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George Escrick (1723-1805)

George Escrick was descended from an 'ancient and respectable family' from the vicinity of York. According to Escrick's obituary of 1805, there were collateral branches of the family still living in 'considerable opulence and style' and Escrick himself could recall a relation who was Lord Mayor of York.

Escrick's own father was brought low by loose living and intemperance and he moved to Bolton in Lancashire where Escrick was born. He was brought up to be a weaver and as a young man was fond of hunting and fighting 'being very stout and exceedingly resolute'. He was also a professed churchman and regular in his attendance at the parish church.

Escrick attended Methodist open-air preaching at Bolton cross sometime towards the end of the 1740s and was converted after wrestling in over-night prayer in the hills close to his home. He then joined the Methodist society in Bolton and continued in membership until his death many years later. Escrick served as a class leader and often provided hospitality for the preachers. He also entertained John Wesley on several occasions.

Escrick possessed great energy and had a love for 'plain experimental preaching'. He regularly walked twelve miles to Manchester for the early morning worship before returning home for breakfast and the commencement of his day's work. He played a very active role in the establishment and running of Bolton Sunday School.

Escrick was described in his obituary as a man of 'strong passions&rough in his manners, apt to be angry at times and a little too positive in his way'. He once walked thirty-two miles to Liverpool to castigate John Wesley for leaving Bolton off his itinerary; having delivered his rebuke he left before Wesley could respond and walked home again.

He was married four times and had a son by his third wife on whom he doted but who proved to be a burden and disappointment to his father.

Source: Arminian Magazine 1808, 126-130

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