1707 - 1783
Charles Wesley was born at Epworth in December 1707, the third surviving son of Samuel and Susannah. He was educated at Westminster School, where he brother Samuel was working as a school master.
Charles went up to Christ Church, Oxford in 1726 and with William Morgan formed what became known as the ‘Holy Club’ in 1729. Charles followed his father and brothers into the church and was ordained at Christ Church.
He travelled with John to Georgia in America in 1735 but returned a year later. In spring of 1738 he had a profound experience of personal salvation a few weeks before his brother, John.
Charles is most widely known for his prolific and popular hymn writing. It is thought that he wrote at least 5000 hymns. Their combination of Arminian conviction, poetic richness and deep spiritually helped forge a Methodist identity but also became loved and adopted by Christians of many kinds.
In 1749, Charles married Sarah Gwynne. She was the daughter of a Welsh gentleman who had been converted to Methodism by Howell Harris. Charles and Sarah had seven children including the musician Samuel Wesley who was in turn the father of cathedral organist and composer Samuel Sebastian Wesley.
The Bristol home of Charles and Sarah Wesley can be visited by arrangement with the New Room Bristol.
Despite their closeness, Charles and John did not agree about everything. Charles was particularly keen to avoid a separation from the Church of England. He died in 1783.