As an active member of the Wesley History Society I take a great interest in the works of both John and Charles Wesley.
I also am the Publicity Officer for the Methodist Philatelic Society and I have a large collection of Methodistic stamp covers going back to 1970 (the year when the Methodist Philatelic Society first came into being).
The Rev Charles Wesley (1707-1788) and Miss Sarah (Sally) Gwynne (1726-1822) were married at Llanlleconfel Church, Breconshire, South Wales (in the UK) on 8th April 1749.
In August 1748, Charles became friends with Marmaduke Gwynne of Garth, Breconshire and he was especially attracted towards one of Marmaduke’s nine children, his daughter, Sarah.
His first introduction to Marmaduke, a wealthy magistrate and early Methodist patron had been on July 31st 1745, when he and his brother John Wesley accompanied Marmaduke to examine the Bristol Society. And during the following five days in Bristol the three of them, together with others, held the second Methodist Conference.
Charles’s friendship with Sally quickly ripened into romance, hampered only by his unsettled life and lack of a guaranteed income. The problem with having no regular income was overcome when his brother John guaranteed him an income of £100 per year from the publication of Charles’s hymns.
Sally and Charles were married by John Wesley in Llanllconfel Church on April 8th 1749. John Wesley, in his journal, tersely writes, “I married my brother and Sally Gwynne. It was a solemn day, such as became the dignity of a Christian marriage.”
Charles, in his journal, writes more fully about his marriage. How he was up at four and, with John and Sally, spent three and a half hours in prayer before going to the church at eight.
Charles writes, “Mr Gwynne gave Sally to me (under God). My brother joined our hands. It was a most solemn season of love! Never had I more of the Divine presence at the sacrament. John prayed over us in strong faith. We walked back to the house, and joined again in prayer.”
Though it did not put an end to his itinerant life, marriage proved to be a source of great strength and comfort to Charles. He poured out his ardent devotion to Sally in a series of poems, some of which were later adapted for more public use.
One such still in use is the hymn, “Thou God of Truth and Love”, with its lines, “Didst Thou not make us one That might one remain.”
Soon after their marriage, Charles and Sally made their home in Bristol for the next twenty-one years until they moved to London in 1771.
They had eight children, of whom five died in infancy. The three who did survive were all very gifted. Their daughter Sally had wit and some literary talent, while her brothers Charles and Samuel were among the most eminent musicians of their day. And Samuel’s son, Samuel Sebastian Wesley, became an even more gifted musician.
Have a blessed Saturday