Brief biography in Rosser (Letter 6)- augmented by additional information from IGI,
parish records etc.
Born Farndale (Pickering Circuit) Yorkshire, 17 Dec 1770; Joined Methodists 1794 and became Local Preacher, in 1800 called
to itinerant work; in 1833 experienced some form of paralytic attack and had to become supernumerary. Died at Birstal,
26 Jan 1839, aged 68.
John Mercer came the the Island in 1802 and again in 1812-20 when he was Chairman of the District from 1813.
Married Jane Simpson (widow, nee Quayle) of Douglas, by special licence 11 August 1803 at Kk Onchan - John Cannell, vicar;
witnesses James Banks and James Clark. (Her first husband was Mathew Simpson married 1 May 1798 Lonan, buried Braddan
8 May 1800 age 26)
His will is filed in IoM (presumeably because of Wife's property) - dated 25 Jun 1838, probate 19 Jun 1840. Names four
children - William (who was a LP and then joined C of E as a clegyman in Sheffield),
Edward, Jane Hogg, and Maria plus wife Jane as Executors. Names another son - John Quayle Mercer and daughter Mary Hannah
Ward - makes reference to interest from bonds in BallaRobin, Malew. Pledges were Thomas Caine, Tanner (a well known Wesleyan
Methodist) and Edward Gelling.
I have a notebook compiled by John Mercer dated 1837 in which he notes his family and relatives based on Parish records
etc - he lists children Elizabeth Catharine Simpson daughter of wife + her first husband Mathew born 27 Sept 1799 died at Carlisle 3 Sept
1811 Jane his first daughter born Douglas 11 June 1804 (at 11.30 pm) baptised at St Goege's 13th June - she married
Josiah Hogg of Birstall (youngest s/o Thomas Hogg) at Thirsk 22 Sept 1831 Mary Hannah born Cross Street Whitehaven 6 Mar 1806 and married Samuel Ward 1835 John born Brough 14 Dec 1807 Maria born Barnard Castle 25 Oct 1809 William born Barnard Castle 27 March 1811 Elizabeth born Carlisle 6 Sep 1812, d of the chincough (whooping cough) 16 May 1813 Elizabeth born Douglas 4 Nov 1813 d. of measles 20 Dec 1815 and buried in Mr Wilson's vault at St Georges (which
apparently was used as communal vault for any Wesleyan Minister's family who died whilst serving on the Island) Jemina born Ramsey 1 Aug 1818 (bapt at St Catharine's Chapel (Ballure)) d at Birstall near Leeds 1832 Edward born Peel 18 Dec 1820
Three letters survive from him relevant to Isle of Man:
(a) 28 April 1819 to Ralph Gibson
(b) 20 May 1819 to Ralph Gibson
(b)14 March 1820 to Jabez Bunting
Kerrowkiel Chapel was apparently built on land given by Mr & Mrs Mercer for 5/-
from their Ballarobin Farm
"In the Methodist Magazine (1900) we get a picture of the man who might have established Methodism here before preachers
came from 'across'. Meriton was born in 1698 and came to the island suffering from 'attenuated means' - he was befriended
by the Rev. Philip Moore, master of Douglas Grammar School, and chaplain at St. Matthews. Moore believed in the practica1
discourses' of Meriton, and applied to Bishop. Wilson 'to raise a subscription or a Sunday evening lecturer for a clergyman
lately come from England' This was in 1740. His Lordship did not approve the subscription but allowed Meriton to assist
at St. Matthews. His contact with the Wesleys apparently came when he was on a visit to London, and shared a service 'on
Church of England pattern' with John Wesley in a church in Wapping, Wesley preaching and Meriton taking the service. Meriton
was inspired to further evangelistic zeal, and his 'irregular preaching' disturbed the good Bishop. When circumstances
were strong against him Meriton desisted."
See article by Rev Rex Kissack "A Clergyman from the Isle of Man, 1740" in Manx Methodist Church Recorder, June 1939
In 1758, John Murlin, called the Weeping Prophet because he was overcome with his own emotion when preaching, left Whitehaven
by boat for Liverpool. The sea was rough, and he wrote in his Journal, 'We were carried to the Isle of Man where we stayed
for a week. The second evening I preached in a large barn but on Sunday it could not contain all the people who would
hear, and I was obliged to preach abroad.... the people behaved well...."