Extract from pp172/3 'The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion' John Petty (revised J MacPherson) London 1880

...During this year, too, this young circuit[Bolton] sent Mr. John Butcher as a missionary to the Isle of Man This must have been done in about six months after Bolton was made into a separate circuit, for Mr. Butcher was preaching in the island early in January, 1823, as the following extracts will shew.

"Friday, January 10th, preached at Castletown, when two souls found liberty, and three persons united with the society. Sunday 12th, I was at Colby. A large company was present. Two persons obtained liberty, and three joined with the society Thursday, 16th, I was at Howe, and formed a society of seven members."

The success of Mr. Butcher's labours in the island was very great. Deep religious impressions were made upon the minds of multitudes, and not a few were savingly brought to God. In March, 1823, a few months after Mr; B. landed on the island 110 members had been gathered into society, and Castletown and adjacent places were formed into a separate circuit,

In ordinary circumstances it would have been very imprudent and hasty to form such infant societies, having little or no religious experience, into an independent station, to be self-sustained and self-governed; but - peculiar - circumstances might justify the measure, and perhaps render it requisite. At all events societies continued to prosper, and the work of God to spread. A second preacher was speedily employed, and the borders of the circuit were enlarged. Under date of May 5, 1823, several persons write from Kirk Arbory to Bolton circuit authorities

" Dear fathers and brethren in the gospel, -We have the pleasure of informing you that the preachers you have sent over to us have by their preaching and the blessing of Almighty God been rendered instrumental in the salvation of many souls. We have now - in society about 200 members, and the work appears as if it were but just beginning. The people flock to hear them as doves to their window, many from the distance of four or five miles, and cry, 'come and preach for us.' But as we have only two preachers, they can only compass about twelve or fourteen miles in length, on one side of the island, and as we have no local preachers yet we cannot reach the places as we could wish. We have some members who are nearly ready to become exhorters, and we have begun to hold prayer-meetings, which are a blessing to us. We have begun to preach at Douglas; one of our preachers has preached in the Market-place the last five Sabbaths to amazingly large congregations."

The work appears to have prospered at Douglas, as it did at Castletown and the neighbouring places; and there was a great ingathering of precious souls. In June, 1823, the societies formed in the island contained 360 members. ...

pp438 - progress

In 1840 they [the IoM] numbered 930 members; in 1850 Douglas Circuit reported 734, Ramsey 354, and Peel branch 163, total 1,251, being an increase of 321 for the ten years.



Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
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