Hull Primitive Methodists (1819)

“I arrived in the town of Hull on Friday, the 15th January 1819, and made my way to the residence of Mr Woolhouse. As soon as I entered the house, Mrs Woolhouse and John Oxtoby, commonly called Praying Johnny, fell down upon their knees and returned thanks to God for my safe arrival. This act of devotion was very encouraging to me and became a prelude to greater things. On the very day of entering Hull I preached in the evening in an old factory in North Street. Vast numbers of people attended, many influenced by curiosity, others with an intention to create disturbance, having heard of the arrival of the “Ranter preacher”; however, God was present in my first effort to make known the riches of his mercy, and the wicked were restrained, so the meeting terminated in peace and quiet.”

On Sunday, March 7th, Mr Clowes conducted the first love-feast at Hull. The excitement in the surrounding country was so great, that some persons came nearly twenty miles in order to attend it. '' The love-feast," says Mr Clowes, “was very powerful; many blessed God for what their eyes had seen; others wept, and praised God, who in His providence had mercifully sent the 'Ranters ' to Hull" In the evening Mr Clowes preached when hundreds were unable to obtain admission. “The spirit of hearing," he says, "increased more and more, and the fields were white for the harvest. O for labourers to enter in! was the cry of my soul from day today."

On Sunday, May 30th, Messrs Clowes and Harrison, assisted by otbers, held the first camp-meeting at Hull, when thousands of persons attended. The weather proved unfavourable during some parts of the day; so that the meeting could not be conducted without intermission. Several services were therefore held in different parts of the town, at which many sinners cried for mercy, and obtained peace through believing. During the week, Mr Clowes was employed in giving society tickets to the members at Hull, already amounting to about 160 in number. Clowes was soon joined in his work by John Harrison and his wife Sarah, and in June of 1819 Hull and the surrounding area was formed into a circuit. By September they were ready to open their first Hull chapel, in Mill Street. Built at a cost of £1,700, it had seating for 790 people. (Mill Street Chapel closed in 1910 and was used as a dancehall until destroyed by bombing in 1941.)

From, ‘The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion from its origin, by John Petty, 1860. p71/3

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