Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion

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Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, c. 1770 (unidentified artist) Selina Hastings Countess of Huntington npg 4224.jpg
Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, c. 1770 (unidentified artist)

The Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion is a small society of evangelical churches, founded in 1783 by Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, as a result of the Evangelical Revival. For many years it was strongly associated with the Calvinist Methodist movement of George Whitefield. [1]



The Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion was founded in 1783 by Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon, as a result of the Evangelical Revival. It seceded from the Church of England, founded its own training establishment – Trevecca College – and built up a network of chapels across England in the late 18th century. [2]

In 1785 John Marrant (1755–1791), an African American from New York and the South who settled in London after the American Revolutionary War, became ordained as a minister with the Connexion. He was supported in travel to Nova Scotia as a missionary to minister to the Black Loyalists who had been resettled there by the Crown. Many of the members of the congregation which he organized in Birchtown, Nova Scotia later chose to emigrate and resettle in Sierra Leone, the new British colony in West Africa. What was called a Province of Freedom was founded in 1792. [3] Additional Connexion churches were founded in Sierra Leone (see below).

The Connexion had earlier efforts at congregation building in Canada. In the 1850s, the entrepreneur Thomas Molson built a church for the Connexion group near his brewery in Montreal. It was poorly attended as the city's population was predominantly Catholic. The building was adapted for use as a military barracks. [4]

The Connexion gave strong support to the Calvinistic Methodist movement in Wales in the 18th and early 19th centuries, including the foundation of a theological college at Trefeca in 1760. [5]



Today the Connexion has 22 congregations in England and "more than 30" in Sierra Leone. [6] A UK-registered charity provides financial help with ministers' wages and training and for Connexion schools and teaching salaries in the latter country. [7] [8] [9]

Of the UK churches, seven normally have full-time pastors: Eastbourne, Ely, Goring, Rosedale, St. Ives, Turners Hill and Ebley. Total regular attendance at all churches is approximately 1,000 adults and children.

Bells Yew Green Chapel Bells Yew Green, Kent
Bolney Village Chapel Bolney, West Sussex Simon Allaby
Broad Oak Chapel Broad Oak, Kent 1867
Copthorne Chapel Copthorne, West Sussex 1822
Cradley Chapel Cradley, Herefordshire 1823Ken Hart
South Street Free Church Eastbourne, East Sussex 1897 David Batchelor
Ebley Chapel Ebley, Stroud, Gloucestershire
Countess Free Church, Ely Ely, Cambridgeshire 1785 Karl Relton
New Connexions Free Church, Ely Ely, Cambridgeshire Keith Waters
Goring Free Church Goring-on-Thames, Berkshire 1788 Nigel Gordon-Potts
Hailsham Gospel Mission Hailsham East Sussex
St Stephen's Church, Middleton Middleton, Greater Manchester
Mortimer West End Chapel Mortimer West End, Hampshire
Rosedale Community Church Cheshunt, Hertfordshire Bethany Green
Sheppey Evangelical Church Leysdown-on-Sea, Kent Joe Gregory
Shoreham Free Church Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex
Slough Community Church Slough, Berkshire
Zion Community Church St Ives St Ives, Cornwall Tim Dennick
Turners Hill Free Church Turners Hill, West Sussex Geoff Chapman
Ote Hall Chapel Wivelsfield, East Sussex
Woodmancote Evangelical Free Church Woodmancote, Gloucestershire Andrew Hiscock
Wormley Free Church Wormley, Hertfordshire 1834 Ben Quant

Earlier churches

Connexion churches were formerly active in:

Related Research Articles

Trefeca, located between Talgarth and Llangorse Lake in what is now south Powys in Wales, was the birthplace and home of the 18th-century Methodist leader Howell Harris. It was also the site of two Calvinistic Methodist colleges at different times; the first sponsored by Selina, Countess of Huntingdon in the late eighteenth century; the second supported by the Welsh Calvinistic Methodist Connexion in the later nineteenth century.

Connexionalism, also spelled connectionalism, is the theological understanding and foundation of Methodist ecclesiastical polity, as practised in the Methodist Church in Britain, Methodist Church in Ireland, United Methodist Church, Free Methodist Church, African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Bible Methodist Connection of Churches, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas, and many of the countries where Methodism was established by missionaries sent out from these churches. The United Methodist Church defines connection as the principle that "all leaders and congregations are connected in a network of loyalties and commitments that support, yet supersede, local concerns." Accordingly, the primary decision-making bodies in Methodism are conferences, which serve to gather together representatives of various levels of church hierarchy.

Thomas Canry Caulker (1846–1859), (Sherbro) was born into a prominent African family, and his father ruled as King of Bompey, an African polity established in 1820 in what is now Sierra Leone. Caulker is among an early generation of West Africans sent to England for their education. His father wanted him prepared for demands for government and commerce in his homeland, before the Sierra Leone Protectorate was established by Great Britain. His father's ambition for him was influenced by the evangelical Christianity in the region, introduced largely by British abolitionists.

Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon

Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon was an English religious leader who played a prominent part in the religious revival of the 18th century and the Methodist movement in England and Wales. She founded an evangelical branch in England and Sierra Leone, known as the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion.

Lewes Free Presbyterian Church Church in East Sussex , United Kingdom

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West Street Baptist Church, East Grinstead Church in West Sussex , England

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Countess Free Church, Ely Church in Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom

The Countess Free Church is a church based in the centre of Ely, Cambridgeshire, and holding events across the city. The church meets on a Sunday morning at 10.30am as well as activities and groups for people of all ages through the week, including a strong community focus by hosting various groups and activities mid-week. The church buildings are located in Chapel Street, near Ely Cathedral and the current pastor is Karl Relton.

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Jarvis Hall, Steyning Church in West Sussex , United Kingdom

Jarvis Hall is a former Nonconformist chapel in the village of Steyning, in the Horsham district of the English county of West Sussex. Since its construction in 1835, the Classical-style building has been used by four different Nonconformist Christian denominations: the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, Wesleyan Methodists, the Salvation Army and Plymouth Brethren. The Brethren occupied it last and for the longest time. After about 150 years of religious use, it was sold for residential conversion. English Heritage has listed the former chapel at Grade II for its architectural and historical importance.

Steyning Methodist Church Church in West Sussex , United Kingdom

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Thomas Haweis

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Bethel Strict Baptist Chapel, Wivelsfield Church in East Sussex , United Kingdom

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South Street Free Church, Eastbourne Church in East Sussex , United Kingdom

South Street Free Church is a church in the centre of Eastbourne, a town and seaside resort in the English county of East Sussex. Originally Congregational, it is now aligned to the Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion—a small group of Evangelical churches founded by Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon during the 18th-century Evangelical Revival. The church was founded in 1897 as an offshoot from an earlier Congregational chapel, and initially met in hired premises. Local architect Henry Ward designed the present church in 1903; the "characterful" and "quirky" Arts and Crafts-style building has been listed at Grade II by Historic England for its architectural and historical importance.


  1. Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Methodism"  . Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  2. Abstract of history. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  3. Connexion Fellowships. Retrieved 18/12/2019.
  4. Montreal Gazette, 15 February 1986. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  5. The Gospel Coalition Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  6. Connexion site. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  7. Charity site. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  8. There were said to be 16 congregations in Sierra Leone in 2003.Retrieved 30 January 2019.
  9. "Connexion Network". Retrieved 30 January 2019.
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