Primitive and Wesleyan Methodists
Wherwell was one of the villages missioned as part of the Primitive Methodist work based on Andover, beginning in 1833. The baptismal register (which gives occupations of fathers of infants being christened) mentions Robert Spreadbury miller in 1835.
John Ride was a Primitive Methodist travelling preacher. His Journal for 27th November 1836 relates:
At 2.30 walked four miles to Wherwell, and assisted at a missionary meeting. The speaking went very heavy.
“Missionary” means evangelistic. So the work was not always vibrant and aflame in those early days. From summer to summer, 1837-8, the membership was eight, then seven. However, the 1846 Primitive Methodist Magazine reports a course of evangelistic meetings at Andover, Wherwell and elsewhere attended by crowded and delighted congregations. It says that several mourners were brought to the enjoyment of peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, that the flame of evangelistic zeal was rekindled in the hearts of rich, poor, male and female, and that the converting work was progressing encouragingly. (By “mourners” it means people who were deeply unhappy about their relationship with God – or their lack of it.)
It is worth noting that the Wesleyan Methodists had arrived in Wherwell in about 1816, and their society belonged to the Andover Wesleyan Circuit (formed 1818). Till the mid-1920s Wherwell was one of the most lively of the churches in the Wesleyan circuit, with a membership in 1845 of 30.