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Winscom, Jasper
Died 1809

A Winchester ironmonger who overcame his prejudices against Methodism after discovering that John Wesley’s teaching agreed closely with the doctrines of the Church of England. He and his wife with two others met at first in his mother-in-law’s summer house. By 1765 their numbers had risen to 12, reinforced by military groups stationed in the city. Winscom became the leading figure in the Winchester society and took it upon himself in 1785 to buy a place of worship in Silver Hill, which then had to be sold because of debts. He corresponded quite frequently with Wesley, who learned from experience not to trust him, and was often at loggerheads with the local itinerants. As a local preacher he monopolised the services at the town chapel until Wesley insisted that he exchange with them from time to time. But a business trip the Isle of Wight and contacts with soldiers posted to Gibraltar and Jersey enabled him to play a part in the spread of Methodism to those places.

In 1787, following the death of John Haime, he retired to Whitchurch, offering himself a year later as a itinerant. Wesley was at first inclined to put him in charge of the Salisbury Circuit, which at that time was still extensive, including most of Hampshire and Dorset as well as southern Wiltshire and needed strong leadership, but on second thoughts made him one of the junior preachers and then put him down for Oxfordshire in 1790. By 1791 he had chosen to abandon the itinerancy and return to Whitchurch, where he continued to take almost all the services, as he had done in Winchester. He died in 1809, and his burial is recorded in St.Maurice’s parish, Winchester on 19 January.

Category: Person

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