Wesley in Retford and Worksop

Given how close Epworth is to Retford and Worksop it is perhaps surprising that he visited the two towns of Bassetlaw rarely. However it is very interesting to compare his reactions when he did come this way.

Wesley visited Worksop in 1780 having been invited by a few local people: “When I came they had not fixed on any place; at length they chose a lamentable one, full of dirt and dust but without the least shelter from the scorching sun….We had only a small a company of as stupid hearers as ever I saw.” Wesley never came back and took 33 years before the Methodist chapel opened!

In 1786 he preached in Retford and received a much better response: “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God.” This is an interesting choice of phrase requiring some thought, but I’m assuming he meant the spiritually dead!

Another difference between the two towns is that Worksop has never had a Baptist church. Indeed Jean Coulson (at The Well, Retford Baptist Church) has unearthed for me an old East Midlands Baptist Association pamphlet from 1992 which is actually called ‘Where’s Worksop?’