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Thomas Walsh (1730-59)

Thomas Walsh was born in Ballylin, County Limerick, Ireland, son of a carpenter. He was raised a devout Roman Catholic but became dissatisfied with his faith and at the age of nineteen abandoned Catholicism for the Anglican Church. In the same year he joined the Methodist Society in the town of Newmarket and in 1750 after seeking advice from John Wesley, began to preach in both Irish and English.

Walsh was a talented and determined evangelist, who even after he was thrown into prison in the town of Bandon, continued to preach from the cell window.

In 1753 he was appointed to the English itinerancy. His wide appeal prompted John Wesley to declare that with six men like Walsh he could turn the country upside down. Walsh was a supporter of the preachers who argued for permission from Wesley to give the sacraments in Methodist chapels.

Walsh suffered from poor health that was made worse by failure to take enough rest and ill treatment by mobs. He returned to Ireland in 1758 and died in Dublin in a room in the Whitefriar Street Chapel.

Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography edited by Donald Lewis (1995)

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