The Ancestors of our Faith Ancestors

As with every day until Friday, today is the first installment of Wednesday with the Wesley’s. Each week we will be looking at John and Charles Wesley, their work, members of their family and probably some of their contemporaries.

Have you ever done any genealogical work? Researching your family tree. I have done a fair amount of research and discovered, some things that probably would be of little interest to anyone but me and my family. On my mother’s side of my family, I found our family has had several generations of native Texans all the way back to the days of Texas Independence. Those lines go all the way back to England and Scotland in the mid 1400s.

I like to think that things get even more interesting on the Broyles side. Way back there were kings in both England and Scotland, none I had ever heard of but still, there are kings. The interesting part is, I share a grandfather with Sir Isaac Newton. Mine has the word several “Great” in front of it and that gets into all that 1st Cousin 10 times removed stuff. I just prefer to say, we share a grandfather. I also believe, based on some pretty strong evidence, but not conclusive proof that I am in direct line with John Newton, who penned “Amazing Grace.”

I think it is interesting to shake the family tree and see what falls out. I feel certain that, for most of us, there are a few more nuts who fall out than famous people.

I have no idea how much John and Charles Wesley knew about their family tree. And while most of them I wouldn’t consider famous outside of their relations hip to the two brothers, it is something of note.

As I did my limited research, I found that it is pretty easy to get lost in all the Samuel Wesley’s. I found no evidence of a Wesley named Samuel before John and Charles, but there were plenty after then. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

Going back in time to research the genealogy of the Wesleys. The earliest name I encountered was, Sir Herbert Westley. He would have been John and Charles great-great grandfather. He married Elizabeth de Wellesley. Little information about these two is available. The couple had at least three children. The third son was Bartholomew Westley, great-grandfather to John and Charles.

Bartholomew studied physics, medicine and theology at Oxford and was known to preach in Allington. The pulpit which he used there is still preserved in the Wesleyan school-room at Bridport where he spent time as well.

Bartholomew was a dissenter, meaning he did not align himself with the Church of England. Both he and his son John played a part in the work of Oliver Cromwell. Later, because of that tie to the Puritan Revolution, both Bartholomew and his son were ejected from their churches following the fall of Cromwell.

In 1619, Bartholomew married  Anne, daughter of Sir Henry Colley. The couple had one son, John Westley. John was born in 1636 and lived until 1678.

Meet the grandfather of John and Charles Wesley, John Westley. Like his father before him, and his son after him (but it would change with Samuel), John was a Dissenter, not part of the Church of England. They were not ordained and after the Church of England was restored as the center of Christian belief and worship in the country, they were “ejected” from the churches they served in 1661.

John began classes at “New Inn Hall,” Oxford, graduating with his B.A. on January 23, 1655, followed by his M.A. on July 4, 1657.

John Westley was also the person responsible for changing the family name from Westley to Wesley.

The first John Wesley married the daughter of John White, rector of Trinity Church, Dorchester, the so-called “Patriarch of Dorchester.” Her name is not known. The couple had two boys,  eldest son was Timothy (born 1659). Their second son was Rev. Samuel Wesley, born in 1662. Samuel was a High Church Anglican priest and the father of John and Charles Wesley. A younger son, Matthew Wesley, remained a nonconformist until his death in 1737.

Next week on Wednesday’s with the Wesleys, we will take a look at the maternal branches of John and Charles Wesley’s, the ancestors of their mother Susanna. We will get back to Samuel himself in a couple of weeks.

I hope you will join me.

Be blessed.

Seeking the genuine,

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


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