Mr Edwards' house

The first Methodist meeting place in Norwich

By Norma Virgoe

 Mr Edwards must have been personally acquainted with the Wesley brothers for he met them and their companions on their journey at Attleborough and accompanied them to Lakenham where they were to stay at the home of Captain and Mrs Gallatin. A Norwich bookseller, Mr Edwards owned a house and business in the Lamb Inn Yard, next door, as he described it, to the Lamb Back-Gate. [1]   

Photo:The Lamb Inn yard

The Lamb Inn yard

    A year before the arrival of the Wesley brothers, Edwards had advertised in the Norwich Mercury on 14 July 1753 to inform the readers that at his premises he had available, 

the WORKS of the Rev. Mr JOHN WESLEY, M.A. viz. sermons bound and stitch’d, Psalms and Hymns bound and stitch’d, Forms of Prayer, Family Prayers, Instructions for Children, Lessons for Children, together with his Appeals and Journals, and various other Tracts to [sic] tedious to insert.  A Catalogue of the whole to be seen at the above Place, with the Price fix’d to each Book.   

Such a comprehensive collection of Methodist books in Norwich at this time suggests close and lengthy contact with the Wesleys for some good time before their arrival in the city.

    During his five weeks’ stay in the summer of 1754, Charles sometimes lodged overnight with Mr and Mrs Edwards in the city. He also preached in their house when the weather was too wet to hold services in the open air.  At other times, members of the infant Methodist society joined Charles in the house following the open-air preaching for further instruction and support.

    On Thursday 8 August 1754, Charles noted – Our morning hour is always peaceable and attended with the blessing of the Gospel.  The house is filled with the sincere; and the half-awakened listen without. [2]

The following day, Charles recorded in his journal that James Wheatley had called at the Edwards’ house. Mrs Edwards opened the door and, seeing him, without speaking a word, bad or good, shut it again. [3]

    During the next few years, John Wesley stayed at Mr Edwards’ house whenever he was visiting the city. 


[1] Letter in the Norwich Mercury, 14 July 1753.

[2] Life… , Jackson, op. cit., vol. ii, p.57.

[3] Ibid., p.58.

This page was added by Norma Virgoe on 26/11/2013.

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