John Ryle (1745-1808)
John Ryle was a wealthy businessman of Macclesfield, Cheshire. He was a warm supporter of Methodism from his youth and in 1762 donated the land for the erection of the town's first chapel. Despite criticism of his evangelical connections, Ryle served as mayor of the town in 1773-74 and was able to provide some protection against the activities of anti-Methodists.
Ryle remained fully committed to Methodism throughout his life. He provided hospitality for the preachers and for John Wesley himself and also served as circuit steward. In 1798 he contributed £1000 towards the erection of New Sunderland Street Chapel and served as trustee together with two of his sons, John junior and Joshua.
In addition to his religious concerns, Ryle was active in all areas of public and municipal life and served in the militia with the rank of Major, in which capacity he entertained Prince William of Gloucester in 1804.
Ryle, who was resident at Park House, died on June 16th 1808 after an illness lasting a few days.
His obituary in The Gentleman's Magazine describes him as 'affectionate to his relatives, charitable to the poor and liberal to all'.
Source: Gentleman's Magazine 1808, 749, Gentleman's Magazine 1809, 84, PLP 5/6.63 (MARC) and The History of Methodism in Macclesfield by Revd. B. Smith (London: Wesleyan Conference Office, 1875), 74-76, 136, 230-231, 255.