Pitts Theology Library acquired a major collection of rare books from the United Methodist Publishing House. Included in this acquisition was a copy of Charles Wesley’s Hymns and Sacred Poems in Two Volumes, vol. 1 (Bristol: 1749).
In December of 1748, Wesley started raising support to publish this hymnbook on a subscription basis. The first person on his list of subscribers was none other than Sarah Gwynne, Wesley’s future wife. Charles married Sarah in April 1749 and then in July registered the copyright for this hymnal.
The recently acquired copy at Pitts bears a special inscription from Charles Wesley to his sister-in-law, Elizabeth Gwynne. The inscription was written in Bristol and dated to September 1, 1749. The date and location of the inscription is significant because it was the day that Charles and Sarah moved into their new home on Charles St. in Bristol. This date represents a major shift in Charles’s life, because it is at this point that he left itinerant ministry to settle down and raise a family.
We are excited to add this volume to Pitts’ large (and growing!) Wesleyana collection, one of the world’s most important collections of printed and manuscript materials documenting the Wesley family and the originals of Wesleyan religious traditions in the US and England.