Hockley Chapel Nottingham (1796)

In a letter, dated January 6, 1797, now before the writer, addressed by Mr Tatham to a friend who desired to be informed of the great things which the Lord had done at Nottingham, a very interesting narrative of the gracious visitation, referred to by Mrs Tatham, is supplied. That visitation began with the labours of Mr Taylor, from Sheffield, on the occasion of his coming to open a chapel at Basford, near Nottingham. Mr Tatham heard him with great attention, and was struck with his conversation in company, as well as with his preaching, and saw the excellency of becoming a little child for Christ's sake, though (as he says) he knew not how to be made one. At that time a general excitement was shared by the leaders or office-bearers of the Nottingham society, and a special public prayer-meeting was established in the Halifax-place chapel on Wednesday evenings, with a view to the now desired and expected prosperity of the work of God. At a love-feast held at that time in Nottingham, a powerful influence was experienced, and the general impression was much heightened, by the remarkable energy and pathos with which a soldier, who was trumpet-major to the 3rd Dragoon Guards, related his Christian experience. At a similar meeting, held about the same time in a neighbouring village, Mr. Tatham, who had not spoken on such an occasion for ten years, was constrained to open his lips with the words, "The hour cometh, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live," when a flame of Divine love was kindled amongst the people.

At the domestic altar in Mr Tatham's house the fire from heaven descended, and seasons of great solemnity and refreshing were experienced. On one morning, in particular, when reading the 2nd chapter of Acts, he was peculiarly blessed, and whilst engaged in prayer, such a baptism of the Spirit was poured out, that it seemed as if the day of Pentecost were come a second time, insomuch, that his tongue broke forth in unknown strains, and sang surprising grace. Though naturally timid, and restrained by the fear of man, this grace could not be concealed from his brother officers in the church. After a sermon by Mr. S. Bardsley, under which Mr T. was filled with joy and peace in believing, and after the usual business of the leaders' meeting that followed had been transacted, he was at length enabled to overcome all restraints, and to communicate an account of his own happy state, and called upon others to testify if they too felt the love of God in their hearts.

Upon this, many who were present became sensibly affected, and Mr Bardsley, the minister that presided, engaged in prayer, when the heavens opened, and the Spirit of God descended upon them: and Mr Tatham, whose aversion to loud praying had previously amounted almost to disgust, was so carried out in agonizing prayer for twenty minutes, that he knew not in what tone of voice his supplications were uttered. Several were melted into tears, and broke forth into such a general confession of sin as was truly affecting, and were filled with the love of Jesus, and with love to one another: so much so, that one of them, feeling himself the next day so unspeakably happy as to be utterly disposed to attend to business, took his horse and rode upon the forest, singing praises to God. On the Wednesday evening following, at the prayer-meeting, which had increased from about thirty (the number that attended at its commencement) to about two hundred, the wonders of grace which God had wrought amongst the leaders were declared to the people, and several backsliders were restored to the joy of God's salvation.

From, ‘Memoirs of Mrs Mary Tatham, late of Nottingham,’ by Joseph Beaumont, 1838, p98-100.

Additional Information

The map marks where Hockley Chapel stood.

In 1797 there was a big split and the New Connexion kicked out the Wesleyan supporters out of the church.

This was during the Great Yorkshire Revival