‘Wesley’ book back at rectory after £3,000 restoration

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A 350-YEAR-OLD BOOK has returned to the boyhood home of the founders of Methodism, John and Charles Wesley, after months of painstaking restoration.

Entitled Contemplations On the History of the New Testament it has been in the collection of Epworth’s Old Rectory since 1968. More than £3,000 was needed to restore the book, which carries the signatures of Charles, his wife Sarah and two of their children. The 1661 tome had to be taken apart so every page could be washed and repaired and it was rebound with a new cover.

Hundreds of people donated money towards the restoration, two-thirds of which as paid for by Renaissance Yorkshire.

The Rev Claire Potter, curator, said: “I thank all those who made a donation towards the restoration, the result of which is astonishing. We now have a very significant book in a wonderful state and trust it will continue to inspire people well into the future.”

The Old Rectory has embarked on a £1.5m fundraising drive to return the Grade 1 listed building – now a museum – back to how it looked in 1716.

Over winter volunteers have stripped out modern fireplace surrounds, cupboards and curtains. The kitchen in the adjacent refectory has been refurbished and is now serving meals. A new exhibition – The Rise and Impact of Global Methodism – opens on Wednesday March 14.