Little slices of London's history

Justice Walk and John Wesley’s flight from justice

(c) DACS; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
John Wesley

This day in London’s history: on 8 February 1736 brothers John and Charles Wesley, considered to be the founders of Methodism, arrived in Savannah, Georgia. Wesley, though born in Lincolnshire, went to London at the age of 11 and has connections with many street names: one of these is, appropriately enough, Worship Street in Shoreditch, where Shakespeare is reputed to have once lived.

Appropriate though it may be, the name is nothing to do with religion, worship, or prayers. It takes its name from an Elizabeth merchant tailor, John Worsop, who owned over six acres of land in the area. It is more likely that the street was named for him, and then corrupted to its present form.

A plaque commemorating the Wesley brothers

There is, however, a Wesley and worship connection: the street was once home to a foundry, used for the casting of cannons during the Civil War, and later used by John Wesley as a place of worship.

Incidentally, the Savannah journey was not the most successful of trips as John’s involvement with a fellow trans-Atlantic traveller led to him eventually fleeing the US with a tarnished reputation. His courtship of Sophia Hopkey was unsuccessful; she married someone else, Wesley refused to give her communion, and she and her husband brought suit against Wesley for ecclesiastical irregularities.

4 responses to “Justice Walk and John Wesley’s flight from justice”

  1. Reblogged this on History of Britain and commented:

  2. […] Worship Street, with a religious connection and where, reputedly, Shakespeare once lived. […]

  3. […] warmed” and he was converted following a reading of Martin Luther. It also followed a less than successful trip to the United States when he was presumably in particular need of spiritual […]

  4. […] acres of land in the area. By happy coincidence, however, there was once a foundry there used by John Wesley as a place of worship. Shakespeare is reputed to have once lived here, possibly when it was still […]

About Me (and my Obsession)

My obsession with London street names began in the early 90s when I worked in the Smithfield area and happened upon Bleeding Heart Yard. In my wanderings around London, I kept adding to my store of weird and wonderful street names. Eventually it was time to share – hence my blog. I hope you enjoy these names as much as I do.
– Elizabeth


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