This website was originally created to commemorate the Bible Christians, a nineteenth-century Methodist denomination, who celebrated the 200th anniversary of their founding in 2015.
Many of the early converts were Cornish miners, whose skills were in demand worldwide. When they emigrated to find work abroad, they took their evangelical Christian faith (and Cornish pasties) with them. As a result, you may find you have Bible Christian ancestors in Canada, Australia, or North America, as well as the British Isles. Browse through our photos, stories and research resources to find out about the Bible Christians’ beliefs, buildings and the people called Methodist who joined them – and are part of your family tree.
Creation of the United Methodist Church
In 1907, the Bible Christians were joined by two other Methodist denominations to become the United Methodist Church. The two other groups were the United Methodist Free Churches and the Methodist New Connexion. The United Methodist Free Churches were the largest of the three denominations, and were themselves the result of an amalgamation in 1857 of various small branches of Methodism which had broken away from the Wesleyan Methodist Church. Most of the United Methodist Free Churches were found in the north of England and the West Country, the latter being where the Bible Christians were also most numerous. The Methodist New Connexion was the oldest of the three groups, dating back to the first of the major secessions with British Methodism in 1797. It was strongest in the north of England and the Midlands. As these were also strongholds of yet another branch of Methodism, the Primitive Methodists, if you have ancestry in any of these regions it is quite likely you will have Methodists of one sort or another in your family tree!
In 1932, the United Methodists joined with the Primitive Methodists – who were much larger – and the Wesleyan Methodists, who were largest of all, to form the Methodist Church of Great Britain we know today.
The pages on this site dedicated to the United Methodist Free Churches and the Methodist New Connexion are under development.