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John Nelson was the pioneer of Yorkshire Methodism. While working as an ornamental stonemason in London he heard John Wesley preaching in the open air at Moorfields. He was soon converted and a year later returned to Yorkshire where he assisted Benjamin Ingham.
He then accompanied John Wesley on a preaching tour of Cornwall. Thereafter he became an intrepid evangelist, sometimes in the face of fierce persecution, throughout the north of England and then the Midlands.
John Nelson was a noteworthy revivalist, arguably as powerful as John Wesley. A contemporary said of him, 'He was an extraordinary man for tenderness of conscience, watchfulness over his words, and especially for self-denial and rigid temperance. He made it a rule to rise out of bed at twelve o'clock, and sit up till two, for prayer and converse with God; then he slept till four, at which time he always rose. Many of his friends at Leeds observed him to be more lively, both in preaching and conversation, a few days before his death, than ever.'
His story is of a man who obeyed the call of God despite intense opposition and who became one of the most successful and tireless of Wesley's evangelists.