Charles Wesley Family Library
This collection comprises volumes that were formerly in the possession of Charles Wesley (1707–88), his brother Samuel Wesley junior (1690–1739), Charles’s wife Sarah (1726–1822) and their children Charles junior (1757–1834) and Sarah junior (1759–1828).
The library was assembled over the period from the 1720s, when Charles Wesley was an undergraduate student at Oxford, until 1831 when the collection was sold by Charles Wesley junior to the minister Thomas Jackson (1783–1873).
The collection was purchased in 1859 by the wealthy layman James Heald and was then donated to Richmond College; when the college closed in 1972, the library was transferred to the MARC.
The library contains over 430 volumes and nearly 300 distinct titles published between 1561 and 1832. Many of the volumes are signed and dated by their former owners, including Sarah Wesley, but marginalia are rare.
Theological and devotional texts are well-represented, encompassing an exceptionally wide range of Christian traditions and doctrinal viewpoints.
There are works by seventeenth-century Anglicans and nonconformists such as Edward Stillingfleet and Samuel Shaw, a biography of the Jesuit Ignatius of Loyola and verse by the Roman Catholic humanist Marco Girolamo Vida.
High Anglican sacramental theology is a particular feature of the collection, represented by such titles as William Beveridge’s The Great Necessity and Advantage of Publick Prayer and Frequent Communion (London, 1709), and The Pious Communicant Rightly Prepared (London, 1700), written by Charles’s father Samuel Wesley senior (1662–1735).
There are also several titles by Calvinist evangelicals.
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