Make the most of your time in the historic town of Epworth by exploring the Wesley Trail. Throughout the town there are signposts at sites that were significant to the Wesley family and the history of Methodism. These tell you the history and importance of each location and the maps on them direct you to the next stop on the trail. The trail is designed to be self-guided, or, if you wish for a more in-depth experience, you can book a Walk with Wesley through the Old Rectory. You can make your visit into a holiday by booking accommodation.
Epworth, which I still love beyond most places in the world.John Wesley
Wesley Trail Locations
The Red Lion Coaching Inn is in Epworth Market Place and was where John Wesley stayed when he visited Epworth.
The Market Cross
Across the Market Place from The Red Lion is the Market Cross, where John Wesley preached many times.
On the hill overlooking the Market Place is the parish church of St Andrew’s, where Samuel Wesley was Rector from 1695 until his death in 1735. Explore the interior of the church, where you can see an oak chair given to the church by Susanna Wesley and the font where a number of the Wesley children were baptised. In the grounds you can see Samuel Wesley’s grave, where John preached to the locals.
The church is open most afternoons, but is closed when special events are taking place, so please contact their tourism officer to arrange your visit. You can also see the Wesley Chalice if you contact the church in advance.
This church was built as a lasting memorial to John and Charles Wesley. It opened on 15 September 1889 on Epworth High Street, replacing a previous Wesleyan church, which the congregation had outgrown. Here you can see the famous stained glass window and the communion table which once stood in St. Andrew’s church, from which Samuel Wesley celebrated communion.
The John Wesley Statue
John Wesley overlooks his childhood home, the Old Rectory, from Albion Hill. There were many attempts to erect a statue of John Wesley in Epworth, including one planned for the centenary of his death in 1891. However that was never built. A statue was finally installed as part of the tercentenary celebrations of John Wesley’s birth in 2003. It was created by Sue Reeves, a local artist.
Kilham Memorial Chapel
Across the High Street from Wesley Memorial Methodist Church, this was a chapel of the Methodist New Connexion, a movement founded by Alexander Kilham, a contemporary of John Wesley, who was also born in Epworth. It was opened in 1860 after the congregation had outgrown their previous chapel. Worship continued there until 1949, when the congregation joined Wesley Memorial and the Kilham chapel became a youth centre.
Walk with Wesley
Experience the Wesley Trail in more detail by booking a Walk with Wesley through the Old Rectory.
A guide will take you around key sites like St Andrew’s, Wesley Memorial and the Wesley Statue. You will learn how Methodism developed, both through the work of the Wesleys and Alexander Kilham. This entertaining and interactive tour will allow you to place the Old Rectory in the context of Epworth and the Methodist movement. The walk takes between an hour and an hour and a half. The recommended group size is twelve people. If your group is larger we can divide it up and run two or more walks. These walks are only available through pre-booking, so please contact the Old Rectory in advance by filling in the form below.