Primitive Methodism was an amazing movement that swept through England in the early 19th century. In 70 years they established nearly 6000 churches (or chapels), gathered 200,000 members and half a million Sunday School children. The movement grew out of the Wesleyan Methodists, (founded by John Wesley in 1738), which by 1800 was becoming respectable. The Primitives (so called because they reverted back to early Wesleyan Methodism) began with an open air camp meeting at Mow Cop in North Staffordshire on May 31, 1807, and became a movement with formal members in 1810.
There were two founding fathers of the movement: Hugh Bourne (1772- 1852) and William Clowes (1780-1851). Hugh Bourne was effectively the general superintendent and William Clowes the missionary apostle, much like the Apostle Paul, preaching the gospel and making converts in the villages, town and cities of England. Their preachers faced opposition and persecution courageously, and there are numerous remarkable stories of God at work.
The movement resulted in lives and communities being transformed, particularly amongst the working classes and the poor during the early parts of the industrial revolution. From 1820 the movement grew rapidly through open-air preaching, camp meetings and the establishment of classes and societies in rural communities, towns and cities.
In this blog we will retell some of the stories and history of this movement, so that we may be inspired to make a difference in our 21st century world.