Epworth Methodist New Connexion Church

After the split in 1797 the trustees of the Epworth Wesleyan chapel were split between the MNC Kilham family and the Wesleyans. There followed a legal dispute when MNC and Wesleyans held services on alternate Sundays till MNC were convinced they did not have a claim. The MNC organised the first Sunday school in the area in Thomas Kilham’s (brother of Alex) watch shop. Services held in barn adjacent to the Kilham home, till the 1803 Providence MNC chapel opened. This was replaced by the Kilham chapel in 1860- which was opened by arguably the leading layman of the MNC – the potter John Ridgeway of Hanley, Stoke on Trent.

After the split the Wesleyans stationed some of their big hitters in Epworth- Zechariah Taft and his wife Mary, who operated as an unpaid itinerant, together with Mary’s brother John Barritt.

Further information, and a picture of the chapel, is found by following the link to a page about Alexander Kilham and Epworth.

Comments about this page

  • Thank you so much. William’s father was actually John Mills so after following up your helpful info, I will look him up too. My guess he was a minister too. Joanne
    Ps my other great grandfather was also a Methodist minister at a similar time, William Eddon!

    By Joanne Martland (13/03/2023)
  • Thanks to Philip Thornborow for guidance on what to do next Joanne:

    To find out anything about a former United Methodist minister, a good place to start is “United Methodist ministers and their circuits” (by Oliver Beckerlegge, London: Epworth Press, 1968) although unfortunately it is not available online. Page 163 contains William Mills’ details.

    The Methodist Archives and Research Centre at John Rylands Library, University of Manchester, might be able to send a copy of Rev Mills obituary. Details here.

    It would appear that Rev Mills was baptised in a Methodist New Connexion chapel. Tyne and Wear Archives might have the register,. The register might be stored under the chapel name, or the circuit name – a group of chapels.

    It is possible that Rev Mills was the son of Moses Mills, another Methodist New Connexion minister, whose career also appears on p163, but it might just be a coincidence that he was stationed in North Shields at about the right time.

    Note that William Mills was in Northern Ireland for 6 years.

    The places that a minister was stationed by the church should allow him to be found in the census, and help locate any newspaper articles.

    By Christopher HILL (13/03/2023)
  • My Great Grandfather, William Mills, was the MNC Minister in Epworth in 1881 and living with his extended family at The Manse. I have a photo of him. Do you have any more information about him? The family had moved to South Shields by 1901.

    By Joanne Martland (12/03/2023)

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