Epworth is where the story of John and Charles Wesley began, and where Samuel and Susanna Wesley raised their children in the old rectory. Samuel’s nonconformist background made him especially aggressive towards Dissenters in his parish, who resented the discipline he attempted to impose. They were rough and uncouth people, who jeered the refinement and culture existing in the rectory. Furtive attacks included maiming Samuel’s cattle and burning his field of flax. The rectory was partially destroyed when an unknown hand tossed a firebrand on the thatched roof. In 1709, when another blaze threatened the Wesley family, Samuel showed his deep devotion after John was miraculously saved. Calling to all who were there, he said, “Come neighbors, let us kneel down! Let us give thanks to God! He has given me all my eight children: let the house go, I am rich enough!”

Excerpt From: Educational Opportunities. “Wesley Heritage Study Guide.” Educational Opportunities, 2013. iBooks.