This is the day that … William Bramwell died, in 1818, at the age of 59.
The exact date of his birth, in February 1759, is unknown. But the amazing results of his evangelism around England are well documented.
Fifteen hundred converted in Sheffield (1795); 500 converted in Leeds (1801); 450 converted in Hull (1804) – and so it goes.
Born to a Church of England family Bramwell’s quest for spiritual reality led him to the Catholic Church for a season, during which he mutilated his finger tips as a act of piety. He returned to the Church of England but was drawn to the dissenters, the Methodists, through a friend. He finally agreed to hear a Methodist preacher and was instantly excited by the experience. It was under the preaching of John Wesley, himself, that Bramwell found the glorious liberty of being a child of God. Thus he spent the rest of his life proclaiming the Methodist sanctification message.
In the years following Wesley’s death, Bramwell was the leading Methodist preacher, even though there were many who opposed him.
His first revival came after a year of earnest preaching, home visitation and prayer in Dewsbury. He enlisted the assistance of a woman of prayer, whom he had earlier led to Christ, Miss Anne Cutler, who came to be known as “Praying Nanny”.
When revival broke out and many were converted, also experiencing ‘entire sanctification’, it set the stage for many such revivals to follow.
Interesting anecdotes abound in the life of this early Methodist preacher. For example, he would not speak to “a lazy, pre-occupied congregation! If they did not give him their undivided attention he would close the service … because a sort of insult had been poured on the gospel” (They Dared to be Different, page 119).
“He married a holy woman whom he saw about once every six weeks, his travelling and preaching keeping him away so constantly…” (Men and Women of Deep Piety, page 52).
And the story is told of two women who had been to hear Mr Bramwell preach (Life-Changing Evangelism). “How is it,” asked one, “that every time we hear Mr Bramwell preach, he tells us things we never knew before?” “Perhaps,” replied the other, “it is because he lives much closer to God than we do … and God tells him things He tells nobody else…”
This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at www.donaldprout.com.