The information that follows is taken from ‘Beverley Methodism – Historical Sketches’ by Rev’d Eric W Dykes published 2004.
The Methodists established themselves in Beverley in the 1750s, firstly in a house in Wednesday Market where John Wesley preached on his first visit on Saturday July 14th 1759. ‘I preached at eight in Mr Hilton’s yard, near the great street in Beverley; and was surprised to see so quiet and civil a congregation, where we expected nothing less. All the men were uncovered, and the whole audience was attentive from beginning to end; nor did one person give us a rude word while we rode from one end of the town to the other. This, with the large and earnest congregation at York in the evening, made me forget all my labour.’
Wesley visited Beverley again fifteen times between 1761 and 1790 as recorded in his journals:
*Saturday 27th June 1761 ‘I was constrained to leave them (Hull) early in the morning. At seven I preached in Beverley.’
*In July 1761 Wesley records preaching at Beverley on texts – 2 Cor. 8 v 9 and Jer. 8 v 22. This may have referred to the June visit.
*Wednesday 11th April 1764 ‘Between eight and nine I began preaching at Beverley, in a room which is newly taken. It was filled from end to end, and that with serious hearers.’
*Thursday 17th July 1766 ‘In the way to Beverley I called upon Sir Charles Hotham and spent a comfortable hour.’ The Hothams were close friends of the Wesleys and Charles’s hymn ‘Jesu lover of my soul’ was set to the tune Hotham after this family whose estate was in South Dalton but who kept a house in Eastgate.
*Thursday 21st June 1770 ‘I preached at Hull in the evening (20th) and the next at Beverley.’
*Tuesday 23rd June 1772 ‘About Eleven I preached at Driffield. The sun was extremely hot; but I was tolerably screened by a shady tree. In the evening I preached at Beverley.’
*Thursday 7th July 1774 ‘I preached at Beverley and Hull, where the house would not near contain the congregation.’
*Tuesday 13th May 1777 ‘I preached… in the morning at Beverley; and in the evening at Hull, on ‘Narrow is the way that leadeth unto life.’
*Thursday 1st July 1779 ‘ This was the first of eighteen or twenty days full as hot as any I remember in Georgia (USA); and yet the season is remarkably healthy. I preached in Beverley at noon.’
*Monday 30th May-Saturday 4th July 1781 ‘In the evening to York. Hence I took a little circuit through Malton, Scarborough, Beverley, Hull and Pocklington, and came to York again.’
*Wednesday 15th May-Sunday 26th May 1782 ‘I set out for the other side of Lincolnshire… I went by Hull, Beverley, Bridlington; and then hastened to Newcastle upon Tyne.’
*Tuesday 22nd June 1784 ‘About one I preached to a large and remarkably serious congregation at Beverley.’ From notes – ‘Beverley had dinner, conversed, 1 Cor. 13 v 1 etc chaise (travelled in?) Hull.’
*Saturday 17th June 1786 ‘I found Mr Parker at Beverley in a palace. The Gentleman who owned it being gone abroad, it was let at a moderate rent. I preached here at twelve.’ From notes – ‘9.15 Inn; 10 chaise; 11 Beverley, at Mr Parkers, sermon; 12 dinner; Matthew 4 v 10! Christened; 1.30 chaise.’
*Thursday 19th June 1788 ‘As soon as the service (at Malton) was over I hasted away and reached Beverley (28 miles) in good time. The house here, though greatly enlarged, was well filled with high and low, rich and poor; and (it being the day of the Archdeacon’s visitation) many of the clergy were there. I rejoiced in this, as it might be a means of removing prejudice from many sincere minds.’
*Friday 25th June 1790 ‘About noon I preached at Beverley to a serious, well behaved congregation, and in the evening to one equally serious, and far more numerous, at Hull.’ (Thomas Taylor, who was then assistant in the Hull Circuit, refers to this visit in his diary. He and many friends from Hull met Wesley in Beverley and dined with him at an inn there.)