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More Than Just The Plaque

John Wesley Statue

John Wesley Statue

Public Art: John Wesley Statue

Sculptor: © Paul Raphael Montford (1 November 1868 – 15 January 1938)

Date Unveiled: The statue was unveiled in 1935 by Chief Justice, Sir John Latham.

Description: Full size bronze of a young John Wesley (with long wavy hair) in flowing robe.

Commissioned By : Frederick John Cato (1858-1935) and his son. Cato, a grocer and philanthropist, died before ever seeing the statue unveiled.

Location: Outside the Wesley Church, Melbourne, Australia.

So Who Was John Wesley ? : John Wesley (1702-1791) was an Anglican minister and Christian theologian who became one of the early leaders in the Methodist movement. He was born in Epworth, Lincolnshire, one of nineteen children (yes, thats right 19!). His parents made sure all of their brood could read and write at an early age. He was educated in Chirst Church and ordained deacon in 1725.

By the time he was 27 he was president of the Holy Club and happily reciting passages from the Greek Testament . The club soon became known as the Methodists, because of the methodical way they studied. 

In 1735 Wesley and his brother sailed to Georgia as missionaries but it proved to be a disaster. Wesley got himself in a spot of bother with a women. The love affair turned sour and it got rather ugly after he later refused to serve communion to his ex and her new husband. After her husband charged him with slander,an embarrassed Wesley left Georgia under the cover of darkness and returned to England.

Wesley was deeply influenced by the Moravians, who he believed had an inner strength to which he lacked. Wesley began preaching sermons in the open or where ever he was invited.

In 1739 he broke with the Moravians and decided to form his own society known as the Methodist Society in England. This didn’t go down too well with other religious groups and Wesley and his followers soon found themselves persecuted by clergymen and magistrates.

In 1791 Wesley married Mary Vazeille, a widow. The unhappy union ended when his wife left him fifteen years later. Wesley died at the age of 88 and is buried behind Wesley’s Chapel in City Road, London.

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