London Tabernacle Minutes: 1746-7

Pages 11-18

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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35. [p.33] 1746

After this time a spirit of contention arose and antinomianism grew to a strong head and preachers, the brethren and conference were divided by means of Mr Cudworth's and others introducing antinomianism that drunk into his spirit, and Brother Cennick's drinking into the Moravian spirit. (fn. 1) So there was no regular conference kept. till at length in December 1746 Brothers Cennick, Hammond, Pugh (not utterly then, but afterward wholly), Salmon, Cudworth, Heathley, Thorn, went off, and all the brethren in conference and sisters, except Sisters Wood, Jeffreys, Dilby, Pugh and Lastier, went off—some to the Moravians and some joyned Brother Cudworth in the Independent way, and there was afterward no conferences kept for some time till the whole society was settled in classes again, and then in March 1745/6 another conference of all the visitors of the bands and classes met every Monday night after preaching.

36. [p.34] The names of all the present conference brethren, visitors of classes and bands, March 1745/6.

Brothers:Thomas Meredith
James Cox
Mansbrick being soldiers both went to the army
Middleton preaches at Deptford
Sisters: Wood

and resident ministers too to be allways present—but no matter to be settled here but of a general nature only, opening their hearts to each other, singing, praying and stirring up each other to love, etc. The conference met every Monday night regularly and went on happily singing, praying and opening their hearts.

This conference was gathered in March 1745/6 by laying before the society and proposing if any had it on their hearts to assist in looking after the society, and these had it on their hearts, and the whole society was then settled in classes and continued to meet every week, and all were kept happy, but no particular minutes were kept but what follows in 1746 and 1747 and 1748. (fn. 2)

37. [p.35] June 29 1747

Agreed that none of the poor sick go to the apothecary for physick without consulting their visitor and the minister.

That every visitor should make a collection in their bands and classes once a month from each according to their abality and freedom to give— partly to the pewopener in St. Bartholomew's church and partly to defray the minister's expences or help the poor or the minister, as the conference shall see proper from time to time, and to begin from July 1st.

That Brother James Edwards be taken (fn. 3) in as a servant to the house (fn. 4) to take care of the book and to send it in [illegible] and to sell them and return all his accounts and the money received to Brother Boddington. (fn. 5) He is also to keep the house book of what is expended daily, and also to do all the servile work, taking care of the horses, going on errands, copying all the letters in the book, etc. [deleted].

That family worship (reading, [illegible], singing and prayers) be kept in the house daily after preaching in the Tabernacle night and morn before or about 9.

[p.36] Mr Holier and Mr Hodgson and Brother Edwards being the 3 remaining trustees (the rest having resigned their trust and Brother Cennick has given his place to Brother Harris) they 4 are to consult together, if there be occasion, about what relates to the trust in outward things. The ticket money from the galleries and society and bands be delivered to Mr Holier and the rent money from the lodgers in the house, and he to pay the rent and taxes of the house and give out money to defray the expence of the family and the horses and Mr Wharton, etc. and to keep the books of account and to shew it to the minister whenever desired.

Mr Harcourt, Mr Mason, Mr Monday, who were settled with the above mentioned by Mr Whitefield as trustees, went away with Brother Cennick.

38. [p.37] 1747 An account of Mr Whitefield's agent instead of Mr Sims to transact all his again—viz. Mr Boddington. (fn. 6)

As Mr Sims, who was Mr Whitefield's agent in keeping his books and accounts, etc., has given up his place to Brother Harris and delivered up what books of Mr Whitefield he had, Brother Boddington has taken his place and has taken account of the books delivered up by Brother Sims and is to receive the money for what books will be sold of Mr Whitefield's and pay them to Mr Whitefield's order—and to shew his account when the minister, etc. desires—and to call every Saturday night to receive what money was received for books sold that week and what parcels were sold off, etc. (fn. 7)

He is also to take in the Orphan House money (fn. 8) and to correct and revise the Monthly History.

39. [p.38] July 6th 1747 in conference

That the month's date for the Weekly Hystory begin July 1st and to be continued monthly from that date. That Brother Blake see that the Monthly Hystory be sent about according as they are subscribed for, vizt. 150 to the west, Exeter; 60 to Plymouth and 80 to Gloucester, and 40 to Portsmouth, Oulney, etc., 50 to Essex, Chatham, Chinner, and 50 to Staffordshire, (fn. 9) Salop, Ludlow; and that Brother Blake revise the house account every week [so] that an exact account be kept of all expences, etc.

That he also take the account in a book of all the finances collected towards the poor, steward, the house, and the money be [deposited] properly—and how they are laid out weekly.

That this minute book be kept and read every conference, or att least once a month and when any minister comes in.

That no tickets be given out but by the hands of the visitors, and that the visitors be carefull to go and look for the persons whose names have been read twice, (fn. 10) to enquire for their characters, and if no objection be made in a fortnight or a month to receive them to the next class and give them their tickets.

40. [p.39] 1747 November 27

Agreed again with John Lewis as more calls come in for the Weekly Hystory that we take 400 from him att bookseller's price, vizt. at 4s. 0d., and he to take care to send them punctually att the month's end (after being revised by Brother Boddington and corrected) by the proper waggons as follows—150 to Mr Kennedy at Exeter and the brother that goes first there to bring up the money, 60 to Plymouth to Mr Kinsman near the Tabernacle there, 80 to Alderman Harris att Gloucester sent to Mr Awstin near Newgatestreet, 50 to Mr Pearsal by the Welch Cross, Birmingham, 40 to Portsmouth and the rest to the Tabernacle house to be sent—18 to Essex, 5 to Chatham, and [blank], and to be payd by Brother Shergold.

July 1748 the Weekly Hystory have continued to be printed and sent about to all places according to the calls—the account of which is paid out to John Lewis and his receipts are kept by Brother Shergold.

41. [p.40] 1747 November 2[8]

In conference agreed that as the Orphan House is indebted to Mr Whitefield and £200 is now wanting, that each should propose in his class and band, etc., etc. willing collection be made toward the Orphan House, and a publick collection be made before Brother Harris go out of town on 20th of December.

Letter days, (fn. 11) lovefeasts, collection to the poor and candles, etc. are regularly observed and all the orders punctually kept till this time, December 20 1747.

The house and poor accounts punctually kept too by Brother Blake, and all go on harmoniously, and in the conference there continues with much love and union and happiness.

Agreed that the visitors of the bands and classes allways acquaint the minister that comes when another goes away of the state of things, if any are under censure or turned out or shew a bad spirit, etc.—least on the exchange of ministers any guile be used by any before the ministers know them.

All the tickets are delivered in the bands and classes by their proper visitors and the money returned by them to Mr [Wheeler].

42. [p.41] The Ministers' Memorandum (fn. 12)

1. That the tickets be changed in all the classes by their visitors in a fortnight of each quarter day, or the persons give a good reason of their neglect. The band tickets the same by their visitors.

2. That all proposed to band or class be read over by name three several times to the society, and their lives be enquired into before they are entred. And that no persons be alowed to go out of class into band till the visitor of each and minister be acquainted with it—least any imposition should happen by some trifling persons.

[3.] That the ministers go through all the bands and classes. That our letters from our correspondents be read once a month.

4. (fn. 13) That a love feast be kept once in six weeks or oftener if the ministers and conference see it proper.

5. That a collection—1. for the expences of the house; 2. to the poor; 3. to candles, alternately—be made every month at morning and evening sermon, but so that the collection be a fortnight after [illegible] day if kept idle.

6. That none be admited to the exhortation on Sabathday nights but such as have notes for the day from the minister, to come to the minister or others appointed to that end to the work room for them about or after sermon.

[p.42] 7. That none be in any wise admited on a Wednesday night but such as shew their tickets.

8. That none have a single ticket from the minister without the visitor be acquainted by the minister of it.

43. Weekly Exercise of the Ministry

1. Preaching every morning and night at six a clock, Saturday morning excepted.

2. Preaching at Rattclif [a] quarter after six Friday night, and in the Burrough Tuesday night half past 6.

3. At Deptford every Sunday twice at the usual hours, and Tuesdays at noon, at 1 or at six in the evening.

4. Preaching at Lambeth Sunday 2 a clock, and tickets to be given gratis to 2 bands of Welch brothers and sisters there and the money to be reseved at Deptford to defray the expence of the place there.

5. Meet the widows Sunday morning after preaching.

[p.43] 7. (fn. 14) The ministers meet the visitors of the classes after sermon Sabathday morning. (fn. 15)

8. Ministers to meet the conference on Monday night and give an exhortation if he has it on his heart.

9. Wednesday morning to meet the women visitors of the bands, who are to give account of their sick and poor and of the state of their souls, and then to take the money for them as the minister shall direct.

10. To meet all the marryed brethren Tuesday night after sermon once a month or oftner, the other nights if agreed for singing.

11. To meet the whole society on Wednesday at seven to exhort, instead of preaching.

12. To meet all the married sisters on Thursday night after sermon once a month or oftner, the other nights if agreed for singing.

13. To meet all the single sisters on Friday night after the sermon.

[p.44] 14. To meet all the bands Saturday night after sermon.

15. To meet the single brethren on Sunday att three in the afternoon.

16. Once a month the doorkeepers meet on Wednesday night after preaching, and the other 3 Wednesday nights in the month the vissitors of the men's bands or singing.

17. That once a month all the society alone meet on Saturday night after preaching instead of all the bands, and the bands not to meet that night.

18. That preaching be at Bird Street once a week on Thursday evening, and after preaching meet the bands, stay all night and preach next morning at 5 o'clock; also Sunday morning and evening.

19. That the private society meet att Deptford once a week too in private, and their society tickets be given from the Tabernacle, and their money kept toward the defraying of the expences of their own place.

20. That every Friday att 2 be kept for humiliation, prayer and intercession.

44. [p.45] Some Spiritual Hints

First, that a close watch be kept that all rules be observed, or a good reason shewn why.

That all vissitors and overseers be diligent to know sincierly the inward state and outward condition and behaviour of all under their care every week.

That all be stirred up to press after a full conformity to Christ, to live in the spirit's witness by a felt and living faith, and especially see that the conscience be kept awake that no sin of heart, lip or life, of ommision or commision against the law of love be allowed of or connived at, but found out and confest and mourned over, and overcome by fresh application to the blood of Christ.

That the spirits of all be watched that no root of bitterness or prejudice for or against any party be found. No disputings or spiritual pride or indolence be among us. Also a close watch be kept that none be suffered to rest in feelings, frames, marks, graces, etc., but to press after to view the mystery of Christ's body and blood with open face by a living faith, and that true catholick love to all the churches without, and true simplicity within. (fn. 16)

45. [p.46] 1747 November

Brother Cox was privately disowned for marrying against the united mind of all the conference.

Brother Miller (one that had been in conference) took offence and went off to Mr Wesley's.

Brother Pain (that was in conference) was also openly turned off for marrying immediately after burying his other wife and going against the minds of the brethren.

46. [p.47] This account of preaching and societies, etc. drawn November 12th 1747 at the association at Gloucester. (fn. 17)

An account of the societies in connexion together under the care of the Reverend Mr Whitefield.

One kept at the Tabernacle London
att Debtford
at Bird Street
att Oulney [deleted]
at Chinner [deleted]
att Gloucester Gloucestershire
at Hampton
the Roadway
Apperley [deleted]
Exeter West Devon and Cornwall
Mary Church
Oulney Buckinghamshire
Chinner and Oxford Oxfordshire
[p.48] at Coombe Wiltshire
Birmingham Warwickshire
Wednesbury Staffordshire
Breewood Forge
Shrewsbury Salop

47. [p.49] Names of places for preaching where societies are not settled.

att Ratclife and Southwark London
att Chatham Kent
Brayntree Essex
Coggs Hall
Tewksbury Gloucestershire
The Mill (fn. 18) Bismoure, etc.
Axminster Devon and Cornwall
Plymouth Dock (fn. 19)
Caln and Preston Wiltshire
Stanton, Upper and Lower
Togington and Hawst Gloucestershire
Oxford [deleted] Oxfordshire [deleted]
Chinner [deleted]
Cludesle-row Buckinghamshire

48. [p.50] Names of the brethren that read and overlook as stewards.

Mr Gabriel Harris
Brothers Bassett and Comfort
Brother Wells
Brother Bastard and Kent
Brother Kinsman
Brother Burton
Brothers Reynolds and Restall
Brother Whitney
Brothers Eustace and Hearne
Brother Wallis
Brother Lad
Brother Huggins
Brother Miers
Gloucester and Apperly

To the Tabernacle, London—

Thomas Harris and Edwards with trustees and Mr Holier and Hodgson, stewards of outward affairs. The whole conference, men and women to look after the bands and classes, besides door-keepers, etc. Mr Boddington to take care of all Mr Whitefield's books and personal affairs, to receive money and pay them for him, etc.

49. [p.51] The names of all the publick preachers that go about continually.

Brother Howel Harris in England and Wales
Brother James Beaumont Brother Thomas Adam
Brother James Relly
Brother Herbert Jenkins —went off to the Independents, May 18 1748.
Brother James Ingram
Brother Joseph Smith
Brother John Stephens
Brother John Relley
Brother William Humphrys
Brother Edward Godwin

The names of others that are in places and only go about occasionally and assist as far as is consistent with their calling and places.

John Edwards
Starky Midleton
Thomas Pearsal
William Vines
William Hogg
Callingford Ward
Thomas Scott
Brother Thomas Satchell—now fully received
Baldwin on tryal
Wear—he went off

50. [p.52] Memorandum that Evan Williams on the 8th of May 1749 did lend the sum of 20 li. to assist the Gloucestershire society towards paying the expence of building their preaching place, and that the said money is lent in pursuance of an agreement. Mr Whitefield and the other preachers to contribute their endeavours by collections, and as money shall arise to repay the said sum of 20 li.

Witness: J. Blake, James Cox, Henry Sheargall.


  • 1. Howell Harris had long discussions with John Cennick about Mr Cudworth in June 1745 (Visits to London, 70-1).
  • 2. The whole of this paragraph is written sideways in the margin alongside the list of names. Between pp. 34-5 a page with writing on it has been removed leaving a stub.
  • 3. 'and maintained' added.
  • 4. 'on tryal to ease Sister Wood, etc.' added.
  • 5. These references are probably to the Monthly History.
  • 6. This heading is added sideways in the margin.
  • 7. On 29 Sept. 1747 Thomas Boddington wrote to Howell Harris about the sale of books (Trevecka Letters, 1747-94, 1).
  • 8. i.e. the subscriptions for Bethesda in Georgia.
  • 9. 'Birmingham' added.
  • 10. This seems to be an echo of the Moravian practice of announcing three times the names of those seeking admission.
  • 11. Letter days were the days for reading letters from other societies (or ministers) relating their spiritual progress. It was a Moravian custom.
  • 12. 'Wrote about February or March 1745/6' added.
  • 13. This entry and the next as far as 'evening sermon' deleted.
  • 14. Article 6 has been omitted, possibly because it came at the foot of a page.
  • 15. 'singing to begin at eleven' deleted.
  • 16. 'and let the letterdays be punctually observed' deleted.
  • 17. See 84.
  • 18. The Mill near Stroud (Visits to London, 183).
  • 19. Plymouth Dock is now Devonport.