Brinkworth Primitive Methodist chapel
head of circuit
John Petty wrote: At Brinkworth, a large village about midway between the towns of Malmesbury and Wootton Bassett, many of the vilest characters were converted from the error of their ways.
Such was the notorious wickedness of many of the inhabitants that for years it had been deemed perilous for a stranger to ride through the village alone; and when the zealous missionaries began to preach the gospel among these ruffians, they had for a time to endure considerable persecution. The clergyman of the parish was bitterly opposed to the efforts made by others to enlighten and convert his parishioners. But their Divine Master was with them, and crowned their labours with His signal blessing.
Pricked in their hearts
Many who went to hear them, with their pockets filled with stones to throw at them, were arrested in their wicked career before they could carry their purposes into execution. Mingling with the crowd, while they waited for an opportunity to begin to stone the preacher, they heard some portions of gospel truth, and were “pricked in their hearts” by “the sword of the Spirit;” then quietly and stealthily dropping one stone after another, till they had emptied their pockets, they joined in penitential cries to God to blot out their transgressions and to renew their hearts. Several of these became champions in the cause of Christ, and zealous useful local preachers. A great reformation soon took place among the inhabitants generally, and a powerful society was established, which shortly became the head of a circuit.
Rev Wm C Tonks wrote a book on the history of this church and circuit, Victory in the Villages. It is inspiring reading.