A great believer in exploring the off beat, non-touristy things hidden inside every city.
Published June 30th 2016
A step back into time- Epworth Old Rectory
Come Christmas, at least once during the season, everyone hears the carol 'Hark the herald angels sing'. And, last month, on a road trip we actually happened to visit the very house where the carol was written, by Charles Wesley so many hundreds of years ago. Even before one enters the Old Rectory where Charles and his equally famous brother John (the founder of the Methodist Christian church) along with their so many siblings were raised, one gets the feeling that the little village of Epworth stands frozen in time.
I was especially struck to note that some parts of the rectory still date back to the 1700s. Our guide explained that there had been a fire at some point when the Wesleys were in residence. All the family managed to escape in good time save for little John who was stuck in the attic. In a daring rescue, someone seemed to have climbed up to the attic window and plucked him right out of the flames. He would later go on to found the Methodist church.
The fire and rescue of John Wesley captured in canvas
Another interesting bit I gleaned was that his brother Charles, credited with writing so many hymns (most of which are still sung in churches across the world even today) directly lifted verses from the Bible and set them to song. This was because the common man was illiterate back then and he felt it would be a good way for them to know what exactly was said in the Bible (not unlike Martin Luther's translations from Latin to German, which sparked off the Reformation).
There is a medicinal garden, a bookshop and some costumes and cut outs for the kids to play around with.
John Wesley (his statue !) graciously agreeing to pose with us !!!
The rectory seems to be staffed mainly by a friendly team of volunteers who clearly find it fulfilling to be part of this heritage building and the wider symbol of the Methodist church that it represents. Entry fees are reasonable. Regardless of your faith, it is a fascinating step back into time and if you are looking for something off beat, not mentioned in the regular guide books, then do make this a stop.