United Brethren has retired.

A note on nomenclature

The United Brethren were a sect of Primitive Methodists who were organised in the Malvern Hills area of England in the 1830s. They converted en masse to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through the ministry of Elder Wilford Woodruff. Many of them were baptised in a pond belonging to John Benbow, a prominent convert. The United Brethren donated their meetinghouse to the Church, and the Gadfield Elm chapel (as it was known) is the world's oldest LDS chapel. After years of neglect the chapel was recently refurbished and donated to the Church.

I wrote in detail about all of this at Meridian Magazine, and it is a life ambition to write the definitive history of the United Brethren (I grew up in Malvern and so feel a special kinship with these English Saints).

Links to this post:

Create a Link


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 12, 2004 11:29 AM) 

Nice work, Ronan. I linked to the Meridian article when it first came out, before you exploded onto the blogging scene. I look forward to your longer presentation, which will no doubt be entitled "An Insider's View of the United Brethren."  

Posted by Dave


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 12, 2004 3:03 PM) 

It'll be a while before I can present the Insider's view as I have this thing called a PhD on an utterly unrelated topic! But I would like to not only write their history but also work out what it was about the Church that made them join. (Discussions elsewhere for example, have suggested that the First Vision was of little interest, and yet today it's the big thing. What was it, then? The BoM? The idea of Zion?) 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 12, 2004 8:03 PM) 

Although I have no tie to Malvern, I'm interested in learning more about the history. A (probably unrelated) church built by german-american group of United Brethren in the 19th Century is loosley connected to my family history.


Posted by pate


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 13, 2004 3:45 AM) 

I'll take a second bite at the apple -- for all the LDS history over the last few decades, very little of it looks at events outside the US mainland. I suspect a good book or article on the United Brethren would be noteworthy just to look at a significant LDS event that took place in a different social and religious context. 

Posted by Dave


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 13, 2004 8:08 AM) 

Pate, there are several Methodist groups that go by the name United Brethren, but I'm not sure that any are in Germany.
Dave, have you read "Men with a mission", the best work on the British apostolic missions so far? 

Posted by Ronan


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 13, 2004 12:37 PM) 

Ronan, that would be a fine project. I am definitely looking forward to your views on that.

Dave, I'm not sure how accurate your observation is that very little LDS history over the last few decades has focused on non-mainland-US issues. You are certainly right that more treatments of mainland US issues exist, but there is no lack of treatments of non-US aspects of LDS history.  

Posted by john fowles


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 13, 2004 3:02 PM) 

The chapel is actually in north-western Maryland in a heavily german settled area. But the Methodist tie is certainly there, the group ended up merging with some local Methodist churches before the chapel fell into disuse.

I'd still be interested in reading a history of the United Brethren from the Malvern area.

My ten year-old son just watched my TiVo'd copy of 'the Kingdom and the Crown' and he enjoyed the section on Benbow's pond. So you may have two readers in my house. ;)


Posted by pate


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (December 13, 2004 10:08 PM) 

Pate, are you in NW Maryland? (I live in Baltimore) 

Posted by Ronan


post a comment