The New Room (John Wesley’s Chapel)
George Whitefield invited John Wesley to preach outdoors for the first time to the miners of Bristol.
The New Room was built in 1739 by John Wesley as a meeting place for two of the resulting groups or‘societies’ of worshippers and was the first Methodist building in the world.
It was enlarged in 1748 to its current proportions. The New Room also provided accommodation for John Wesley and later other visiting preachers whenever they visited Bristol on their travels.
Being well placed in the heart of the city, the New Room became a centre for the Wesleys’ work in Bristol, where those in need could receive help and education. It was also the first ‘society’ to use John Wesley’s ‘class’ system, where members were divided into sub-groups for mutual spiritual support and development.
Today, the chapel is in regular use for worship as well as being used for cultural activities and exhibitions. The interior is still decorated in the style of the 18th century, with many original objects and furnishings from Wesley’s day. Upstairs, visitors may explore the preachers’ quarters, where the room displays show the work of Wesley and Francis Asbury, who sailed from nearby Pill to lead the Methodist Church in America.
The New Room also houses an extensive 3,500-volume library of Methodist history.
The collection of journals, pamphlets, portraits, biographies and critical works relating to the Wesleys is available to researchers by appointment. It also houses documents relating to Methodism from before 1900.
Additional visitor information
The New Room
Getting there [ST590734]