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'Half-itinerants'

In Wesley's day, especially in the period before 1765, in addition toitinerant and local preachers, there were some described as 'half-itinerant' because they temporarily occupied a position between the two. In pre-industrial days it was easy to do this. Just as most left their other jobs to concentrate on the harvest, so those interested in a spiritual harvest turned to that when prospects seemed good. Some had been, or would become, itinerants. All had an occupation of one sort or another, which supported them, and their families, for part of the time. So they were cheaper than full itinerants.

In the minutes of the 1747 Conference, and in other years, there are 38 listed as were 'those who assist us only at one place' in the early days of the Methodist movement, though it is rarely clear what that 'one place' might be. Most are known to have preached in places at least 50 miles apart. John Appleton, the Shrewsbury currier, preached in *Manchester and *Stockport in 1748 and 1749 as well as in his native Shrewsbury. Henry Lloyd appeared in many parts of Wales. John Maddern, described in the 1747 Minutes as 'preaching in one place', was sent to London for the next quarter and then to his native Cornwall for the one after. In the previous January he had been preaching at Woodley in John Bennet's Round on the way to Birstall. So it is impossible to distinguish such men from the itinerant preachers (described that year as 'Assistants').

Another example of a half-itinerant is the Leeds barber William Shent, one of the twelve listed as such in the ms Minutes of 1755.

Entry written by: JHL
Category: Subject

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