James Ireland (1724-1814)
James Ireland was born in Beaminster, Dorset. He was a wealthy shipowner and sugar merchant whose business was centred in Bristol. Ireland served as a magistrate and High Sheriff of Somerset. He lived for much of his life in Brislington Hall where he provided hospitality for many of the leading figures of the Revival. He was a particularly close friend of John Fletcher.
Ireland maintained a neutral position in the idealogical disputes which plagued Methodism and was generous in his support of Methodist and Anglican causes. He was instrumental in the founding of the Bristol Clerical Education Society in 1795.
Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)