William Clowes Papers

Date range: 1836-1838.

Papers of William Clowes (1780-1852), evangelist and co-founder of the Primitive Methodists. Clowes was born at Burslem, Staffordshire, and trained as a potter.

He was converted under the influence of the local Wesleyan Methodist Society and began preaching locally.

He was expelled from the Connexion in 1810 as a result of his involvement in the camp meeting movement.

His followers, who were known as Clowesites, subsequently merged with the group led by Hugh Bourne to form the Primitive Methodist Connexion.

Clowes was an outstanding evangelist and played a major role in the expansion of the movement, leading important missions to several parts of the country.

Very few manuscripts of William Clowes have survived. The collection comprises seven notebooks of Clowes covering topics such as his relationship with Hugh Bourne, Primitive Methodism in Hull, and his early life within the Methodist Church.

The notebooks were formerly in the possession of Hartley Victoria College and represent much the most important source of information concerning Clowes's life.

Finding aids

Catalogue available online via ELGAR.


The John Rylands Library

Using the reading rooms in the John Rylands Library