Plans to restore book are moving forward

The Rev Dr Claire Potter mans a stall at the Family History Fair hosted by Doncaster and District Family History Society at Doncaster College for the Deaf. Picture: Malcolm Billingham E0186MB
The Rev Dr Claire Potter mans a stall at the Family History Fair hosted by Doncaster and District Family History Society at Doncaster College for the Deaf. Picture: Malcolm Billingham E0186MB

HALF of the total needed to restore an ancient book at Epworth’s Old Rectory has now been reached.

Reverend Dr Claire Potter is curator at the historic site which is hoping to restore the 1,000 page ‘Contemplations On The History Of The New Testament’.

Original estimates to carry out the work have rocketed from £1,000 to £6,600 but a milestone has been reached with £300 raised through donations and another £3,000 grant boosting the campaign.

Rev Potter said: “The book has 1,000 pages and it was thought that if we could get people to sponsor a page each at £1 a time, we’d have the restoration fee covered.

“However the cost of repair is way beyond the coffers of the Old Rectory. It has survived for nearly 350 years and we are appealing to people to help it survive for another 350 years.”

The Old Rectory is world famous as the boyhood home of John and Charles Wesley, founders of a movement which went on to become the Methodist Church.

And the book in question is significant as it carries the signatures of Charles, his wife Sarah and two of their children – also called Charles and Sarah.

“There is another signature in the book but that has been crossed out,” added Rev Potter.

“It is that of a John Jones, who was an early and loyal associate of John Wesley.

“We can reasonably assume the book was given to Charles by John Jones.”

It is hoped more money can be raised via grant applications but people are still welcome to bring donations to the site.

Alternatively post cheques - payable to Epworth Old Rectory - to Epworth Old Rectory, 1 Rectory Street, Epworth, DN9 1HX.

Anyone making a donation is asked to include their name and address so this information can be included in the records book.