Methodism first came to Ashbourne in 1754 when a visiting preacher, Thomas Hanby, was “making an excursion into the wilds of Derbyshire”. Having preached at nearby Wotton and Snelston, he was keen to preach in Ashbourne, but “was at a loss how to introduce himself”. Hanby then heard of a sympathetic toll-gate keeper in Ashbourne and, having introduced himself, preached at the toll-house. When Hanby returned some 2 weeks later, however, he found that the Commissioners of the Toll Road had forbidden his preaching there, but a sympathetic local farmer offered his home instead, although an aggressive mob formed outside the farm house. A year later, though, John Wesley received a more friendly welcome.
Protrait reproduced by courtesy of the University Librarian and Director, The John Rylands Library, The University of Manchester
One of the grandest churches in Derbyshire, with a slender spire of 212 feet. Referred to in the Doomsday book, the present church building dates from the mid 1200's and contains fine stained glass and monuments.