The origins, development and significance of the circuit in Wesleyan and primitive Methodism in England 1740-1914

Pocock, Christine Margaret (2015) The origins, development and significance of the circuit in Wesleyan and primitive Methodism in England 1740-1914. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis is a contribution to the organisational history of Methodism. It seeks to investigate and record the origins, development and significance of the circuit in the connexional structure of Methodism. This in order to rectify what is an omission in Methodist histories and to inform future reflection on organisation. The field of research is Wesleyan and Primitive Methodism in England from c. 1740 to 1914.

Originally the route of an itinerant preacher, the circuit soon became a ‘sub-regional’ unit of oversight, ministry and administration within a connexional structure. Itinerancy however remained an essential element of the connexional system. After addressing circuit origins and the transition, this thesis proceeds to investigate its development, both in the context of the Connexion and internally. The number, size and shape of circuits is explored, together with influencing factors. The main internal elements: the quarterly meeting, the local preachers’ meeting and the role of assistant (later superintendent) receive individual attention, as do the ‘temporal affairs’ of the circuit. Examination of the suitability of the circuit and itinerant system for inner city work in the late nineteenth century shows its limitations in this respect.

In addressing the circuit in organisational terms, the implications, benefits and tensions of being part of a Connexion are brought to light. This includes the relationship between the conference and the circuits, and the expectations and understandings of lay people (including local preachers) against those of the itinerants. The significant differences between Wesleyan and Primitive Methodist organisational practice are identified.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Knight, F.
Ford, G.A.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BX Christian denominations
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 30585
Depositing User: Blythe, Mrs Maxine
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2015 08:52
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 06:01

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