1774/5 - 1845
John Pike was a leading member of the New Inn Hall Street Chapel. His second son, James was the first Non-conformist Mayor of Oxford.
John came to Oxford from Hungerford in 1799. Pike was a ‘china man’ – a dealer in china and glassware – and he established a business in the city with his brother-in-law Alexander Porter Viner (1768-1806). Later the china business was sold, or perhaps handed on to John junior (1807-84), and Pike became a hop merchant, also the business of his second son, James (1811-79).
John Pike was a committed Methodist before he arrived in Oxford. He held many of the offices open to a Wesleyan lay person, serving on numerous occasions as Circuit Steward (a job requiring deep pockets, because the Stewards were responsible for any shortfalls in the circuit budget). He was District treasurer for the Wesleyan Missionary Society for many years, and a generous subscriber to a range of Wesleyan funds.
When Pike came to Oxford the Wesleyans were meeting in a small chapel on the east side of New Inn Hall Street. He was instrumental in carrying through the scheme for a new chapel, minister’s house and day school, achieved at the considerable cost of over £5000.
Pike made a substantial contribution to the scheme, was active in enlisting donations and loans for the project, and became a trustee and treasurer of the new building. Thomas Viner, another brother-in-law was also a trustee, and the Superintendent Minister at the time of the building, Richard Gower, was probably married to Pike’s sister Mary.
In the next generation, Matilda Pike (1808-69) was a faithful member of the Wesleyan society in Oxford, as was James Pike (1811-79), who succeeded his father as a trustee and was also the first Nonconformist to become Mayor of Oxford (1855-56).