Rough Informal Energy

the story of Primitive Methodism

First meeting house at Mow Cop
Englesea Brook Museum

Rev Robert Dolmon gave a lecture at Castle Street Methodist Church, Cambridge, on 31 May 2007, which gives an excellent introduction to the Primitive Methodist story. You can read it on the church website.



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  • Tony Simcock, a local historian, has contributed the following interesting observations on this postcard, which purports to show the ‘first meeting house’ at Mow Cop:
    ‘The picture purporting to be the ‘first meeting house’ isn’t that at all. It’s actually (to me, as a historian of Mow Cop) an important photo, as it shows one of the most interesting old cottages on Mow Cop, that stood near to the Old Man of Mow but is long since swept away, home in the 19th Century of two successive chief chaps in the village, John Stanyer (who may well have built it) and then his son-in-law Joel Pointon, and it’s the only close-up photo. The irony is it was probably taken by mistake; “meeting house” is ambiguous anyway, but presumably it was intended to show the house where the early Mow Cop Methodist meetings took place (not Primitive, before that) and where the revival started in earnest – where Hugh Bourne preached his first sermon in 1800 and where the first camp meeting took place in 1807. This was the house of Joseph Pointon, in PM history always referred to as Pointon’s Farm, though its actual name is School Farm (there are nice old photos of it, it’s a better quality little house than the bogus one). “Old Joseph Pointon” as Hugh Bourne typically calls him died in 1808, so except in PM parlance it wasn’t Pointon’s Farm any longer (though interestingly the next tenant was John Hall, son of “Old Jane Hall” whose house was the revivalists’ first meeting-place in Harriseahead); not that there was any sudden amnesia about it – it’s correctly illustrated in most works and was the site of the great 1907 centenary camp meeting, still referred to as Pointon’s Farm in the PM literature at that period. Even so, it seems inescapable to conclude that some less well informed or well connected photographer who fetched up on the hill and asked for “Pointon’s Farm” was (correctly) directed to the cottage beside the Old Man of Mow where Joel Pointon now lived (Joel Pointon was Joseph Pointon’s grandson), and in consequence I have a priceless image of one of the most important lost cottages on Mow Cop and you have a photo of a cottage that has nothing to do with Primitive Methodism purporting to show the first meeting house.’

    By Jill Barber (10/04/2020)

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