Despite being a pioneer preacher in his own right, John Wesley was not the sole figure responsible for bringing about the Evangelical Revival in eighteenth-century England. In many areas of the country he was preceded by work carried out by men and women who established groups of converts which later formed the local Methodist church. Using unique manuscripts previously unexploited by Wesleyan scholarship, Dr. Simon Ross Valentine has produced a biography of one such early preacher, John Bennet (1714-1759). Following a dramatic conversion experience in 1742, Bennet associated himself with Benjamin Ingham and David Taylor. From 1742 to 1749, he worked as a Methodist lay preacher, carrying out evangelistic activities throughout the north of England. Bennet was also a pioneering influence in the origins of Methodism by introducing both the Quarterly Meeting and Annual Conference. Because he ultimately refused to submit to Wesley's doctrine, Methodist historians have presented Bennet as "a treacherous and unfriendly man."
Valentine, perceiving the need for a more objective reappraisal of Bennet's significance, and drawing on considerable Bennet correspondence, has produced this first sympathetic biography of the early preacher. Recommended for all individuals and libraries seeking fresh insight into the origins of eighteenth century Methodism. Includes bibliography, endnotes, and illustrations.