John Walsh

John was born in Essex in 1927 but as a Methodist minister’s son his childhood years were spent in a variety of locations in India and Britain. He followed an academic career and is a highly regarded authority on Methodism.

He completed his schooling at Kingswood Methodist School in Bath, going home in the holidays to wherever his parents were living at the time. National service saw him exposed to the ruins and horrors of Germany immediately after the end of the War.

John took his undergraduate degree and PhD at Cambridge and subsequently became a tutor and reader in history at Jesus College, Oxford. As an Emeritus Fellow, he maintained an ongoing interest in research into the eighteenth century and Methodism in particular.

John gives a brief overview of his early years and tells us a little about his paternal grandfather.

Early years and Grandfather

John describes how a friend from Cambridge invited him to join a certain pub group when he moved to Oxford.


John describes how wild spaces and the outdoor life have always been important to him.


John enjoyed worship and fellowship at his College Chapel and at Wesley Memorial. Here he reflects on Wesley Memorial as a building and on worship in general.

Building and worship

John concludes by describing his ongoing fascination with John Wesley and his approach to historical research.

Wesley’s funeralĀ  and research clip

After a long life, John passed away in early November 2022.

John Walsh in 2017. Many thanks to Ander McIntyre for allowing the use of this image.

John Walsh stands outside the Eagle and Child pub where the Inklings met.

Home of the Inklings


Comments about this page

  • John told a glorious story about visiting Lewis in the Nuffield. Attached to a couple of drips, Lewis apparently remarked: ‘You see, John: like many of my predecessors as a Fellow of Magdalen, I am a two-bottle man.’

    By Richard Sharp (10/11/2022)
  • Thank you so much for sharing this memory. There is a striking parallel with the night of 24th May 1738 when John Wesley, whom John Walsh so admired, went ‘very reluctantly’ to a meeting in Aldersgate Street. On both occasions, one might say, the rest is history!

    By Alison Butler (02/11/2020)
  • How delightful to hear John Walsh talking so incisively and eloquently. He told me several years ago at a Jesus College lunch about the dark-and-stormy-night when Lewis interrupted him while working in his College room. Lewis insisted that Walsh drop what he was doing and go with him to the Eagle and Child to meet with “a few chaps” to talk about their writing. Lewis pulled up Walsh by his collar and marched him out to what became The Inklings.

    By Dr. Nancy Macky, widow of Peter W. Macky, of Jesus College; founder of the Peter W. Macky Hardship Fund at Jesus College as a memorial. (31/10/2020)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published.