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Boyle, John
1767-1817?; e.m. 1790

WM minister and founder of an independent circuit that became part of the BC work in West Cornwall, he was born at Whitehaven, where he was baptized on 22 November 1767. From the age of 6 to 14 he lived with his maternal grandfather in theIsle of Man; then, back in Whitehaven, became an apprentice cabinet maker, a shipwright and a seaman in Liverpool.

His first WM circuit was St. Austell, in which he may have become acquainted with the Bryant family of Gunwen, including William O\'Bryan, then 12. He travelled in all the Cornish circuits except Truro, with one interval in Newbury. His final appointment was to Banwell, Som., as Superintendent in 1801. In 1802 he desisted 'of his own accord' and retired to Porth Kea, Truro, opened a boarding school and began to preach there on Sundays. About 1814 he began to preach in Truro, attracting the attention of John Blewett, a WM gardener, and his son-in-law John Corin Edwards. Probably through them his ministry expanded. His followers seem to have been known simply as 'Mr. Boyle's community', unless they included the 'Free Willers' who built a preaching house in Phillack, Hayle in 1818. The term 'Boylites' is of recent origin and used only for convenience.

By 1817 they had preaching places and a few chapels between St. Stephens and Sennen and northwards to near Crantock, including at least Penponds and Lanner in the Redruth area; but Boylite and early BC societies cannot always be distinguished.In 1817 the BCs began to move into Cornwall and at Michaelmas Boyle, wishing to retire from preaching, negotiated an amalgamation with them. O'Bryan described him as 'a preacher of nearly our sentiments', with a connexion of 'at least eight or ten preachers and many people'. The only known Boylite preachers are William Lyle and his sister Mary; Susan Nankivel seems to have been sent by the BCs to help them. But some Boylites were not happy with O'Bryan's style and quickly withdrew from the merger. By 1818 the Boylite work in the far west had become the Morvah (later Penzance) BC Circuit and a year later there was a circuit based at St. Keverne which may also have had Boylite roots.After the 1817 contact, presubmably initiated by Boyle, no more is heard of him and he may have died soon afterwards. He was never regarded as a BC itinerant and there is no BC or WM obituary.

Entry written by: CCS
Category: Person

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