Hugh Bourne Collection

Date range: 1803-1852.

Papers of Hugh Bourne (1772-1852), co-founder of the Primitive Methodists. Bourne was born near Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, and became a member of the Wesleyan Methodist Connection at Bemersley.

Inspired by the preaching of the American evangelist Lorenzo Dow, he was prominent in organizing the first camp meeting held on Mow Cop in May 1807. Following criticism of his role in the camp meeting movement, he was expelled from the Wesleyan Connexion in 1808.

The followers of Bourne joined with those of another Staffordshire preacher, William Clowes, to form the Primitive Methodist Connexion in 1811. Bourne played a leading role in establishing Primitive Methodism as one of the country's leading free churches, and by the time of his superannuation in 1842 it had a membership of almost 80,000.

After Bourne's death his papers passed to his nephew John Walford and were purchased by the Primitive Methodist Conference in 1858, when those items deemed sensitive were destroyed. The collection comprises letters from Bourne to William Garner and others; an engraving of Bourne; manuscripts of Bourne's autobiography; and Hugh Bourne's journals.

Finding aids

Catalogue available online via ELGAR.


The John Rylands Library

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