06. Congleton Circuit.

The Congleton Circuit is officially No. 4 in Primitive Methodism, but in it there is Mow Cop, called by H.B. Kendall, the Mount Carmel of the Primitive Methodist.

During a Conference of 1929, 16 large motor-bus loads of Conference delegates and other friends wended their way from the Conference Church, Tunstall, to this Hill, there to listen to inspiring addresses.

The great Centenary Camp Meetings were held on this Hill, when thousands of people met from all parts of England and Wales to gladden their hearts with the thought “What hath God wrought?” On May 31st, 1807, the first Camp Meeting was held on Mow Cop, whence sprang the Church known as Primitive Methodism. On the Hill the Annual Camp Meeting is still held. In the Congleton Circuit is probably the oldest Primitive Methodist Church now in use for Public Worship, a little church in a beautiful condition, nestled among the hills, a neighbourhood most sparsely inhabited. If a townsman turned in at a Sunday evening service, or a week-night service he would wonder where the people had come from. Lorenzo Dow, the great American preacher and enthusiast for Camp Meetings, preached two farewell sermons in Congleton, April, 1807, at 5 o’clock and 9 o’clock in the morning, these services being attended by Hugh Bourne and William Clowes. 

The first District Meeting of the Tunstall District was held at Congleton in the year 1825. The Circuit is composed of the following nine places of worship, the date of erection of the present building given after the name of each church: Congleton 1890, Dane-in-Shaw 1840, Mow Cop 1883, Withington 1915, Cloud 1815, Newtown 1890, Buglawton, Timbersbrook 1884, Kent Green 1892. The Buglawton building was bought in the year 1855, formerly used as a factory. The pulpit Bible of this church is the first edition of Bagster’s Comprehensive Bible, 1827, and in good condition. 

A number of the said churches are situated in the most thinly-populated surroundings. The Manse is named Bourne Villa; In the Manse there is a very large Baptismal Register, still in use, begun January 4th, 1824, with Hugh Bourne’s signature appearing many times. The membership of the circuit is 250, teachers and scholars 660. It has a staff of faithful and devoted preachers, also other loyal workers, both in Church and Sunday School. The services are very well attended both Sunday and week-day. There are the several organisations, Women’s Missionary Auxiliary, Women’s Bright Hour Meetings and Young People’s Meetings. Notwithstanding trade depression, the Circuit is healthy and vigorous, and by the Grace of God should have a future of real service and usefulness,


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