Wesley Historical Society 1893Cumbria Methodist History Society

formerly Cumbria Wesley Historical Society


The Society was formed in 1976 and is one of several Regional Methodist Historical Societies which were originally branches of the Wesley Historical Society, established in 1893. We cover all aspects of Methodist history (including former Methodist denominations) with special emphasis on Cumbria. This includes, of course, the life and work of John and Charles Wesley, as well as the work and witness of many generations of their Methodist followers from the 18th to the 21st centuries. The study of Methodist chapels and their architecture is placed within the broader patterns of English history.

Meetings and activities are held in different venues across the county, the main ones being an outing in Spring or early Summer and a lecture in Autumn followed by the Annual General Meeting. For example, on 24 May (Wesley Day) 2014, we took part in the celebrations at Gamblesby to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the present Gamblesby Methodist Church and the 230th anniversary of the original chapel in the village, while on 27 September 2014, we enjoyed a talk at Appleby Methodist Church by Jane Mansergh on early Primitive Methodist hymnody, with several opportunities for some hearty participative singing by many of those present! 


Following the receipt of responses received from our members to a questionnaire,
the 2015 AGM of the Cumbria Wesley Historical Society approved a proposal
to change the name of the Society to 
This took effect from 
1 January 2016.

Twice a year, the Society publishes a Journal, which members receive free of charge. The latest issue (No. 74, Autumn 2014) includes Part 2 of a three-part series on Carlisle Methodism by John Huggon; Part 2 of a two-part article based on the Society's 2013 lecture "From Arnside to Appleby", being the story of one of Methodism's most outstanding women preachers and Vice Presidents - Sister Dorothy Farrar (1899-1987) by Dr John Hargreaves, General Secretary of the Wesley Historical Society; and Part 4 of an ongoing series entitled "Aspects of John Wesley" by Rev Dr Eric Wright.

The Society's extensive collection of Cumbrian Methodist church histories has recently been placed in Carlisle Library (Cumbria County Council). It is currently being catalogued and will be housed on permanent reference in the Local Studies Department. Watch here for updates


Membership of the Society is open to all. 
The present annual subscription has remained unchanged for the past 24 years: £3 per year, or £5 for two people in the same household.
This must surely qualify for some sort of record!

For further details, including a free sample copy of the Journal, please contact the Chairman, Ralph Wilkinson, by phone (015395 33865), by email (wilkinson789@tiscali.co.uk) or by post (36 Kirkhead Road, Kents Bank, Grange-over-Sands LA11 7DB).