Samuel Wesley and the Crisis of Tory Piety, 1685-1720 uses the experiences of Samuel Wesley (1662-1735) to examine what life was like in the Church of England for Tory High Church clergy. These clergy felt alienated from the religious and political settlement of 1689 and found themselves facing the growth of religious toleration. They often linked this to a rise in immorality and a sense of the decline in religious values. Samuel Wesley's life saw a series of crises including his decision to leave Dissent and conform to the Church of England, his imprisonment for debt in 1705, his shortcomings as a priest, disagreements with his bishop, his marriage breakdown and the haunting of his rectory by a ghost or poltergeist. Wesley was also a leading member of the Convocation of the Church during the crisis years of 1710-14. In each of these episodes, Wesley's Toryism and High Church principles played a key role in his actions. They also show that the years between 1685 and 1720 were part of a 'long Glorious Revolution' which was not confined to 1688-9. This 'long Revolution' was experienced by Tory High Church clergy as a series of turning points in which the Whig forces strengthened their control of politics and the Church. Using newly discovered sources, and providing fresh insights into the life and work of Samuel Wesley, William Gibson explores the world of the Tory High Church clergy in the period 1685-1720.
This is an excellent and sympathetic study of Samuel Wesley's High Church world. * W. M. Jacob, Wesley and Methodist Studies * In the end, William Gibson's excellent study of Samuel Wesley is less about the crisis of Tory piety than it is about the crisis of Tory politics ... in the process, Gibson invites us to think afresh about the origins of Methodism and the family and milieu from which the Wesley brothers emerged. * Robert G. Ingram, History Review of New Books * In his justly-admired biography of John Wesley, Henry Rack concluded that '[John] Wesley seems to have adopted his father's Hanoverian Toryism rather than his monther's religious Jacobitism'. Gibson's book provides a thorough explanation for this auspicious development * G. M. Ditchfield, Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society * Gibson's highly readable, historically sure-footed and insightful book succeeds in casting light on a neglected period in the history of the Church of England, and on the impact on ecclesial and domestic life of the events of the Long Glorious Revolution * Stephen Plant, Religion and Theology * Gibson, author of The Church of England 1688-1832: Unity and Accord (2001) is a proven master of English ecclesiastical history relating to the long eighteenth century. This status is blisteringly apparent from his command of sources, texts, and arguments in this new exploration of Samuel Wesley, the grandfather of Wesleyanism. * Edward Keene, English Churchman *