26th August 1884

Wesleyans celebrated 100 years on Guernsey

Methodism arrived in the Channel Islands in the late 1700s. Writing in A History of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, James Marr notes that the movement “first reached Guernsey in 1785 when islanders who had been involved in the Newfoundland cod fisheries returned home, bringing their newly acquired faith with them”.

They weren’t the first to practice the religion, though. Methodist soldiers had already been garrisoned on neighbouring Jersey for two years by that point. John Wesley sent Robert Carr Brackenbury to serve as their minister. Jersey convert Jean de Quetteville preached Methodism in Guernsey the following year and, by 1787, it had arrived on Alderney.

So it was that, on 26 August 1884 – around 100 years after the Methodist faith had found such fertile ground – the Wesleyan Church in Guernsey celebrated the centenary of the religion’s foundation there.

The Star described it as “a monster gathering of the Sunday School teachers and scholars of the various chapels in the islands”.

Along with their pupils, and with each school holding a banner identifying itself, they marched to Cambridge Park along roads lined by spectators. Once they arrived, they assembled on a stage that had been erected on the northern side of the park and sang to the accompaniment of a brass band for the assembled crowds.

Methodism in Guernsey

Guernsey’s first Methodist chapel opened in 1789 and, according to the Methodist Heritage website, was followed by several others. By the 20th century there were 32 Methodist chapels on the island and 7% of the population put Methodist as their religion on the 1911 census.

Wesley himself visited both Alderney and Guernsey in August 1787. He preached in St Peter Port at what is now the Guille-Alles Library and met local dignitaries.


FREE Guernsey history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Guernsey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want. We'll also keep you up to date with our latest book releases and early-bird discounts.


Other events that occured in August

The Saumarez Memorial foundation stone was laid 1st
Guernsey won double-silver at the Commonwealth Games 2nd
Earl Grey was appointed Governor of Guernsey 3rd
A boy scout fell 250ft over a Torteval Cliff 4th
Jethou tenant was rescued from an up-turned boat 5th
A tomato ship and a tanker collided 6th
Human remains were found on Lihou 7th
The Beatles played at Candie Gardens 8th
The RAF bombed Guernsey Airport 9th
Guernesiais linguist Marie de Garis died 10th
Alderney experienced a total eclipse of the sun 11th
A minister was found dead at Icart Point 12th
Guernsey steam tramway is granted its concession 13th
Police found a bomb in Bluebell Wood 14th
Hanois Lighthouse’s foundation stone was laid 15th
Charlie Chaplin played in St Peter Port 16th
St Peter Port inundated with fish 17th
A royal visit… of sorts
The Rolling Stones played St Peter Port 18th
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was published 19th
Archaeologist Crystal Bennet was born 20th
Mapmaking geologist John MacCulloch died 21st
St Sampson pensioner was buried in a landslide 22nd
Trident VI ran aground on its return from Herm 23rd
Queen Victoria visited Guernsey 24th
The post-Occupation military government was disbanded 25th
Wesleyans celebrated 100 years on Guernsey 26th
Oliver Reed was jailed in Guernsey 27th
Guernsey’s Reform Law was enacted 28th
Winston Churchill visited Guernsey with his wife 29th
Philip de Saumarez was discharged as a Jurat 30th
Jersey swimmers set a round-Guernsey record 31st