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Inventory Site Record

Wesley's Chapel Burial Ground and Wesley House Garden (Islington)

Brief Description

In 1739 John Wesley's first London base was a converted foundry in Moorfields. By the 1770s larger premises were needed and in 1778 the Mother Church of World Methodism Chapel was opened here. Behind the Chapel is a small graveyard with plain chest tombs and the monument of John Wesley with pyramid and urn. In the forecourt is an obelisk to Susannah Wesley erected in 1870 and the Wesley memorial with bronze statue of John Wesley erected on the centenary of his death in 1891. The forecourt was re-landscaped with granite setts and York paving in the 1990s but has notable mature London plane trees.

Practical Information
Previous / Other name:
Wesley's Chapel And Leysian Mission
Site location:
49 City Road
Postcode:
EC1Y 1AU
What 3 Words:
birds.hammer.draw
Type of site:
Churchyard
Borough:
Islington
Open to public?
Yes
Opening times:
Mon-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 12.30-1.45pm. Closed Thurs bet 12.45 & 1.30pm for service, and between Christmas & New Year, Public Holidays except Good Friday
Has taken part in Open Garden Squares Weekend 5 times, most recently in 2018.
Special conditions:
Facilities:
Chapel, Museum of Methodism, John Wesley's House; Shop, toilets (incl disabled)
Events:
Open for London Open House. Programme of activities
Public transport:
Tube: Old Street (Northern); Moorgate (Northern, Circle, Metropolitan). Bus: 21, 43, 55, 76, 141, 205, 214, 243, 371
Research updated:
01/05/2013
Last minor changes:
19/07/2023

Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.wesleyschapel.org.uk

Full Site Description

In 1739 John Wesley's first London chapel was a converted Foundry in Moorfields located c.200 yards from the current site. By the 1770s larger premises were needed and the foundation stone for a new chapel was laid on 21 April 1777, paid for by subscription. The site had once been a swampy field and was made fit for building having had soil that was excavated for the building of St Paul's Cathedral. Designed by George Dance the Younger who was Surveyor to the City of London at that time, the Mother Church of World Methodism Chapel was opened on 1 April 1778. Behind the chapel is a small graveyard with plain chest tombs and the monument of John Wesley with pyramid and urn. Other members of his family are buried at Bunhill Fields Burial Ground (q.v.). The Chapel was damaged by fire in 1879 and rebuilt in 1891, the Foundry Chapel rebuilt to the south in 1899. The Chapel Keeper's House, entrance gates and railings are late C18th. In the forecourt to the Chapel is an obelisk to Susannah Wesley erected in 1870 and the Wesley memorial with bronze statue of John Wesley by Adams-Acton was erected on the centenary of his death in 1891. The Chapel was in a bad state of repair by 1972 and was restored by 1978 and re-opened by Queen and Duke of Edinburgh on 1 November 1978. Wesley's house, where he lived when in London between 1779-1791, was restored as a museum in 1897/8. The forecourt was re-landscaped with granite setts and York paving in the 1990s and has notable mature planes.

Sources consulted:

Max Woodward, One at London: The Story of Wesley's Chapel, London, 1966; Ben Weinreb & Christopher Hibbert, 'The London Encyclopaedia' (Macmillan, revised ed. 1993); Arthur Mee 'The King's England: London North of the Thames except the City and Westminster' (Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, 1972)

Further Information (Planning and Conservation)
Grid ref:
TQ328822 (530817,182260)
Size in hectares:
Site ownership:
Wesley Trust
Site management:
Wesley Trust. Friends of Wesley's Chapel
Date(s):
1778
Designer(s):
Listed structures:
LBI: Mother Church of World Methodism Chapel. LBII*: Tomb of John Wesley. LBII: Chapel Keeper's House; entrance gates and railings; Wesley memorial in forecourt; statue in forecourt of Wesley; Wesley's House at 47 City Road, the Manse, Leysian Buildings, 104 City Road
On National Heritage List for England (NHLE), Parks & Gardens:

No
Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:

No
Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:

No

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
No
In Conservation Area:
Yes
Conservation Area name:
Bunhill Fields & Finsbury Square
Tree Preservation Order:
No
Nature Conservation Area:
No
Green Belt:
No
Metropolitan Open Land:
No
Special Policy Area:
Yes - Archaeological Priority Area
Other LA designation:
None
Photos

Wesley's Chapel Burial Ground and Wesley House Garden

John Wesley's Chapel, House and Museum - Photo: Aisha Al-Sadie
Date taken: 13/07/17 10:09

Click a photo to enlarge.

More photos

Please note the Inventory and its content are provided for your general information only and are subject to change. It is your responsibility to check the accuracy.