Benjamin Ingham


‘The spirit of the lord was poured upon him in a particular manner and then and there he was commissioned of god to be a preacher of the gospel and was anointed of the spirit for the work.’

This independent young man of the cloth studied alongside the Wesleys at Oxford, but took his own path and founded the Inghamite Brotherhood. Preached the first sermon in a church of his own denomination on Christmas Day 1750. Inghamite churches proliferated for a while, but this first Inghamite church to be built is now the last to survive.

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Born in Ossett in the West Riding of Yorkshire, Benjamin Ingham studied at Oxford as a contemporary of the Wesleys and was a member of the Holy Club with them. By the age of 23 he had earned his degree and was ordained.

On a colonial visit to America where he learnt from German missionaries, Ingham developed an interest in the Moravian church. To find out more, he travelled to Germany and experienced greater exposure to the Moravian faith. Ingham returned to Yorkshire to preach for the next four years. However, during this time he found himself with too many societies to manage and so placed them under Moravian control in 1742.

The Moravians were recognised in 1749 by the Crown and formed the Moravian Church of England, but Ingham started to distance himself from the denomination as he found that his views began to differ from those of the Oxford Methodists.

This led to Benjamin Ingham establishing his own society, the Inghamites. Over time a large number of Inghamite churches were built around the country but today only one remains….

For Pendle Radicals

The first, and now the last surviving, Inghamite Church, in Wheatley Lane, is featured as one of the special places of historic interest on the Radicals Trail here.

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Ingham’s influence briefly proliferated around this area, and chapels were established in Colne, Winewall, Salterforth and Gisburn. All have now disappeared or been repurposed, but on Cotton Tree Lane, Colne, a fragment of inscribed stone wall attests to the previous existence of an Inghamite School.