Wesley appreciated his Ashbourne congregation in 1755. He commented in his diary that "none offered the least rudeness";
The Ashbourne Methodist Society formed in April 1755 when John Wesley stopped at Ashbourne whilst en-route to Manchester and preached to a "deeply serious congregation". Wesley returned in 1772. After preaching at 5am in the Market Place at Derby to a huge congregation, he arrived in Ashbourne at 9am, but found the house where he was intending to preach "would not hold a quarter of the people" and so his service was delivered in the Market Place. Wesley commented in his diary that "none offered the least rudeness"; quite a change from an earlier preacher's experience. In 1754, Thomas Hanby a travelling preacher, was “making an excursion into the wilds of Derbyshire” and preached in a farm house near Ashbourne, which was surrounded by an aggressive mob.
Ashbourne was substantially destroyed by fire in 1252. The present Market Place is likely to have been established afterwards. It was a large triangular space surrounded by timber frame buildings. It would have stretched from the hill on Buxton Road to the site of the Green Man Inn. The infill buildings came later.