“Bristol was a port city, located about seven miles east of the Bristol Channel (arm of the Atlantic Ocean). In the 1700s, Bristol was a major center for shipping African slaves to North America. Its merchants also exported manufactured goods, while importing tobacco and sugar.

    Bristol was the place of an early Methodist ministry center, called the “New Room.” It was built by John Wesley in 1739, and rebuilt by him in 1748. Wesley, who always preached here when he was in Bristol, recorded one of his early experiences: “I preached at eleven in the new-room, which the society had just built in the heart of the town; and our souls were sweetly comforted together.”

    Bristol was the place of a revival in 1739. George Whitefield had found success preaching in the open air, called “field preaching.” Wesley recorded his first impressions of preaching outside the church: “In the evening I reached Bristol, and met Mr. Whitefield there. I could scarce reconcile myself at first to this strange way of preaching in the fields, of which he set me an example on Sunday; having been all my life (till very lately) so tenacious of every point relating to[…]”

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