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Epworth, Lincolnshire.

Church of St. Andrew.


St Andrews church just to the north of the market place. Very well worth a visit for its stained glass and for the connection with the Wesleys.


This page is a transcript of the "Welcome to St. Andrew's Parish Church Epworth" leaflet available from the church.

Photograph: Dan Leader.This historic church is very much connected with the Wesley family and the beginning of Methodism in England. The Reverend Samuel Wesley was Rector from 1695 to 1735. His sons John and Charles Wesley were baptised and received their first communion here. After his ordination John was curate for a time to his father and in later life when he was denied access to the church he preached from his father’s tomb.

The church which has its origins in the 12th century also has architectural features from the 12th to the 15th century and later additions and the first Rector was Geoffrey de Campden who was instituted in 1233.

Early English. 1189 to 1273.

The chancel end arch , the aisle arcades with octagonal columns and moulded capitals, as well as the base to the font, date from this period.

Decorated Period. 1272 to 1377.

The two light window in the west end of the north aisle [now the church shop,] and the chancel windows. The stone tracery is original but the Stained Glass is Victorian. The North Porch is also decorated period and includes a coat of arms of the Mowbray family whose Manor House stood to the south east of the church.

Perpendicular Period. 1377 to 1547.

The tower was built at this time and its buttresses encroached into the interior of the church. Crenellation was added as well as the clergy vestry to the north of the chancel and connected with a door.

Further Additions.

The church suffered damage during the Civil War 1642 - 1649. And the chancel was rebuilt in 1670 in a reduced form.

The squared end of the chancel windows seem to confirm a report by de la Pryme in 1698 that the chancel had been ‘dubbed rooft’.

The date of the re-roofing of the nave in 1782 can be seen together with the names of the then Churchwardens.

In 1868, after previous work by Fowler, major renovation took place. The aisles were re-roofed and the floor tiled. A new altar, rails and seating were provided and the entrance to the rood screen was uncovered.

A portion of the 14th Century screen can be found in the Rector’s stall in the south side of the church.

Other Points of Interest.

There is a ring of eight bells which were re-hung to commemorate the Coronation of King George VI [1937]

The Organ which has two manuals, was made by ‘Abbot and Smith’ and given in 1890 by Mr B.G. Pulleyne of Leeds.

There is a 16th Century Parish Chest [1538] and the lid is carved from a single piece of oak.

In the Chancel is a Tudor Chair dated 1560. Also a chair which was given by Susanna Wesley the mother of John and Charles Wesley.

The ‘Wesley Chalice’ is inscribed "Epworthiae in Insula de Axholm AD1706" is believed to have been used by John Wesley for his first communion.


The tomb of the Reverend Samuel Wesley is near the south east door.

Parts of a mediaeval tombstone [or possibly coffin lid] are inserted in the south wall of the church just east of the south porch.

The Church Today.

St Andrew’s is an important church both architecturally and historically but it is neither a museum nor a shrine. An important part of the ministry here is to bear witness to the heritage of the Wesley family, but a far greater importance is of course is the witness to Almighty God. In this St Andrew’s is a Parish Church and the Christian faith is taught and the needs of the people of the parish served. This is why there is constant and regular worship on Sundays and Weekdays.

Epworth is in the Epworth Group of Parishes, which consists also of West Butterwick, five miles to the east on the bank of the River Trent, and Wroot which lies a similar distance to the west. Samuel Wesley was also Vicar of Wroot for a time and John Wesley served there as a curate. The Wesley family also lived in Wroot for a short while.

As a visitor you will be made very welcome and you are asked to pray for the work of the church in this historic and holy place.


The Rector is Canon Derek Brown. Tel. 01427 872471.

Conducted Tours can be arranged with Melvyn Rose Tel:- 01427 872080.

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This site is a work in progress. This page last updated 13th April 2000.

Please call back soon as it is being continually updated.

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