Early History & Timeline

Listen to our history in five minutes

Produced in 2015 by Cassius Francis and Lydia Decourcy for the European Wesleyan Conference at Ashburnham. The short film includes interviews and contributions from each of the local churches around England to provide some historical and contemporary context to those visiting the conference.

  • $1900s - The Wesleyan Holiness Church in Britain has a unique place in this history. In the early 1900s Pilgrim Holiness missions began in the Caribbean and the work flourished.
  • $1948 - In 1948 the Empire Windrush arrived in Tilbury bringing the first wave of post war immigrants from the Caribbean to Britain. However, many of these immigrants who had previously been church-going folk soon stopped attending church altogether.
  • $1958 - In 1958 Dennis Sampson started the Pilgrim Holiness Mission in Birmingham, specifically to work in these new immigrant communities which had lapsed from British churches. This work grew rapidly and soon churches were established among West Indian immigrant communities in Britain's major industrial cities.
  • $1961 - In 1961 the Pilgrim Holiness Mission approached the General Assembly of the Pilgrim Holiness Church seeking incorporation into the denomination as the British Isles District. This was granted in 1962.
  • $1968 - In 1968 following the merger of the Pilgrim Holiness Church with the Wesleyan Methodist Church of America, the church in the British Isles became known as the Wesleyan Holiness Church.