John Wesley’s visit to Winchelsea

John Wesley visited Winchelsea three times.

John Wesley’s visits to Winchelsea

The first time was on October 30, 1771. We have evidence that he preached under the old ash tree on that occasion. Apparently John Wesley had many supporters in Winchelsea. No doubt also many of the French protestant immigrants, who were numerous in Winchelsea especially for a dozen years after the weaving industry was established there in 1761, would find Wesley teaching rather akin to that of their own church.

The second time was on January 29, 1789, when he preached in the new chapel. (This is now used as a Sunday School). He was then entertained at the house of Mrs. Kennett.

The last time was on October 7, 1790, when he preached his last open air sermon, according to tradition, again under the ash tree which stood outside the west wall of St. Thomas’ churchyard.
He stood on a large oak table this, together with the chair he sat on, belonged to Mr. Jones. The daughter, Asenath Jones, presented the table to the Mission House, and bequeathed the chair to the stewards of the Rye Circuit. It is now preserved in the minister’s house.

Mr. Wesley, when in Winchelsea, used to visit the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jones. He tells a wonderful story of “Faith Healing” in his Journal, in connection with the sudden cure of a long-standing and painful affliction of Mrs. Jones. After hearing the account of it from her lips, Wesley remarks: “I think our Lord never wrought a plainer miracle, even in the days of His flesh.” Miss Asenath Jones died in 1867, at the age of 84. She delighted in telling various reminiscences connected with Wesley’s visits to her home.

Winchelsea’s ‘Industrial Revolution’

The Government of King George II passed a law in 1763 legitimising this establishment as The English Linen Company with the freedom to raise joint stock up to £100,000

Winchelsea’s ‘Industrial Revolution’

In 1760 a manufactory of cambric was built by Monsieur Mariteau with cellars for weaving the fine flax.

The route of the Huguenot migrants in 1760s

The Huguenot weavers were illegally brought from Cambrai to Winchelsea to live and work in the factory.

In 1763 the manufactory was incorporated as the English Linen Company to legally stamp and sell their product. However Cambric manufacture, although initially successful. Lasted just 30 years.