Copies of two reports on the IoM Primitive Methodist Circuit, for the years 1835 and 1840, were recently discovered within the Wesley Historical Society archives at Westminster College, Oxford. I have transcribed both as they give information not otherwise readily available. These two reports were the quarter day reports from the circuit to the District Conference - in each case the reports were by the Superintendent Travelling Preacher (Minister). The reports were handwritten (obviously from rough copies) onto pro-forma sheets issed by the Conference which asked for information under a number of headings.
The state of our circuit is evidently satisfactory and has been ever since that extraordinary excitement the cholera which produced such astonishing effects in this island abated. the principle cause of the lowering of the numbers since that period is the removal of the cause of the excitement by the cholera. No sooner did that event cease than the new members began to leave and they have continued to do, more or less even unto today.
There is evidently another cause of the circuits decline, the neglect of Prayer Meetings. these in many ? have been intirely given up. this is unaccountable by ? presant preachers. But (the presant Preachers) are more ? .t their predecessor in this must be faulty as the consequences of this, the work of grace is very low among the existing members.
(footnote to be inserted here)
and the presant preachers in several places have not yet been able to raise a meeting for prayer. And we most firmly believe, it will require great and mighty works to stop the decline that is so very evident in our circuit.
We have nothing further to say but that, what was given in our Report for March last to the Stockport District meeting. Considering the characteristics of our travelling Preachers be confirmed up to the end of their stay in this Circuit we have nothing new to add.
An Historical account of the circuit was left for the new Preacher
To Mr James Bourne according to our map measurement it is from Bradwill to Douglas 160 miles. I have a wife and 3 children chargeable on the fund that is /10d per mile
Bro Olivers demand on the fund for 110 mile £4 11s 8d
less from Oldham to Douglas 126 & then 19 more to Ramsey making a total 145 off the fund 95 miles at 10d per mile as he has a wife and 3 children £3 19 6
crossing from Chester to Douglas 114 d...? 4s 8d total 8 13 4
Sir please to send in your next parcel 8 large typed double Hymn Books unclasped
John Shipley delegate James Kaye vice-delegate
Edward Quirk president; Edmnd Corkill secretary dated march 16th 1835
Last years numbers 900
this year 787
contributions to conf .. £6 11 2; preachers 46, travelling 4;chapels 18 (increase for year 1) deaths 5
trav preachers fund
J Hopkinson 13s 6d
J Kaye 13s 6d
IoM cct 5s 0
book money £5
from the preachers charitable fund
J Hopkinson 2s 6d
J Kaye 2s 6d
J Compton 5s
J Doughty 2s 6d
we employ four travelling preachers
1st John Hopkinson his a married man 34 year old next june as 4 children. He as travelled 12 years and 5 months was took out by the Chesterfield Circuit as laboured in Chesterfield Bradwell Barnsley Belper Mansfield Worcester Retford New Mills and Isle of Man Circuits as been superindendant nine years is capable of sustaining the office a good disciplinarian visits famiies but inconsequence of heavy chapel concerns and other weighty church matters he as not been able generally to attend to it neither could he have strength for both. He strictly and actively attends to the chapel matters his a presentable man an acceptable preacher preaches short sermons which contain a full free and present salvation His conduct is good and he is generally usefull
ps a smoker of tobacco with a physiscians recommendation
2nd Robert Kaye is a married man 31 years ol as one child. Travelled 7 years and 8 months was tookk out by Bolton and laboured in Bolton Chester Preston Brook New Mills Stockport and Isle of Man Circuits. Has not yet superintended but is capable of superintending. He attends to disciple and chapels is a personable man his sermons short and contains a full free and present salvation. his conduct is good and he is generaly usefull
ps he is a smoker of tobbacco
3rd James Crompton is a single man 25th year of his age as travelled 2 years and 3 months was taken out by Preston Brook circuit and the Isle of Man as a superindentant he is untried in consequence of having two others so ? active in this point he is attentive a disciplinarian as far as he as been tried is a peaceable man a family visitor an acceptable preacher preches short sermons which contain a ful free ad present salvation his conduct is good and he is generally useful
4th Job Doughty is a single man ? years as travelled 1 year and a quarter was [taken] out by Stockport and Isle of Man Circuits as superindendant he is untried in consequence of having two there who is active in this point he is attentive to discipline as far as he a been tried. is a peaceable man a family visitor an acceptible preacher preaching a full free and present salvation his conduct is good and he is generally usefull
ps he is a smoker of tobbacco
Edward Quirk president (signed in a different hand to the report)
Edward Corkhill secretary
On behalf of the District meeting P Tillotson Pres; J Gasner Secy
In reporting our circuit at the close of another year we rejoice that we have every reason to conclude that we are in a good state doing well and have every prospect of doing well. We attribute our failure in numbers to two things (viz)
1st the wreck of a Brigg on the south part of the Island which have stained the skirts of a many with plunder paralised (?) a most glorious work which was going forward in that part of the circuit. Become a fatal wreck to many souls and caused the enemies of the cross to baspheme so that excomunication as been necessary frequent and painfull [Almost certainly referring to the wreck of the John Fairfield]
2nd The most common propensity in this island is drunkeness which have overturned a many who in the late sudden influx only flew to the arms of the church for safety from the threatening pestilential storm which raged which such fury amongst us (so as to make the stoutest heart to bend for a while) But the heart not being prepared by deep conviction it is to be feared at that time some hundreds rested short of an assured interest in Christ by pardon and adoption therefore in seasons of temptation they yielded to the intoxicating drought and renounced their religious proffession for want of root. Added to this is the many instances of persons who as sustained official characters (?) but as ben overcome by the sin of drunkeness and have and have [repeated phrase copied out from a rough copy ?] brought the cause into disrepute in some of the places
But thank God notwithstanding these things through good management Impressive sermons urgent appeals and the pious active labours of the travelling and Local Preachers with the cooperation of Leaders and members we continue to this day and have the prospect of doing better. We anticipate the division of the Circuit into two branches will militate much in favour of the work and be an accession to our strength. But this we expect will depend much on the activity and management of the second preachers stationed for us who we intend to superintend the North Branch which is an important part of the circuit and if well attended we expect will do materially better in the present form
At present Bro Hopkinson & Compton is stationed for the south branch and Bro Kaye & Doughty for the North. Number of members in the South is 501 and in the North 286.