Coke Memorial Methodist Church

South Petherton, Somerset

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The Revd Dr Thomas Coke (born in Brecon) was Anglican curate at South Petherton from 1771. His Methodist leanings made him unpopular and he was thrown out of the church on Easter Sunday 1777.

Coke was 'set apart' by John Wesley in 1784 to be superintendent of Methodist work in America. He came to be called "Bishop" of the American Methodist Church (with joint superintendent Francis Asbury) and became the "Father of the Methodist Missions".

Coke Memorial Church (today with a painting of Thomas Coke and memorial plaques) was built in 1882 to replace an original chapel, which had become too small for the congregation. A stone in the garden wall of a house in North Street marks the site of the old chapel and graveyard.

Plaque in St James Street indicates where Coke lived: the only house he ever owned. The choir stalls in St Peter and St Paul's Parish Church were given by Methodist laymen in 1935 in memory of Coke.

The church closed as a place of worship in 2023, with a closing service led by Revd Andrew Longshaw on 1 October.