IMG_2644 copying Hoxha

The author, taking notes for a book

The following books are included, in this order, on the rest of this page:

  • Change and Decay: Primitive Methodism from late Victorian times till World War 1
  • The great River: Primitive Methodism till 1868
  • Primitive Methodism in North Wales
  • Primitive Methodism 1919 to 2019
  • Turned east: half a life for Albania
  • Basingstoke: Church Street Wesleyan Methodist Circuit
  • Where next? Some biblical principles for finding God’s guidance

Change and Decay: Primitive Methodism from late Victorian Years to World War 1 (2017)

After a chapter on the widespread Victorian crisis of faith and the decline of Evangelical belief among England’s churches in the nineteenth century, the book tracks changes in theology, ethos and practice among Primitive Methodists, its decline in membership, and the principal leaders who promulgated the accompanying modifications in belief.

Synopsis

After a brief look at the character of Primitive Methodism in its early period, the book first explores the causes and progress of the loss of faith in Victorian Britain; the later chapters focus on changes within Primitive Methodism: its beliefs, its ethos, and its numerical decline.  A primary purpose of the book is to rediscover the voices of those who were grieved at the modifications in theology but whose words and woes are hard to discover as they tend to be mentioned, if at all, only briefly and rather dismissively in subsequent writings. The final, very brief chapter, casts a glance beyond the close of this study (the end of World War 1) towards what will, it is hoped, be the subject of a third volume: the question of whether, and if so how, Primitive Methodism survived the end of its separate existence in 1932

Chapter 1 – Primitive Methodism before the Changes
Chapter 2 – The Victorian Background of Change
Chapter 3 – Changes in Primitive Methodism:
the Content of Theology
Chapter 4 – Changes in Primitive Methodism: the Exponents of Theology
Chapter 5 –Changes in Primitive Methodism:
Ethos, Numbers, Disquiet
Chapter 6 – Reactions to the new Teachings
Chapter 7 – The Death of Primitive Methodism?

Reviews:

There has been a gap in our knowledge of Primitive Methodist theology in the later period of the movement.  David Young has now produced a detailed and informative account, concluding that there was far more drastic theological change than has been supposed but also (and this is where the author’s sympathies lie) that there was a great deal of grassroots doctrinal conservatism.

– David Bebbington, Professor of History, University of Stirling

David Young has undertaken very extensive study of primary sources in Primitive Methodism. He has produced a book which offers detailed analysis of a range of theological issues within the movement Those interested in Primitive Methodist life in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century period will find that Young’s work probes areas illuminatingly that have not previously received this kind of coverage.

– Dr Ian Randall, Senior Research Fellow, Spurgeon’s College, London

David Young’s study of late nineteenth-century Primitive Methodism breaks new ground in exploring the nature and impact of changes in the denomination. His detailed research and trenchant opinions will stimulate further work on an important subject.

– Rev Dr Martin Wellings, Superintendent Minister, Oxford Methodist Circuit

Very interesting … fascinating and explains a lot. The sad decline in theological certainty in the churches is expertly documented in David Young’s work.

– Pastor Richard White-Watts, Independent Primitive Methodist Chapel, Lowdham

Young’s book, with its wide and thorough research, is an invaluable addition to our understanding of the theology of Primitive Methodism during its later years as Methodist Union approached.

Rev Dr Tim Woolley, Superintendent Minister, Hinckley Circuit, and Adjunct Lecturer at Cliff College, in Wesley and Methodist Studies

the author … meticulously examines the inexorable movement away from the traditional belief in Christ as the sinner’s substitute.  … This reviewer has certainly never come across such detailed research and close analysis of this aspect of Primitive Methodism.

British Church Newspaper, 8th June 2018

Paperback, 318 pages. £6.70 including postage

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The great River: Primitive Methodism till 1868 (2016)

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This book explores the beliefs, ethos, methods, expansion and persecutions of early Primitive Methodism. It is illustrated mainly, but not exclusively, from personalities and events in northern Hampshire, where the movement was marked by the same character as elsewhere in Britain, and where the author was born and grew up.

Synopsis

After a brief look at the character of Primitive Methodism in its early period, the book first explores the causes and progress of the loss of faith in Victorian Britain; the later chapters focus on changes within Primitive Methodism: its beliefs, its ethos, and its numerical decline.  A primary purpose of the book is to rediscover the voices of those who were grieved at the modifications in theology but whose words and woes are hard to discover as they tend to be mentioned, if at all, only briefly and rather dismissively in subsequent writings. The final, very brief chapter, casts a glance beyond the close of this study (the end of World War 1) towards what will, it is hoped, be the subject of a third volume: the question of whether, and if so how, Primitive Methodism survived the end of its separate existence in 1932

Chapter 1 – Primitive Methodism before the Changes
Chapter 2 – The Victorian Background of Change
Chapter 3 – Changes in Primitive Methodism:
the Content of Theology
Chapter 4 – Changes in Primitive Methodism: the Exponents of Theology
Chapter 5 –Changes in Primitive Methodism:
Ethos, Numbers, Disquiet
Chapter 6 – Reactions to the new Teachings
Chapter 7 – The Death of Primitive Methodism?

The most comprehensive account by far of the heroic entry of Primitive Methodism into northern Hampshire … blending ‘insight and interpretation’, with ‘data’ … the remarkable geographical advance … the reasons for success … change … an overview of wider Primitive Methodist activity and belief. … this inspiring reading … does not gloss over the failings and faults of the Primitive Methodists … one of the most remarkable stories of all.

– Rev Dr Stephen Hatcher, Wesley Historical Society Proceedings, February 2018

This masterly account is both inspiring and scholarly.  It tells the story of Primitive Methodists from their early vibrant evangelistic beginnings until they slowed down and approached a plateau.  The story has implications for the whole of the movement in Britain while being illustrated mainly from events in Hampshire.  The Primitive Methodist way of life, persecution, morality and legalism, gospel message, and interaction with folk religion and other Nonconformist bodies are presented with a wealth of detail all arranged into a readable and remarkable narrative. This masterly account is both inspiring and scholarly. Historians of the period, both secular and religious, will learn from this text; others will see models of religious heroism.

Prof. W. K. Kay, Glyndwr University, Wrexham

Mr Young has read widely in Primitive Methodist sources and in Hampshire history and is acquainted with the leading scholars of 19th century religion. He offers biographies of the preachers and narratives of the early history of the societies, before turning to consider the appeal of Primitive Methodism in its message and methods … a significant local story

Methodist Recorder

a fascinating insight into the personalities and their exploits. This readable account provides stories of persecution, morality, the gospel message, and interaction with folk religion.

The Ranters’ Digest

a carefully researched profile of pioneering evangelism … a sobering insight into the dire social conditions … an uphill struggle against ruthless and powerful men met with heroic, evangelistic persistence. Beside the sheer enjoyment of reading the history of God’s work, the book reminds us to persevere in the gospel. It also warns against diversions from central matters.

Evangelical Times

David Young has written about a movement for which he clearly has considerable appreciation in an area of the country which he knows well.

Evangelicals Now

Paperback, 234 pages. £6.70 including postage

Primitive Methodism in North Wales (2018)

Prims N Wales

Beginning from the Burland Circuit’s first foothold in North Wales in 1820, the narrative  traces first the northern penetration into Wales based on Chester, and then the southern route from Prees and Oswestry. These chapters focus mainly on the period till 1852, with quotations from preachers’ journals to give a sense of the flavour and style of the faith they believed and preached.

There follows a chapter on later developments, including some effects of the Welsh Revival of 1904. Then come two chapters which take a further look at aspects of the movement’s ethos.

The final chapter focuses on one congregation, founded by a minister born in Flintshire and stationed in Wrexham: it looks at the physical and cultural character of the hamlet, individual Primitive Methodists, some ministers who served them. and the two chapels that stood in the hamlet, one possibly a short-lived Welsh cause whose chapel fell into around 1860, and then the Primitive Methodist chapel built at a cost of £23 in 1860.

Here are the chapter headings of this book:

1. BURLAND, A FOOTHOLD IN WALES, 1819-25
2. FROM CHESTER INTO WALES, 1821-52
3. PREES GREEN CIRCUIT, 1825-52
4. OSWESTRY CIRCUIT, 1833-52
5. OSWESTRY CIRCUIT IN WALES, 1833-52
6. SOME LATER DEVELOPMENT IN WALES
7. COTTAGE MEETINGS
8. THEIR OWN UNDERSTANDING OF THEIR SUCCESS
9. THE PRIMITIVE METHODIST SQUATTTERS OF NEWTOWN MOUNTAIN
10. SOURCES

The book is published jointly by the Wesley Historical Society (Wales branch) and Tentmaker Publications of Stoke-on-Trent.

Paperback, 151 pages, £5.70 including postage.

Click here for an idea of the contents:

These first three books, and the next one on the period 1919ff, should be available from me direct (see form on Contact page), or from the publisher (Tentmaker, Stoke-on-Trent), and the first two from Amazon; postage from Amazon may be slightly more.

Primitive Methodism 1919 to 2019 (2019)

By the end of Change and Decay it was apparent that the direction was set towards union with the Wesleyan and United Methodist Churches in 1932. Thereafter, most of the Primitive Methodist congregations were absorbed into the new Methodist Church of Great Britain, which, despite some outstanding leaders, became increasingly liberal in its theology and pluralist in its character. Nonetheless, the beliefs and ethos of earlier Primitive Methodism have survived in churches and in individuals down to the present day. Paperback 300 pages, £6.70 including postage.

Reviews:

This is a book that all who are genuinely concerned for the survival and revival of Methodism in Great Britain must read; preferably prayerfully and thoughtfully on their knees.

Here is a well-researched, arguably a unique piece of research, tracing the roots and consequences of Methodism’s 20th Century decline. David Young has an evident strong affection for genuine Methodism, the faith of his forebears, and he writes in the same spirit as those Old Testament saints who wept over the desolations of Jerusalem.

This work is the third part of a trilogy, the former volumes tracing the rise of Primitive Methodism and its remarkable spiritual achievements in the 19th Century. The second volume identifies the influence of liberal theology creeping into the denomination in the latter part of that century. This third volume traces the devastating consequences of that influence in the 20th Century, and the valiant efforts of some to resist these developments and maintain their distinctives. It also covers the area surrounding Methodist Reunion in 1932 and we will find help here in assessing the effects of that union.

The final chapters relate the course of Primitive Methodism in the USA, a church which resisted the inroads of liberalism, and has gone on to plant evangelical churches in Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia and El Salvador.

All who wish to understand the reason behind the collapse of so many of the so-called ‘mainline churches’ in the 20th Century, and all who have any true concern for the future of British Methodism will be greatly profited through the reading of this unique and excellent book.

– Dr Roland Burrows, Christian Heritage Centre, Rowley Regis, Birmingham.

David Young has done a remarkable work in extracting the snippets of information from manuscripts and minutes of meetings over many years that show the sad decline of the Primitive Methodist Church. Although he gives a variety of reasons as to why the Church declined over the years, it is very evident from his research that the damaging effects of liberal theology on the life and witness of the Church was effectively fatal. May the Lord enable what still remains of the Primitive Methodist Church to ‘defend the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people’. Jude 1 v 3.

– Steve Clark, Pastor, Primitive Methodist Continuing Church, Hull

David has dedicated himself to seeking out the spirit and legacy of the Primitive Methodist tradition. He brings an insightful work in which we learn that, ‘those who do not learn form history are doomed to repeat its mistakes.’ In the 1920s and ’30s the various streams of the Methodist Church faced:

  • A rapidly changing world
  • A fall in attendance
  • A crisis of faith
  • A waning of Evangelical convictions
  • A growth of revisionist and liberal theology.
  • A seed change in the understanding of the nature of Scripture
  • A loss of belief in the need for Revival.

Their response was amalgamation. It did not lead to renewed blessing or growth, but further church closures, and a diluted evangelical faith.

As the church today faces the same issues, and comes again with the same responses, this book is both timely and prophetic. We would be wise to hear its voice.

– Rev D Kevin Jones BA MA, Superintendent Minister Gornal and Sedgley Circuit

David Martin Young has produced a fascinating and well-written story of the decline of Primitive Methodism in England and Wales due to theological liberalism and yet the continuation of Primitive Methodist evangelical theology in other parts of the world, including the United States, Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia, Dominican Republic.

– Rev. Dr K. Gene Carroll, Former President of the Primitive Methodist Church in the United States of America

This book offers an examination of the critical transitional years for the British Primitive Methodist church in those years leading up to Methodist Union, over union itself, and the years thereafter. This may imply a dry historical account. Reader beware- it is anything but! You will either find this a compelling truth revealing account of  church history and doctrine, or else find it too partisan to tolerate.

In the First World War it was sometimes said of the British soldiers that they were ‘lions led by donkeys,’-– brave soldiers sent to death by incompetent generals. For David Young much of the Methodist history in these years reflects faithful Christians being battered by false theological perspectives from those who should have been wise in the things of the kingdom. It is hard hitting.

The tone of the book balances regret for what has happened, with hope for the possibility of what might still be.  Therefore this account fulfils two purposes– it is not only an autopsy of that which has died, but a surgical examination in the hope that some can still  be saved.

– Rev. David Leese, minister, Cloud Methodist Church, Cheshire

This book traces the Primitive Methodist spirit to the present day. …remarkable for its analysis and perceptive observations … much for prayerful reflection.

– British Church Newspaper, 31 January 2020

Price: £6.70 including postage

1919 to 2019

Turned east: half a life for Albania (2011)

This book (paperback, 273 pages) could be seen as chronicling a life-long pursuit of the Primitive Methodism which fired my imagination and ambitions in country chapels and books in my teen years.

The book traces childhood, adolescence, conversion and early Christian life in the Basingstoke Methodist Circuit; the years at Cambridge University; courtship and marriage in Kent; work as minister, at two different times, of two Baptist chapels; the formation and development of a mission to the Albanian regions of the Balkans; my embracing, in the 1970s, of Pentecostal and Calvinist beliefs (without exploring my theological development beyond the end of the book).

Many Christian biographies have left me feeling substandard and unworthy compared with the men whose lives and triumphs are related in them, even wondering, if that is what Christian service is like, whether I am a Christian at all. So I decided to attempt an autobiography that would give hope and encouragement to readers who, like me, have disobeyed, have tried and failed, and have sinned, and yet have found a God who gives second chances (and more still). “For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plenteous redemption.”

I have just read Turned East and could hardly put it down. Heartfelt thanks for writing it.

– Andrew Geuter, former missionary in Albania

Your life has been much more remarkable and unusual than I imagined; it’s a very frank and open account; warts and all; but well written and easy to read. You were lucky not to have ended up in a police station in Albania, and you did not lightly skip over all your difficulties on the way. Your story is really worthy of a novel, there are so few who have chosen a path and faithfully followed it.

– Dr David Collins, Gresford

I share David’s hope that the story will encourage any who, like him, have sometimes failed, sinned and gone wrong – yet have come to know God’s forgiveness, guidance and blessing over many years.

– David J. Hickman, Chairman of Trustees, Albanian Evangelical Mission.

Paperback, 274 pages. £6.70 including postage

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Basingstoke: Church Street Methodist Circuit (2016)

This shorter book explores the coming of Wesleyan Methodism to the Basingstoke area, beginning with the visits of John Wesley and tracing the story to the first purpose-built chapel in Basingstoke and the formal establishment of the Circuit of which Basingstoke was the head. The author was sent to Sunday at George Street, and attended services at Church Street with his parents from the age of about 11. Church Street was a Wesleyan place of worship before 1932, and George Street featured on the Plan of the old Wesleyan Circuit before the delayed amalgamation of the previously Primitive and Wesleyan circuits.

Paperback, 47 pages. It was sold at £3.00 including postage but is now sold out. If you follow this link it will take you to a pdf of the book: Click here for further details.

Where next? Some biblical principles for finding God’s guidance (2008)

Here is a collection of chapters on God’s guidance, arising from sermons preached by the author, who has preached in the following Methodist Circuits from 1965 till the time of setting up this website: Basingstoke, Cambridge, Hawkhurst, Sevenoaks, South Molton, Buckley and Deeside, Wrexham, Cheshire South, Llanrhaeadr.

Paperback, 107 pages. £5.70 including postage

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How To Order

Contact me with details of the book you’re interested in ordering and I will get back to you with details. You can contact me via my Contact page.