Epworth Wesleyan and Methodist New Connexion Churches

After the split in 1797, the trustees of the Epworth Wesleyan chapel were split between the MNC Kilham family and the Wesleyans. There followed a legal dispute when MNC and Wesleyans held services on alternate Sundays till MNC were convinced they did not have a claim. The MNC organised the first Sunday school in the area, in Thomas Kilham’s (brother of Alex) watch shop. Services were held in a barn adjacent to the Kilham home, till the 1803 Providence MNC chapel opened. This was replaced by the Kilham chapel in 1860- which was opened by arguably the leading layman of the MNC – the potter John Ridgeway of Hanley, Stoke on Trent.

After the split the Wesleyans stationed some of their big hitters in Epworth- Zechariah Taft and his wife Mary, who operated as an unpaid itinerant, together with Mary’s brother John Barritt.

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