Learn about the life and legacy of John and Charles Wesley and the history of John Wesley's New Room, a museum in the centre of Broadmead and the oldest Methodist building in the world at over 280 years old.

John Wesley was an Anglican clergyman, evangelist, and founder, with his brother Charles, of the Methodist movement in the Church of England.

Charles Wesley at The New Room in central Bristol - credit Visit West

280 years of history

John Wesley’s New Room is a must-see heritage site, nestled between The Horsefair and Broadmead. It is the oldest Methodist building in the world and an integral part of Bristol’s history. John Wesley was one of the founders of Methodism, a Christian movement which began in the 18th century and which started at the New Room. It sparked a worldwide movement - there are now over 80 million Methodists worldwide. Wander and explore through the many rooms and interactive exhibits to learn about the brilliant John Wesley and his vision for a fairer world and his work to tackle the social injustices of the time.

Bristol has been, and continues to be, a place of passionate expression about things that matter to the city. It is a place which unites people with a heart for social responsibility. John Wesley’s legacy is part of Bristol’s ongoing story.

Interior of The New Room in central Bristol - credit The New Room
Image - John Wesley's The New Room - Chapel

Did you know just how much John and his brother Charles Wesley contributed to the city of Bristol?

As an educator, John Wesley believed in education for all. He founded a school in Kingswood, Bristol which later moved to Bath in 1851. 

As preachers, John and Charles believed that the gospel was for all. The 18th century chapel is a space where everyone is welcome for a moment of peace or time to reflect, irrespective of your faith or background. Within the chapel, there’s a quiet prayer corner as well as a reading corner furnished with an array of second-hand books. All are welcome to the Friday Communion service, 1-1.30pm.

As a hymn writer, Charles Wesley wanted people to connect with hymns in a personal way. He often wrote about his personal experiences, and his most famous Christmas carol, ‘Hark! The Herald Angels Sing’ still resonates with people today. Charles lived with his family in Bristol for 22 years. Pre-booked visits to his house are available for groups of 10 or more. Charles Wesley’s two sons, Samuel and Charles Jr. became famous musicians. Samuel was so successful he was known as the ‘English Mozart’. 

Charles Wesley at The New Room in central Bristol - credit Visit West

As an abolitionist, John Wesley produced pamphlets campaigning for the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. He was mentor to William Wilberforce and it is documented that a riot broke out at John Wesley’s New Room amongst traders as Wesley preached on abolition. School groups who visit re-enact the riot!

As an author, John Wesley sold over a million copies of his medical handbook ‘Primitive Physick’ which is still available to buy in the shop. He believed everyone should have access to healthcare and produced a guide for making your own herbal remedies, instead of the need to use an expensive doctor. The New Room even had one of Bristol’s first medical dispensaries!

Explore John Wesley's New Room

The unique architecture of the Chapel is the ideal place to explore, or simply sit in quiet reflection and enjoy the tranquillity, away from the noise of the city outside.  The welcoming cafe and shop are a great place to meet friends, before entering the museum which brings to life an experience of 18th century Bristol.  

Interior of The New Room in central Bristol - credit The New Room