Wensleydale Wesley Day
I have a commemorative programme entitled Wesley Day in Wensleydale at Bolton Castle near Redmire, Wednesday May 25th 1938.
There is a lovely sketch of Bolton Castle by local artist Fred Lawson, and the programme lists the order of events to celebrate the Methodist Bi-centenary.
At 3 p.m. there was to be a service, Rev S W Hughes preaching, followed by tea and community singing, and then a Great Methodist Rally with three speakers. The Right Honourable Lord Bolton was in the chair (he owned Bolton Castle) and Rev S W Hughes spoke again, followed by Sir John Haslem, M.P. and then Mr R.J. Russell M.P. A special train was put on to bring people from the main line at Northallerton, and the programme encouraged that this was a day not to be missed.
On the following page in the programme there are notes about the early association of Mr Wesley with Wensleydale. He preached at Wensley on 30th October 1743, and then paid another visit in 1744 when he again went to Wensley and also preached at Redmire Church and Bolton Chapel (the Anglican church next to Bolton Castle). He had found a welcome in Wensleydale because the then Rector of Wensley, Mr Clayton, had known John Wesley at Oxford.
The local newspaper reported that 600 people came to celebrate Wesley Day at Bolton Castle. “The ancient walls of Bolton Castle, Wensleydale, yesterday re-echoed the lusty hymn singing of hundreds of Wensleydale Methodists who gathered in the courtyard of the castle to celebrate the Wesley bicentenary … they travelled by train, bus, private car, bicycle and even on foot. Other denominations were well represented and the congregation included many Church of England clergy. …. extra police were drafted into the village to control the traffic. There were over 600 people at the service in the afternoon. The singing was led by a large choir drawn from Methodist communities throughout the dale. Mr R.H.Adamson was the conductor, and the music was provided at the organ (removed for the occasion from Castle Bolton chapel) by Mr Percy Milner of Hawes. The service was conducted by Dr S W Hughes, supported on the platform by the Rural Dean of Wensleydale and Rector of Wensley, Rev V C A FitzHugh, the superintendent Methodist minister the Rev H J Foss of Leyburn and Mr R J Russell, M.P. ….
Lord Bolton, speaking at a mass meeting in Bolton Castle courtyard last night said “I am glad that I have been able to live long enough to see the work of this great man freely appreciated throughout the country, to see the really good feeling and growing fellowship between all denominations and, above all, glad that I have been able to live to see the disappearance of that doubt and suspicion, contempt and bitterness, which I know was very rampant in my younger days.”