Spa Fields Chapel Minutes: 1784-1811

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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'Spa Fields Chapel Minutes: 1784-1811', in Two Calvinistic Methodist Chapels, 1743-1811: The London Tabernacle and Spa Fields Chapel, ed. Edwin Welch( London, 1975), British History Online [accessed 23 July 2024].

'Spa Fields Chapel Minutes: 1784-1811', in Two Calvinistic Methodist Chapels, 1743-1811: The London Tabernacle and Spa Fields Chapel. Edited by Edwin Welch( London, 1975), British History Online, accessed July 23, 2024,

"Spa Fields Chapel Minutes: 1784-1811". Two Calvinistic Methodist Chapels, 1743-1811: The London Tabernacle and Spa Fields Chapel. Ed. Edwin Welch(London, 1975), , British History Online. Web. 23 July 2024.

198. 1784 February 12

The Revd Mr Wills set out for Bristol and Bath where he spent three months, leaving the Revd Mr Taylor at Spa-fields.

May 12 [1784]

Mr Wills returned.

May 19 [1784]

The Countess of Huntingdon came to town.

199. Saturday May 29 [1784]

By invitation from Lady Huntingdon and at her expence a great number of ministers and students in her Ladyship's Connection together with the committees, or deputations from the committees, of several congregations both in town and country dined together at Mr Dupont's in Aldersgate Street, the whole number being about 72 or 73. Before dinner there was an examination of several students designed for ordination tomorrow, and after dinner some of them related some particulars of the progress of the gospel in different parts of the kingdom where they had been labouring, which the Revd Mr Wills took down in writing. Our committee were all present but Messrs Silver and Baker.

200. [f. 26v.] Whitsunday May 30 1784

The following 13 persons were solemnly ordained to the work of the ministry in the presence of a very large congregation, viz.

Joseph Calvert
Thomas Hasker
Thomas Watkins
Adam Stumpenhausen
Richard Dickinson
George Mills
Phillip Mills
Samuel Bernard
Morgan James
Lemuel Kirkman
Anthony Dixon
George Mantle
Richard Hayes

The ordaining ministers were the Revd Messrs Wills, Taylor, Knight and Beaufoy, besides whom were present: Revd Walter Shirley, Revd David Jones, Revd Nathaniel Rowlands, Revd Samuel Phillips, Revd Mr Bradford, Revd Mr Williams, Revd Mr Johnson, and a great many of Lady Huntingdon's students and committees.

After singing the 1st and 3rd verses of the 112th hymn, Mr Knight engaged in prayer fervently and suitably to the occasion.

Sung the 1st verse of the 76 hymn.

Mr Taylor read the 10th chapter of St Luke's gospel.

Sung the 2d verse of the 76 hymn.

201. Mr Wills spoke upon the articles of faith which had been previously subscribed by all the candidates, and were the same as had been subscribed by the ministers ordained last year.

Sung the 3d verse of the 76th hymn.

Mr Watkins read aloud the confession of faith.

Sung the 4th verse of the 76 hymn.

Then eight of the candidates delivered their experiences, beginning with Mr Calvert and ending with Mr Bernard.

[f. 27r.] Mr Wills apologised for not calling upon the other five from the great lapse of time, and after singing the 3d and 4th verses of hymn 129th, delivered the ordination prayer, immediately after which they proceeded to the imposition of hands.

Sung the last verse of hymn 108th.

Mr Taylor then gave the charge from 1 Peter 5, 2, 3, 4.

The 287th hymn was then sung and the congregation in general dismissed, after which the communion was administered to the newly ordained ministers and all who chose to partake.

The service began about 9 and ended about 3.

202. In the afternoon at 4 Mr Watkins preached an excellent sermon from James 1, 17.

In the evening Mr Rowlands preached a lively animated sermon on Heb. 11, 30.

Thus ended the solemnities of the day.

Some of the newly ordained ministers preached on Monday and Tuesday, and four of those who had not given their experience at the ordination rehearsed the dealings of God with them.

There was also preaching on those days at the Mulberry Gardens and at the meeting house late Mr Maxwell's in Princes Street, Moorfields to which Mr Calvert belongs and which is joined to the Countess of Huntingdon's Connection.

203. [f. 27v.] Tuesday June 8 1784

The following ministers and committees met and dined at Mr Dupont's, the Castle and Falcon, Aldersgate Street, viz.

Revd T. Wills
         W. Taylor
         D. Jones
         Thomas Jones
Mulberry Garden committee
Messrs Samuel Thompson
            Thomas Nevill
            George Reinier
            Isaac Lermitte
            Thomas Wontner
Princes Street committee
Messrs John Mackway
            John Barrett
            Henry Banks
            Robert Pearce

and all our committee except Mr Carr.

Agreed to make an annual collection at our respective chapels for the support of the traveling fund, and the same to be recommended to all the chapels in the country under Lady Huntingdon's patronage that are in a capacity to bear it.

All the collections to be remitted to our committee and the account to be subject to the inspection of the ministers and committees at the annual general meeting intended to be held in London or elsewhere, as her Ladyship shall appoint. Agreed that Whitsuntide is the most eligible season of the year for such annual association.

204. [f. 28r.] July 18 1784

We made our collection for the traveling fund, on which occasion Mr Jones of Llangan preached two sermons: in the morning on Mark 16, 15 and in the evening on Isaiah 53, 11. The collections, with some subscriptions intended to be annual, amounted to £150 6s. 3d.

205. Letter to Lady Huntingdon, January 21 1785.

Honoured Madam,

A pretty long time has elapsed since I had occasion to write to your Ladyship. I have now to acquaint you that last month we lost a worthy and useful member of the committee, Mr Robert Hughes, who we have no doubt is gone to glory. To fill up the vacancy we have unanimously made choice of Mr Richard Butterworth, a gentlemen whose modesty and diffidence overcame our pressing sollicitations to accept the office on former vacancies, but who is now prevailed on by Mr Wills, whose entire approbation I apprehend is a sufficient recommendation to your Ladyship. To which it is but bare justice to add that we have on all occasions found Mr B's heart and purse open in every labour of love for the glory of God and the good of souls: we have no doubt therefore your Ladyship will approve and confirm our choice.

Dear Mr Wills preaches sweetly and evangelically with much life and power, and his divine master owns and blesses his [f. 28v.] ministry. It is not without much concern we think of parting with him so long a season as he talks of. He has just begun the long wished for society here. Tuesday last was the first meeting, which was pretty numerous considering that none are admitted without tickets, to obtain which a previous examination is required. Next Tuesday the sacrament is to be administered to the society only.

206. The petition from Wigan is under consideration here. Something will be done for them, tho' perhaps not equal to what may be expected. Applications in London are so frequent that few individuals can be very liberal on any one occasion. From hence, as desired, it shall go to the Mulberrygarden.

I don't know whether your Ladyship has been informed that no congregation contributed any thing last year to the traveling fund besides ours, except Bristol £20 11s. 1d. The noble example of Spa-field not being followed by other places, 'tis to be feared that fund, instituted for the best of purposes, will dwindle to nothing for want of zeal or ability in other congregations to assist in its support. (fn. 1) Will your Ladyship excuse my reminding you of the expences at Mr Dupont's? Towards which you proposed making me a remittance, which if convenient would come in with propriety before our next annual meeting, when that account will be audited.

That the great head of the Church may abundantly bless all your designs and endeavours for the extension of the knowledge of himself and his salvation, and add many years with multiplied comforts to your valuable life is the unfeigned prayer of the committee, etc.

207. [f. 29r.] Wednesday 26 September 1787

At a meeting of the committee in the committee room, present: Messrs Weatherill, Lyon, Silver, Fidler, Astle, Hodson, Towers, Butterworth.

Mr Fidler produced a letter he had received from the Countess of Huntingdon dismissing him from being a member of the committee. Messrs Astle and Towers declared that as this dismission was for no fault whatever, nor for any other cause than that of expressing pretty plainly his disapprobation of some tunes used in the chapel, they thought it their duty to retire with him.

208. Friday October 5 1787

Mr Fidler having been dismissed and Messrs Astle and Towers having sent in letters of resignation to her Ladyship agreeably to their resolution the 26th ultimo, there are now three vacancies in the committee.

209. Friday 4 January 1788

Mr William Langston and Mr Henry Batley were appointed members of the committee by the Countess of Huntingdon with the approbation of the committee.

210. [f.29v.] Sunday February 17 1788

The Revd Mr Bradford, Knight, Porter and Stumphausen ordained John James and Charles William Milton in the presence of a large congregation to go as missionaries to New Brunswick in America. (fn. 2)

211. Monday July 7 1788

The Countess of Huntingdon sent the Revd Mr Wills a letter dismissing him from his services at the chapel. The ground of this dismission was Mr Wills's refusal to accede to the plan of a society lately formed for perpetuating her Ladyship's college in Wales after her decease. (fn. 3)

212. Monday July 21 1788

The Revd Mr Knight sent a letter to the Countess of Huntingdon resigning the office of reader and assistant preacher at the chapel.

213. Thursday July 31 1788

A special meeting of the committee, present: Messrs Weatherill, Oldham, Silver, Carr, Dupont, Hodson, Langston, Batley.

Dr Lyon having resigned his place in the committee in consequence of Mr Wills's dismission, whereby the number of the committee is reduced to ten, and Mr Fidler having been dismissed without just cause, [f. 30r.] resolved unanimously, to request the Countess of Huntingdon to send a letter to the former members of the committee, Messrs Fidler, Astle and Towers, inviting them to join us again.

214. Thursday August 7 1788

Another special meeting of the committee for the purpose of receiving our three former brethren—Messrs Fidler, Astle and Towers, who came and were cordially welcomed by Messrs Oldham, Weatherill, Dupont, Carr, Silver, Hodson, Langston, Batley. Spent the whole time in prayer and singing.

215. Monday November 23 1789

The Countess of Huntingdon having summoned the committee to meet at the chapel house this evening to consider of forming an association to relieve her and take management of the whole Connection on themselves, being advised by Dr Lettsom to retire and throw off the burden.

All the committee met except Mr Langston and there were present five ministers, viz. Revd Mr Priestley, Rowlands, (fn. 4) Myers, Revd Mr Platt, Kirkman. Also three or four from Holywell Mount and the Mulberry [f. 30v.] Gardens of their committees or managers.

The points insisted on by our committee and approved by the rest as the ground-work of the association were:

1. A state of all the chapels in the Connection to be made out and laid before us.

2. To be informed what provision Lady H. had made or intended to make for the discharge of the debts and incumbrances of the chapels.

3. That she should not enter into any new engagement without the consent and approbation of the association.

4. That the management, direction and controul of the whole Connexion should devolve on the association, whose view and intention was to keep it together and maintain it with energy after the decease of the Countess.

216. The minutes of the meeting were to be laid before her Ladyship and her answer to be reported at the next meeting, agreed to be held on Thursday December 3, and all present to be summoned by written notices.

These notices to our committee were neglected or purposely omitted, and the meeting on the 3d December was attended by only 4 ministers, 2 of our committee [f. 31r.] viz., Messrs Weatherill and Batley, and 2 from Holywell Mount. Nevertheless this small meeting formed themselves into an association, altho' the answer from the Countess to the requisitions of the first meeting was, not to lay the state of the chapels, etc. before us.

This conduct begun and persevered in, occasioned a meeting on Monday the 21st December at Mr Dupont's at which were present: Messrs Oldham, Carr, Silver, Dupont, Fidler, Astle, Hodson, Towers, Butterworth, Langston. When the following letters were agreed on and signed by all present.

217. To the chairman of the association at Spafield chapel.


We the undersigned, members of the committee of the said chapel, beg you will please to present our thanks to the gentlemen of the association for their civility in augmenting their intended number in order to make room for us.

But as the sentiments declared and unanimously approved at the first meeting held the 23d of November are not made the basis of this association; as it was formed at a small meeting when we was not summoned [f.31v.] by written notices as was agreed; as the object it professes to have in view is no other than might have been obtained without such an association; and as it does not appear to us to be calculated to promote the great and important ends our ideas of an association went to accomplish; we do not see it right to join it.

We are with all due respect, sir, Your very humble servants, James Oldham Oldham, James Carr, Joseph Silver, Matthew Dupont, James Fidler, William Astle, William Hodson, Richard Butterworth.

It was not my intention from the first to join the association, but I approve of the reasons given by my brethren of the committee,

William Langston.

My sentiments coinciding with those of my brethren above, I request that my name may be erased from the book of the association,

George Towers.

218. [f. 32r.] To the Right Honourable the Countess of Huntingdon.

Honoured Madam,

We feel much concern that we cannot unite with the association lately formed to assist your Ladyship in the great and extensive work of the gospel wherein you are engaged.

In a letter addressed to the chairman of the association we have stated fully and explicitly our reasons, which we hope your Ladyship will admit as strong and cogent.

Our hearts nevertheless we trust are warm in the cause of our glorious redeemer; and we hope we shall not be found wanting in zeal in any matter we can conscientiously and consistently engage in.

Our reasons as stated to the association are these, namely,

1. The sentiments declared and unanimously approved at the first meeting held 23 November not being made the basis of the association.

2. The association being formed at a small meeting to which we were not summoned by written notices as had been agreed.

3. The object proposed by the association being no other than your committee was always ready and desirous to impart. [f. 32v.]

4. The great and important ends our ideas of an association went to accomplish being not likely to be answered by that now formed.

These are the real motives which influence us in our conduct on the present occasion, and we hope your Ladyship will not take it ill if our sentiments on this business differ from those of your Ladyship.

Wishing your Ladyship the blessing of the Lord in all your undertakings for his glory, we remain with the greatest respect, Honoured Madam,

Your Ladyship's faithful and humble (fn. 5) servants,

James Oldham Oldham, James Carr, Joseph Silver, Matthew Dupont, James Fidler, William Astle, William Hodson, George Towers, Richard Butterworth, William Langston.

21 December 1789

219. [f. 33r.] Wednesday September 8 1790

The committee met at Mr Dupont's at half past five. Present: Messrs Weatherill, Oldham, Carr, Dupont, Fidler, Messrs Astle, Hodson, Towers, Butterworth, Langston, Batley.

Mr Dupont went to prayer: after which Mr Oldham represented to the committee that altho' several attempts had been made by some of us as individuals to effect a reconciliation between the Countess of Huntingdon and the Revd Mr Wills, the committee had not attempted it jointly. He therefore wished to take the opinion of us at this meeting whether it did or did not appear a duty incumbent on us to wait on the Countess in a body and try if a reconciliation could not be brought about.

In conversing freely on the subject the first difficulty started was the meeting which Mr Wills had taken on a 21 years lease in Silver Street and on which it was said £700 had been laid out. But a greater obstacle than this arose, which was Mr Astle's determining to resign if Mr Wills should return: therefore we resolved not to heal one breach by making another; so the design was dropped.

Mr Oldham concluded with prayer.

220. [f. 33v.] Sunday 2 January 1791

The Revd Mr Rowlands having begun a collection for erecting a new chapel at Haverfordwest (fn. 6) and the Revd Rowland Hill having heard of the same and declared it to be unnecessary for that no new place was wanted there, (fn. 7) having also wrote Mr Rowlands desiring a conference which was refused, Mr Hill printed some hand bills and had them distributed at Spafields chapel this day tending to discourage the collection for the intended chapel. Lady Huntingdon, by Dr Ford, in the evening patronized and encouraged it.

221. The committee met at 5 o'clock. Present: Messrs Oldham, Weatherill, Carr, Fidler, Astle, Silver, Hodson, Towers, Langston, Batley.

After canvassing the matter at large it was agreed to desire a conference with Mr Rowlands this evening, for which purpose we sent to Sion chapel requesting to see him at Spafields immediately after evening service. He came, and the principal point in dispute seemed to be the administering the sacrament by Mr Joss and other lay preachers in the Tabernacle Connection, which Mr Rowlands objected to, saying it was administered only by clergymen in all the chapels in Wales. (fn. 8)

Messrs Oldham and Hodson were desired to wait on Mr Hill to try if that point could not be given up.

222. [f. 34r.] Monday January 3 1791

Messrs Oldham and Hodson waited on Mr Hill and had a long conversation with him. He said the Tabernacle at Haverford having been built on the broad bottom of admitting both churchmen and dissenters, the administration of the sacrament by the latter could not be given up. He contended there was no necessity for a new place of worship and in conclusion agreed to refer the matter to the Revd D. Jones, Mr Griffith and Mr Charles, three ministers of the Church of England in the Countess of Huntingdon's Connection and Mr Rowlands's own friends. Messrs Oldham and Hodson thought the proposal a fair one, and the next morning, January 4, Mr Hodson waited on Mr Rowlands at the chapel house to communicate it to him, but he did not accede to it, which occasioned the following letter to Mr Hill:

223. Revd Sir,

Sensible of the great injury the cause of God suffers from the differences of Christians, and especially of ministers, we and our brethren the committee of Spafield chapel, should have rejoiced to have been the happy instruments of terminating amicably the disagreements between you and Mr Rowlands. But we are sorry to say that your proposal of referring the matter in dispute to Mr D. Jones, Mr Griffiths and Mr Charles is not accepted by Mr Rowlands. We can therefore only lament that our interference was not successful and must leave the affair to the great head of the Church [f. 34v.] who knows how to overrule even divisions for his own glory, and to bring good out of every evil.

With our best wishes for the prosperity of the church of Christ at large, and sincere Christian respects to yourself in particular, we remain, Revd Sir,

Your humble and faithful servants: James Oldham Oldham,

William Hodson.

4 January 1791

224. Sunday January 9 [1791]

The committee being summoned to attend this morning after service in the committee room, the following members were present, viz. Messrs Weatherill, Oldham, Silver, Fidler, Astle, Butterworth, Hodson, Towers, Langston, Batley.

Messrs Oldham and Hodson related what had passed between them and Mr Hill and Mr Rowlands's refusal of the proposal Mr Hill had made. After some conversation the following resolution was agreed to with only Mr Batley's dissent:

Resolved that this committee, as lovers of peace [f. 35r.] and without partiality, disapprove of the measure of building another meeting at Haverfordwest considering it as unnecessary and tending to create divisions and disturbances in the church of Christ.

225. 1791 Friday June 17

It pleased God to take unto himself the Countess of Huntingdon in the 84th year of her age.

Sunday morning Mr Haweis preached from Prov. 10, 7—The memory of the just is blessed. Evening, 1 Thess. 4, 14—For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

Sunday 26, morning on Acts 2, 42—And they continued stedfastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayer. Evening on Luke 16, 31—If they hear not Moses and the prophets neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

226. Monday 27 [June 1791]

The funeral set out about a quarter before eight from the chapel house in Spafield where she died, consisting of a hearse and six, and three coaches and six (two of them at the committee's expence), (fn. 9) but no escutcheons; and went through Islington, Highgate, etc.

1st coach
2 coach
3 coach
Revd Mr Haweis, Revd Dr Ford and John Lloyd, esqr.
Messers Weatherill, Astle, Hodson and Mr Hinde, one of Sion chapel committee
Messrs Silver, Towers, Langston, Batley

and in Mr Haweis's own coach, Revd Mr Kirkman, Mr Best her Ladyship's secretary and Mr Dodd, apothecary. [f. 35v.] At Highgate Mr Haweis, Dr Ford and Mr Lloyd quitted the mourning coach and returned to town in Mr Haweis's. Mr Best, Mr Dodd and Mr Kirkman proceeded in the first coach, out of which the others had alighted. Mr Dupont, undertaker, went on horseback to Highgate and then got into a chaise.

At Barnet we stopped and the following 8 dined together at the Mitre, viz. Messrs Silver, Astle, Langston, Batley, Hinde; Wontner, one of the Mulberry Garden committee; Towers, Hodson.

Mr Weatherill went on with the funeral to Ashby de la Zouch (fn. 10) with Messrs Kirkman and Best, the rest of us returned home in our two coaches.

227. Wednesday June 29 [1791]

The committee had a special meeting with Mr Haweis, Mr David Jones and Dr Ford. Present: Messrs Oldham, Silver, Astle, Hodson, Towers, Langston, Batley.

Mr Haweis reported that Lady Huntingdon's debts were about £3000 of which £1200 is on account of Sion chapel. That her freehold houses at Bath, Brighton and Hereford must be sold to pay those debts, as far as they will go. That she has left £200 per annum in annuities to be paid to Lady Ann Erskine, Mr Best, etc. That she had strongly [f. 36r.] recommended the college to be kept up, but had left no funds for that purpose. (fn. 11)

Mr Haweis proposed keeping up a strong ministry at both chapels as the only means of making them productive, and said if we had the best ministers we must pay them liberally. He mentioned 3 guineas per week and the ministers to provide their own table, but in an after conversation it was thought best for the housemaid to provide and keep a book of expences— the ministers of Spafield and Sion chapels to be both accomodated in Spafield chapel house, and the committee of Sion chapel to pay half the housekeeping. The allowance to ministers to be 2 guineas per week, and what shall be thought right, according to the distance, for their traveling charges.

228. Sunday July 3 [1791]

Mr Jones preached the funeral sermon in the morning on Gen. 50, 24 —I die, and God will surely visit you. Mr Haweis in the evening on 2 Cor. 5, 8—We are confident I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Mr Haweis also preached a funeral sermon in the morning at Sion chapel on Rev. 14, 13. Both chapels were hung with black; the committees and many of the congregation went into mourning.

Her Ladyship was buried in the family vault at Ashby on Thursday the 30 June. (fn. 12)

229. [f. 36v.] Thursday 27 September 1792

This evening Mr Thompson from Sleaford in Lincolnshire was ordained at Spa Fields chapel: the ordaining ministers were the Revd Lemuel Kirkman, the Revd Robert Caldwell and the Revd George Ford.

The service began at 6 o'clock with singing, 'Ye servants of God, your master proclaim,' etc. Mr Ford then prayed for the Lord's presence and blessing, after which were sung the two first verses of, 'Blow ye the trumpet, blow,' etc.

Mr Kirkman then delivered an introductory discourse on the authority from scripture and the practice of the apostles and ministers in the primitive church for thus solemnly setting apart for the work of the ministry such as appear to be called by the great head of the church to that office.

He then called on Mr Thompson to relate his christian experience, which he did in a very satisfactory manner, saying that he was brought out of darkness into light by the instrumentality of the Revd Mr Browning, one of the ministers in this Connection: and when he had been brought into gospel light and liberty he found a strong desire to communicate what he knew of the grace of God to his fellow sinners; but strove to evade the thoughts of going into the ministry till at length advising with Mr Browning he was encouraged, and Mr Browning wrote to Lady Huntingdon on his behalf, who received him into the Connection.

230. Mr Thompson then read the 15 articles which he declared his assent and consent to: which having done he gave out, 'If so poor a worm as I,' and the following verse. He then came down from the seat on which he [f. 37r.] stood, and kneeling at the rail of the communion table, the three ministers laid their right hands on his head, and Mr Caldwell imploring the Lord's blessing in a short prayer; Mr Kirkman put the Bible into his hands, saying dear Brother Thompson take thou authority to preach the word of God and administer his holy ordinances, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

That verse was then sung, 'Give reward of grace and glory,' etc. Mr Caldwell then went into the desk, Mr Thompson standing before him, and delivered a most excellent charge from 1 Tim. 6, 20—O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust.

After which the 1st and 3d verses of, 'Captain of thine enlisted host,' were sung, and Mr Kirkman concluded with prayer and singing, 'Blessings for ever on the lamb,' etc. It was just nine o'clock when the service ended.

231. Sunday morning January 18 1795

About twenty minutes before six o'clock Mr George Towers, a valuable member of the committee, departed this life.

232. Committee meeting Tuesday February 10 1795

Present: Mr Oldham in the chair, Mr Langston, Mr Hodson, Mr Carr, Mr Astle and Mr Batley.

A vacancy was declared in the committee, occasioned by the death of Mr Towers. Mr John Cooper, Mr Fyffe and Mr J. T. Holmes were [f.37v.] mentioned, and the choice fell unanimously on Mr Cooper, who was accordingly recommended to Lady Anne and by her invited to join us, which with much diffidence of his abilities he accepted.

Mr Langston moved, and it was resolved, that Mr James Baker ought not to continue a member of the committee as he not only does not contribute to any of the extra expence of the chapel, but when last in town was so extremely mean as to refuse paying 3s. a quarter for his seat, altho' pressed and reasoned with on the subject. Lady Anne was requested to write him a dismission.

There being, with Mr Cooper, twelve in the committee, and the minds of those present not being made up with respect to another, the election of another was postponed.

On a motion by Mr Carr, Mr Cooper was considered as chosen in the room of Mr Baker, and the vacancy occasioned by Mr Tower's decease remains open.

233. Committee meeting Wednesday 16 September 1795

Present: Messrs Weatherill, Oldham, Carr, Hodson, Langston, Batley, Cooper.

The accounts for 1794 was audited, by which there appears a balance due to the treasurer of £96 14s. 11 3/4d. exclusive of the repair, no part of which is taken into this account. (fn. 13) [f. 38r.]

Resolved that the Revd Mr Jones be requested to preach a collection sermon towards the repair on Sunday the 25th of October.

Resolved also that whereas the Revd Mr Haweis is to preach a sermon in the chapel on Tuesday next, the 22d instant, to the ministers and others associated with a design to send missionaries abroad, (fn. 14) it is expedient to inform Mr Haweis previously that no collection can be made at our chapel for that society, the congregation at Spa Fields being already burthened enough.

Mr Hodson proposed, and it was unanimously agreed, that Lady Anne be requested to add Mr Butcher senior and Mr Holmes to the committee, as several of the present members seldom or never attend any of the committee meetings. All present, except Mr Oldham, waited on Lady Anne who entirely coincided with us.

234. October 25

Mr Jones preached for the repairs: the collection amounted to £141 5s.

Mr Holmes accepted the invitation as a call from God and was added to the committee. Mr Butcher declined.

235. 1800

Mr Butcher senior being deceased and Mr Hodson wishing to decline the treasurer and secretary's office, desired Lady Anne Erskine to invite Mr Robert Butcher the son to accept a place in the committee, with a view to succeed Mr Hodson. Mr Butcher was accordingly invited and took some time to consider of it. And on the 31st of October sent a letter to Mr Hodson signifying his acceptance.

236. [f. 38v.] 1801 Tuesday 21 April

A special meeting of the committee was held to consider of complaints made by the ministers at various times that they are not agreeably accomodated in the chapel house.

Present: Messrs Oldham, Weatherill, Fidler, Astle, Hodson, Carr, Langston, Holmes, Butcher.

Mr Astle reported that —— whom Lady Anne has taken into the house to visit the sick was complained of by the Revd Mr Glascott and the Revd Thomas Jones as being much employed in the domestic concerns, and so exceedingly——disposition: (fn. 15) also that the ministers had not proper attention paid them by the servants of the house.

Mr Oldham and Mr Hodson also mentioned complaints that had been made to them by other ministers that the ministers were not comfortable in the chapel house: and there was reason to believe that was the cause why the Revd Mr Griffiths and the Revd David Jones did not come again. It was also thought that the house was too full of people which makes it unpleasant for a minister or two ministers to reside in, there being four female persons besides Lady Anne, viz. Mrs Durie, Mrs Bromwich, Nanny the late housemaid and the new housemaid, besides which there had been another, an Irish woman. Add to all these Mr ——.So many people dwelling in the house necessarily occasion more noise, confusion [f. 39r.] and disorder than the committee wish, or can be thought agreeable to the resident ministers for Spa Fields and Sion chapels. (fn. 16)

237. After a long conference on the subject the following five articles of reform were agreed to be presented to Lady Anne, and were presented by all the members of the committee present:

1st. That —— be dismissed.

2. That one of the females be dismissed.

3. That the house maid, who is paid her wages by the chapel, should be ordered to pay all due attention to the ministers.

4. That the large parlour be appropriated to the ministers' use, and the small parlour be a hall or lobby for all persons to go into who come to the house about any business.

5. That there be a fixt hour for the morning and evening prayers in the family. (fn. 17)

238. 1807 Tuesday December 22

Since the death of Lady Anne Erskine, who departed this life on Friday October 5 1804, and of her successor the Revd Dr Ford, who died on Monday May 26 1806, Mr Groves also having departed this life 1 July 1806; Messrs Oldham, Butcher and Langston, who were successively chosen in their room as the devisees or trustees of Lady Huntingdon, with the Revd Dr Haweis, agreed to meet on the business of the Connection in the little parlour of the chapel-house every Tuesday at half past five, at which meetings they invited any of their brethren of the committee to attend. This evening, in consequence of a resolution which had previously passed to add two or three to the committee on account of some being removed into the country and some others being old and infirm, it was agreed to invite Mr Joseph Tarn, Mr John Moreland and Mr Edward Fleetwood, all of whom accepted the call within a few days.

239. [f. 39v.] 1808 Tuesday 23d February

Mr Edward Lake, late a student at Cheshunt College, having given proof of his ability and fitness for the ministry at Worcester, Spafields and Sion chapels, and other places, was this evening ordained at Spa-fields in the presence of a large congregation.

The Revd Mr Kirkman began with prayer. After singing the Revd Mr Bickerdike delivered an introductory discourse on the nature, authority and antiquity of ordination, and called on Mr Lake to relate the dealings of God with him in his conversion and his call to the ministry, which he did in a very full, clear and satisfactory manner, and then read out our 15 articles, to which he declared his hearty assent and consent.

The Revd Thomas Jones of Oathall prayed the ordination-prayer, which was accompanied with the laying on of his own right hand and those of Mr Kirkman and Mr Bickerdike.

The Revd Mr Jones then delivered an affectionate charge and the Revd Samuel Franklin concluded with prayer. The solemnity began at half past five o'clock, it concluded soon after eight. All the trustees of the college were present.

240. 1808 Wednesday March 2

Mr John Cooper, a member of the committee at Spa-fields chapel, died at Ashbourn. (fn. 18)

241. 1809 Wednesday March 1

Mr Edward Fleetwood, the youngest member of the committee, died at his house in Smith-street, Northampton Square, Clerkenwell, aged only 24.

242. March 26 [1809]

The committee agreed to meet at the committee room on Friday next, the 31st instant, being Good Friday at 3 o'clock to consider the expediency of adding two or three to their number.

243. [f. 40r.] Friday 31 March 1809

Present: Messrs Oldham, Carr, Dupont, Astle, Hodson, Langston, Batley, Butcher, Tarn, Moreland.

Sung hymn 286, page 419. Mr Dupont engaged in prayer. Sung a verse in page 193 and Mr Oldham prayed.

Some time was then spent in conversation, where it was considered that Spa-fields chapel being the head and centre of the Connection, it is expedient at all times to keep up there a strong and effective committee; that although the present number is nominally 15, yet as Mr Weatherill and Mr Fidler are become incapable of attending, Mr Silver never attends, Mr Holmes is gone to reside in the country, and some others are growing old and infirm, it is advisable to make an addition of two or three who have been many years members of the congregation.

This being the sense of the meeting, Mr Oldham proposed Mr Henry Fyffe, Mr William Pontin and Mr John King, who being unanimously approved of, they were invited, and after taking a little time for consideration, they all accepted the call.

The committee therefore comprises the following names, viz. Mr Oldham, Mr Weatherill, Mr Carr, Mr Silver, Mr Dupont, Mr Fidler, Mr Astle, Mr Hodson, Mr Butterworth, Mr Langston, Mr Batley, Mr Holmes, Mr Butcher, Mr Tarn, Mr Moreland, Mr Fyffe, Mr Pontin, Mr King.

244. [f. 40v.] Monday 29 May 1809

Mr William Langston departed this life, after about three months illness, aged 56.

245. Wednesday 14 June 1809

The trustees of the college met at the chapel-house, Spa-fields to elect a trustee in the room of Mr Langston deceased. Present: Messrs Oldham, Dupont, Hodson, Batley.

Mr Oldham read the 46th psalm and went to prayer.

Mr Robert Butcher was unanimously elected, but as Mr Astle could not possibly attend this meeting, it was thought a mark of due respect to acquaint him and have his approbation before Mr Butcher was informed. Mr Astle entirely concurred with his brethren, and Mr Butcher, after some hesitation and persuasion, accepted the office.

At this meeting a conversation also took place about filling up the vacancy in the general trust for the Connexion, when Mr Batley was unanimously fixed on, but he was not now formally elected because Mr Butcher, one of the electors, was not present. Mr Butcher, when spoken to, approved and Mr Batley, with some persuasion, consented.

246. Tuesday 4 July 1809

Messrs James Bridgeman and Thomas Griffiths, who had been students at the college, were ordained at Spa-fields chapel by the following ministers, viz. the Revd Dr Draper, the Revd Messrs Kirkman, Thomas Bennett, Robert Stodhart and John Griffiths. At half past 5 the service commenced thus: after singing Mr Kirkman prayed. Dr Draper addressed the very numerous audience on the nature and antiquity of ordination and called on the two candidates to relate their call by grace and to the ministry, which they did very satisfactorily. Mr Bridgeman then read the 15 articles, to which their assent and consent was required and given. The Revd Mr Bennett then prayed the ordination prayer and they were ordained by imposition of hands. Dr Draper gave an excellent charge grounded on Acts 20, 28, and Mr John Griffiths concluded with prayer.

247. [f. 41r.] Monday the 8th January 1810

Mr Joseph Silver died aged near 70.

248. Saturday February 3 1810

Mr Weatherill, the oldest member of the committee, was found dead in his bed, aged about 84 or 85.

249. Wednesday August 1 1810

In the fornoon, the service commencing a quarter after ten, Mr Thomas Nuccol Miller and Mr Thomas Keyworth, late students at the college, were ordained at Spa-fields chapel. After singing the first three verses of the first hymn, the Revd William Mather began with prayer; then the Revd Edward Lake delivered a very suitable discourse on the subjects who are proper for ordination and the qualifications absolutely necessary thereto. Mr Miller first, and then Mr Keyworth, related in a very satisfactory manner God's gracious dealings with them in their conversion and call to the ministry, and declared their assent and consent to the 15 articles of faith which were read by Mr Keyworth. The Revd Thomas Jones prayed the ordination prayer, his hands being at the same time on the heads of the two candidates, after which the Revd Josiah Jehoiada Richards, tutor of the college, went into the pulpit and delivered an excellent charge grounded on 1 Timothy 3, 15— That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God. The Revd John Mather concluded with prayer.

The Revd James Bridgman and Thomas Griffiths were present, likewise Mr John Williams, senior student at the college, all the trustees and a large congregation.

250. It should have been noticed before that the trustees of the college had a special meeting on Wednesday the 11th of April to elect a trustee in the room of Mr Weatherill deceased, when Mr James Carr, one of the oldest members of the committee, was chosen.

251. [f. 41v.] 1811 Wednesday January 30th

Mr Richard Butterworth, one of the members of the committee, departed this life.


  • 1. The accounts (Cheshunt MS. E4/15, 2) show that until 1786 the only contributing congregations were in London, Bath and Bristol.
  • 2. On this occasion was published An Address to the Inhabitants of New Brunswick, Nova-Scotia, in North America . . ., by John Bradford, A.B., late of Wadham-College, Oxford; Chaplain to the Right Honourable the Countess of Huntingdon (1788). The Countess's copy is Cheshunt MS. A3/14.
  • 3. See W. Wilson, History and Antiquities of Dissenting Churches, iii (1810), 118-21.
  • 4. See E. Welch, 'Letters to Lady Huntingdon', Cylchgrawn Cymdeithas Hanes y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd, lvii (1972), 42-7 for a letter of Nathaniel Rowland, and an explanation of the absence of Thomas Charles of Bala from this meeting.
  • 5. William Hodson began to write 'obedient', but substituted 'humble'.
  • 6. Haverfordwest in the English-speaking part of Pembrokeshire had caused difficulties ten years previously when the Gloucestershire Association (which Rowland Hill presumably represented in 1791) was asked to give up Haverfordwest to the Welsh Association (Cylchgrawn Cymdeithas Hanes y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd, lii, 40-1).
  • 7. At this time there were at least three churches of Calvinistic Methodist persuasion in Haverfordwest: the Moravian church, Bethesda Baptist church and the Tabernacle Congregational church (G. D. James, The Town and County of Haverfordwest (Haverfordwest, 1959), 107).
  • 8. It should be remembered that the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists, unlike the English, had not seceded from the Church of England at this time.
  • 9. The phrase in brackets was added later.
  • 10. Lady Huntingdon was buried in the parish church of St. Helen's in Ashby (Leics.), where her husband and his ancestors are buried.
  • 11. This account is not completely accurate. The chapel and house at Brighton were copyhold and not freehold. In the event none were sold. Lady Anne's annuity was for £100 and George Best's for £30. With annuities to servants the total came to considerably more than £200. See Deeds of Trust relating to the . . .Connexion (1874).
  • 12. Despite Lady Huntingdon's injunction a monument to her was erected in the church.
  • 13. In the previous year a subscription had been started, entitled 'An offering to the Lord for Spa Fields chapel to clear off the arrears arising from the repair of the house in 1791, and to repair the chapel'. It raised £569 and a second subscription in 1796 raised a further £206 17s. 6d. towards the deficit (Cheshunt MS. D1/2).
  • 14. This was the origin of the London Missionary Society. Haweis' own account of his part in its foundation is now in Australia (Mitchell Library, Sydney, MS. A3023).
  • 15. Two erasures have been made in this entry, 'as to be quite' is written over the second.
  • 16. Unlike Lady Huntingdon, Lady Anne Erskine resided permanently in the chapel house.
  • 17. Rev. David Jones did return to Spa Fields after these reforms. On 18 July 1804 he wrote from there to Mr Rogers at Fishguard, '. . . half my time in this noisy place is now over. I have been at this chapel for five Sundays and three more will make up the usual time of residence here, but I fear I must give two Sundays at Zion chapel before I leave town (as some of my old friends there seem to wish for a few sermons) . . .' (National Lib. of Wales, Add. MS. 1086C).
  • 18. In Derbyshire where he founded an almshouse and placed it in the trusteeship of Cheshunt College.