Last week was the Book Festival at Mow Cop Methodist Chapel, held in support of the Primitive Methodist Museum at Englesea Brook. I went up and down the Cop more than once. These books illustrated here are the cream of the crop. Clockwise from top left we have:
1. C.T. Bateman: John Clifford. 1904. This biography of the General Baptist leader was written during his lifetime. Clifford was Spurgeon's more politically-involved counterpart. Clifford heard Spurgeon first in the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Wellingborough - where I have preached.
2. Joseph Ritson: The Romance of Nonconformity. 1910. This book, 100 years old this year, was the sequel to Ritson's Romance of Primitive Methodism, and gives an outline of the history of British Nonconformity. Ritson was a Primitive Methodist writer.
3. A.C. Pratt: Black Country Methodism. 1891. A rare volume that gives a sketch of the rise of Methodism in the Black Country. For non-British readers I should explain that this is the area around Wolverhampton, and was called the Black Country because it was a centre of coal-mining. The book also has a good ornamental binding.
4. George Sudlow: Sammy Brindley and His Friends. 1905. Sammy Brindley was known as the 'Staffordshire Billy Bray'. He lived at Audley, near Newcastle-Under-Lyme. This delightful little book includes a great deal of dialogue in North Staffordshire dialect, as well as the history of local Methodism.
5. Frederick Overend: History of the Ebenezer Baptist Church Bacup. 1912. The bicentenary history of a Lancashire Baptist Church. Sadly there will be no tercentenary, Ebenezer Bacup closed in 1962 and the buildings were pulled down. Overend traces the history of the church back to its origins in the 17th century.
6. Edward Carey Pike: English Nonconformity. 1896. This volume was published by the Bible Christian Methodists, and embodies a series of lectures tracing the history of Nonconformity to the 19th century. The final lecture deals with the controversy with the Oxford Movement. The lectures were originally given to a ministers' fraternal.