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William Roberts (1728-97)

William Roberts was the first preacher appointed to Devon to be mentioned in the minutes of Conference. A native of Cornwall he came from a respectable family and displayed great intellectual prowess from an early age. Converted at the age of sixteen he entered the itinerancy in 1750. His ministry in Devon was characterised by intense persecution instigated by clergymen of the Established Church. On one occasion Roberts was indicted before the Quarter Sessions on thirty counts of holding unlawful assemblies etc. He finally married and settled in Tiverton where in addition to carrying on a successful business, he continued to preach in the surrounding villages.

Source: John Gould Hayman, A History of the Methodist Revival of the last Century in its Relations to North Devon (1871), 18-21.

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