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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2004-08 > 1093467452

From: "Edward Andrews" <>
Subject: Re: [Sc-Ir] Search for ancestor in Ireland 1855-1865 (Methodists)
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2004 21:57:44 +0100
References: <>

As I was unhappy about the information which was being pushed simply from my
own knowledge of Methodism, I wrote
"I think that you are wrong. the Irish Methodist website has a misprint.
Methodism came out of the 1784 ordinations by Wesley.
Edward Andrews"

Ellis was unhappy about my reply, I was fairly certain that there was either
a mistake in the site or ambiguous information. I therefore wrote to Rev.
Robin Roddie, who is the (volunteer) archivist for the Irish Wesley
Historical Society. and who is quoted on the site.

I asked the question
" I an engaged in a discussion on a historical list where the question of
the history of Irish Methodism has come up.
I was under the impression that Methodism in Ireland was well established by
the time of the death of Wesley (Holmes p 88). This person is arguing that
Irish Methodism wasn't a denomination until after the disestablishment of
the Church of Ireland 1870.

I would be grateful for some guidance.

I got the following reply.

Yes Methodism was well established by the time of Wesley's death in 1791 but
Wesley urged his followers not to leave the Established Church and he
managed to prevent a break with the Anglican church during his life time.
Methodists considered themselves to be a society within the Established
church committed to the reform and renewal of the church. Nevertheless
Wesley contributed to the conditions which made such a break inevitable by,
for instance, his ordination of several of his preachers to administer the
sacrament (in Scotland and the Americas - where the Anglican Church was not
established). In 1784 he had given legal status to his conference of

After Wesley's death in England under the Plan of Pacification (1795)
Methodist societies which wished their ministers to administer the sacrament
were allowed to do so under certain circumstances and this was a decisive
break with the Church of England. In Ireland the Methodist people continued
to attend the Established church and hold dual membership until the period
1816-1818 when the issue of the administration of the sacraments threatened
to split the movement down the middle. In the end in 1818 the majority of
the members of Conference voted to allow the administration of the
sacraments by their preachers and so take on the role of not only preachers
of the word but ministers of the sacrament. This was the final break in
Ireland with the established church. However some 6,000 members of the Irish
Methodists withdrew and constituted themselves into a body known as the
Primitive Wesleyan Methodist Connexion (they considered they were the true
followers of Wesley's design for Methodism). They recruited preachers, built
chapels and maintained a separate existence, preaching the gospel, providing
education in their schools etc but expecting their people to attend the
parish church for the sacraments and church services. Their Methodist class
meetings and preaching services were held outside church hours.

At the time of disestablishment the Church of Ireland ordained some of the
PWM preachers and considered creating them into a preaching order but that
possibility fell through and in the end the PWMs reunited with the Wesleyan
Methodists in 1878. So in Ireland the break with the Established Church came
in two stages. For the larger body of Methodists it was in 1816-18 and for
the minority it was 1878.

I am sure that this clarifies the situation, and I thank Robin for his

Edward Andrews

----- Original Message -----
From: "Eilis O'Hara" <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 4:50 PM
Subject: Re: [Sc-Ir] Search for ancestor in Ireland 1855-1865 (Methodists)

> Linda,
> Just a clarification....the website I posted is the
> Methodist Church in Ireland website, in other words
> the official Methodist Church website placed online by
> the Methodist Church. It's not a website belonging to
> me or any other individual. I would assume the
> Methodist Church in Ireland knows its own history and
> has reflected that on its website.
> However, if there are those not in Ireland who would
> challenge the Methodist Church of Ireland website
> historical information (or anything else included),
> then there are links to Church officials which can be
> used to share that concern about the Church's
> description of its own history.
> Eilis O'Hara
> --- Linda Merle <> wrote:
>> Hi folks,
>> A webpage is not a primary source. Any duffus can
>> develop
>> a webpage and fill it erroneous information. As
>> genealogists,
>> surely we know that by now as the genealogy stuff is
>> the worse.
>> There are websites that do post primary sources but
>> even
>> a COPY of a church register is subject to several
>> types of
>> errors: transcription errors, interpretation errors,
>> and
>> errors made typing the stuff into the webpages. As
>> even
>> pros have a transcription error rate of 10% ....
>> well, there's
>> errors in copies of anything up there on the
>> Internet.
>> Scans are better -- then we get to make the
>> transcription
>> errors when copying them into our notes <grin>!
>> In the definitive work on Irish genealogy "Irish and
>> Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research" by Falley there is
>> a whole
>> chapter on Methodists in Ireland. She recounts the
>> history
>> from its founding in 1747 (p 335). If you check her
>> or other
>> books on Irish genealogy they all say the same
>> thing: "The
>> majority were members of the Established Church" (p
>> 335).
>> The same is true, by the way, for English Methodists
>> (check
>> "Ancestral Trails" by Herber).
>> On the same page Falley makes an important
>> statement:
>> "The Wesleyan Methodist Society appealed almost
>> equally to
>> Presbyterians. When they joined the Society, they
>> also
>> remained members of the Presbyterian Church until
>> after
>> 1816 when they began to assert their independence."
>> This
>> is because, according to the sources I've read,
>> Wesley didn't
>> intend to found a new church but to reform the
>> existing one.
>> On pages 338-339 Falley quotes the "History of the
>> Church
>> of Ireland" by Johnston, Robinson and Jackson
>> (Dublin,
>> 1953, p 245) which quotes two of Wesley's rules that
>> he
>> as a clergyman of the Established Church, impressed
>> on his
>> followers: "KEEP TO THE CHURCH. ....I will suffer no
>> meetings under any pretext to be held during Church
>> hours. When
>> Methodists leave the Church, God will leave them."
>> and
>> "Lose no opportunity of receiving the Sacrament."
>> Consequently when researching Methodists in Ireland
>> before
>> establishment of separate denominations you always,
>> always,
>> always check established church records -- and as we
>> can see,
>> above, you'd best check the Presbyterians as well.
>> Methodism was first spread in large evangelical
>> meetings.
>> Ulster was very familiar with these kinds of
>> meetings.
>> With little TV and since many didn't read, religion
>> was
>> entertainment, so many people would attend these
>> meetings
>> no matter their religion -- the same as their
>> grandparents
>> did in the earlier times of religious fervor (this
>> hit
>> Ulster like epidemics every few years). So you had
>> conversions
>> from all other religions at them including
>> Catholics.....
>> I suspect they resulted in lots of marriages to the
>> wrong
>> type of people as well!
>> Linda Merle
>> ---------- Original Message
>> ----------------------------------
>> From: "Eilis O'Hara" <>
>> Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2004 00:28:18 +0100 (BST)
>> >Here's the information from the Methodist Church in
>> >Ireland website which explains the Church was
>> >established in 1878. I gave you the link to the
>> site.
>> >The Church of Ireland (Anglican) was disestablished
>> >as the official church in 1871 and issued a new
>> Book
>> >of Common Prayer in 1878 when the Methodist
>> Episcopal
>> >Church separated.
>> >
>> >"The Methodist Church in Ireland was established as
>> a
>> >separate denomination in 1878. It had originally
>> been
>> >an evangelistic movement within the Established
>> >Church. However, the ordination of its own
>> ministers
>> >and the increasing disassociation many Methodists
>> felt
>> >from the Anglican Church, meant that separation was
>> >inevitable."
>> >
>> >Eilis O'Hara
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >Yahoo! Messenger - Communicate instantly..."Ping"
>> >your friends today! Download Messenger Now
>> >
>> >
>> >
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