Bishop Asbury Cottage
Bishop Asbury Cottage
Find out why a small house in Sandwell draws hundreds of visitors from all over the United States to visit it each year.
On the A4041 Newton Road from Great Barr to West Bromwich stands an unassuming two up, two down house with historical significance.
Bishop Asbury Cottage was the former home of Francis Asbury who went on to be one of the the world's most influential Methodist preachers, spreading the word across the United States. Now visitors from around the US travel to Sandwell to make a pilgrimage to the home where Francis Asbury grew up.
Early life at the cottage
Francis Asbury was born in August 1745 in Handsworth, a few miles a way from the cottage. When he was 12 months old, his family moved to what is now known as Bishop Asbury Cottage and it is where he remained until he left for America 26 years later.
Francis had tragedy in his early life when his older sister died just before her 5th birthday. Unusually for this time of large families, his parents had no more children, leaving him the only child.
As a teenager Asbury began an apprenticeship with a Blacksmith and began to explore his Methodist faith at the local group in Wednesbury.
Inside Bishop Asbury Cottage
Soon Francis began speaking and preaching, travelling further and further afield to deliver his message. At the age of 21 he gave up employment and began to preach full-time, giving himself to God.
In 1771 Francis Asbury answered a call for from the founder of Methodism John Wesley for preachers to travel to America. Less than a months later, after making hasty goodbyes to his family, he was on a ship bound for North America.
Asbury in America
Upon arriving in America, Asbury began to travel and preach throughout the country and in a variety of venues, from public houses to public squares.
Plaque outside the cottage
When the War of Independence broke out in 1776, Asbury was the only Methodist preacher to remain in America. By 1784 he was given the title of Bishop and was appointed by John Wesley to be the leader of the Methodism in the USA.
Under Asbury's direction the Methodist movement in the United States grew from 1,000 members to well over 200,000. During the next 32 years he continued to preach every day, all over the country and is estimated to have travelled over 6,000 miles each year.
Francis Asbury never returned to his home in the West Midlands. He died in Spotsylvania, Virginia in 1816 and is buried in Baltimore, Maryland.
Visits to the cottage
Coach parties of Methodists drawn from all over America now travel to this hidden historical gem in Sandwell to see where one of the fathers of American Methodism grew up. The cottage contains information and displays relating to the early life of Francis Asbury and Methodism in the Black Country.
Bishop Asbury Cottage is open to groups by appointment only. Contact Oak House on 0121 553 0759 for more details.
last updated: 16/07/2008 at 12:22