be a collection for the poor morning and evening on Wednesday January 9 and a collection at the society as usual.

Sister Wood confesseth her prejudices against Brother Cudworth are removed, and upon her request is admitted again into the conference.

That Sister Starks be got into the hospital.

That Sister Norton have six shillings out of the Wednesdays collection.

[p.25] That a collection be made some Sunday evening to bear the charges of two ministers who are to go to assist Mr Whitefield at the Orphanhouse in Georgia.

22. Monday January 14 1744/5

Agreed that Sister Paul and Brother Thompson enquire into the state and conduct of Mrs Prior, and bring the report next Monday.

That a board be placed in the society room giving account of persons who want places or employment.

23. [p.26] Monday January 22 [recte 21] 1744/5

Sister Paul (fn. 15) brought her report of Mrs Prior, and she has heard a good carictor of her. That Brother Thomson enquire more to the accusation alledged against her and bring his report next Monday. [Let her] have 2s. this week. Sister Paul carry it [to] her.

That Sister Shaw go to the infirmary in High Park Corner, and have a coach to go.

That Brother Peat have 5s. if the trustees can spare it.

24. Monday January 28 1744/5

That Brother Cennick speak to Sister Prior about putting her children on the parish, and that she have 2s. allowed her for her present use.

25. [p.27] 1745 Monday February the 4th 1744/5

That Brother Cennick speak to Brother Harcourt about allowing Sister Prior somewhat weekly.

Monday February 11th 1744/5 [No entry]

Monday February 18th 1744/5

Brother Adams has been in Essex and has had good success.

Proposed that the children that are able should pay to the school— but 'tis agreed that non pay.

Menetion to the trustees that they in dever to get the rightings of the Tabernacle sealed.

That Sister Night have 6 pens per week while her child is so small.

Brother Cennick gave the above menetioned 6s. which the trustees has not paid him yet.

26. [p.28] Monday February 25 1744/5

The fast to be deferred till next Monday and then proposed.

Agreed that Sister Scott have 6s. if it can be by the trustees.

Agreed that the day of prayer (fn. 16) be next Wednesday sevenight beginning at 10 of the clock.

Agreed that the residing minister order the letters to be printed.

Agreed that Sister Pryer have 2s. per week if it can, if not she have one shilling.

Sister Shaw's child have shewes and shurt and few necessary, and that she bide where she is and can give her all the help.

That Brother Pugh have his horshire paid for and that he goes down with mee.

That the Tabernacle be shut up while wee are at the association, and that one of them return to preach on Sunday evening.

27. [p.29] 1745 Monday March 25 1744/5 (fn. 17)

Agreed that Sister Conjuit have 3s. per week.

Monday April 1st 1745

Agreed that it should be mentioned to the doorkeeper, etc. a Wednesday night that they should let none in without showing their ticketts.

28. Monday April 15th 1745

Brother Adams came and declared to this purpose that he had no freedom to meet or act with the conference seeing we differed from him so wideley and therefore left us. Sisters Pugh, Lathun, Dilley, Jefferies, Weston, [illegible] was of the same mind and went with him. The rest of the brethren and sisters present, viz. Brothers Church, Heatly, Allt, Dukes, Lafitte, Elsom, Cudworth, Sisters Laffitte, [p.30] Chatwin, Low, Richards agreed to continue together as usual notwithstanding.

That Brother Mason be invited to the conference next Monday night.

29. Monday April [22 1745]

Agreed that we invite Brother Adams next Monday night to the conference.

That Brother Alt speak to Mr Harcourt concerning some allowance for Sister French.

That the next Monday night we confer concerning the money owed to the society.

That I speak to Mr Oulier about one Sister Harris having 6s. 6d. for rent—the poor money being deficient.

30. Monday April 29 [1745]

Agreed that Brother Elsom enquire concerning Butts debt to the society.

That Sister Lafette enquire of Stanley concerning her debt.

[p.31] That Sister Low enquire of Sister Wood about one Sharp a single woman who borrowed money of the society.

Monday May 8th [sic] 1745 [No entry]

31. Monday May 20

Agreed Brother Gowen have 18 shillings from the propagation of the gosple fund to discharge apothecaries bill at Bath. (fn. 18)

Things conferred on concerning preaching.

32. Monday May 27 1745

That Brother Cennick should print an account of the percecution at Exeter. (fn. 19)

That collection be made on Sunday evening in the society for defraying the charges of the law-suit at Leominster and that another [p.32] collection be made on Monday evening in publick for the poor.

That Brother Cudworth give an account how he received his knowledge of Jesus Christ and what trials he has met within that account.

33. Monday June 24 1745

That a collection be made for Brother Blackburn, and that one of the brethren be appointed to see that he takes up his freedom with it.

34. July 1st 1745

That Brother Hammond makes a collection for Brother Blackburn next Sunday among the [single brethren].

That Brother Hammond speak to Mr Hodgson and the brethren with him in the clubb to desist from meeting in that manner.

Brother Hammond speak to Brother Alt to visit the society till he goes from the school.


  • 1. The remainder of this page and p.2 contains notes concerning wheat, c. 1815. For entries for the period 1748-9, see Association Minutes (88-107).
  • 2. A name has been deleted.
  • 3. i.e. choir.
  • 4. 'though does not subscribe, he is to be here with in what he difers from us and he to be silent as to what he may difer from the conference' deleted.
  • 5. 'as to the differing point' deleted.
  • 6. 'and the accounts to be surveyed by them and settled' deleted.
  • 7. A lease which could be broken at fixed intervals.
  • 8. 'received into conference, but not to be employed in any service as yet' deleted.
  • 9. 'Brother Sleep' deleted.
  • 10. These minutes have not survived.
  • 11. A Short Catechism, chiefly design'd for the instructing of little children ... by John Cennick (1744). Price 3d.
  • 12. These minutes are missing. See 53.
  • 13. John Syms gave up the accounts which he kept for Whitefield's books in 1747 (Trevecka Letters, 1742-7, 215).
  • 14. Howell Harris thought that women attending meetings should not be allowed to speak (Visits to London, 61).
  • 15. Elizabeth Paul died later this year (Trevecka Letters, 1742-7, 176).
  • 16. Altered from 'fast'.
  • 17. The first entry has been deleted and is illegible.
  • 18. This is followed by a deleted entry which is illegible.
  • 19. J. Cennick, An Account of the late Riot at Exeter (1745).