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Collection 150 Papers of John Cennick

Identifier: CN 150

Scope and Contents

Microfilm of bound manuscript in which John Cennick recounts his missionary efforts for the Moravian church in Wiltshire, England, Dublin, and Northern Ireland. Information on John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield. On the same reel are shorter accounts of Moravian missions in Labrador in the 1770's, Persia in the 1740's, and the West Indies.



  • Created: 1740-1751

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions stated on the microfilm.

Biographical Information

John Cennick was born December 12, 1718, in Reading, Berkshire, England. Although his parents were of Quaker background, he was reared in the Church of England. As a young man, he came under the influence of John Wesley and gave up a career as a surveyor to join the Methodist movement. Wesley appointed him a teacher at Kingswood School, Bristol, and it was in Kingswood that he preached his first public sermon on June 14, 1739, at the age of twenty. Because of doctrinal differences, he left the Wesleys and aligned himself with George Whitefield, but later still joined the Moravian Brethren and was ordained by them in 1749.

For the decade prior to his ordination, Cennick worked as a lay preacher, traveling constantly. He is remembered not so much as a missionary, but as a hymn-writer, author of works such as "Lo He Comes With Clouds Descending" and "Children of the Heavenly King."

Cennick married in about 1747, and left descendants when he died in London, July 4, 1755. He was buried in the Moravian Cemetery, Chelsea.


1 Reel of microfilm

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

lthough the title of this collection is the Memoirs of John Cennick, the microfilm also contains three other manuscripts from early Moravian church work: these concern the founding of the Labrador mission, 1771-1772; a missionary account of an Atlantic voyage, undated; and journals about Persian missions, 1748-1749. Cennick's memoirs, however, comprise the major bulk of the material.

The memoirs are in bound manuscript form, and appear to have been copied into the book from an earlier draft. The handwriting is that of Cennick's. There are three chapters: 1. "Memorable Passages relating to the Awakening in Wilts[hire] wch. began in ye Year 1740," 2. "An account of ye most remarkable passages relating to the awakening in Dublin in Ireland from the Begining till the Settling of ye Congregation," and 3. "The most remarkable Things wch happen'd from the time of the Awakening in ye North of Ireland." Cennick recounts the history of these three missionary efforts, giving great detail to religious discussions, controversies, persecutions, etc. He also follows the progress of the work with accounts of salvation and the state of the Church. On several occasions he refers to his sisters Anne and Sally who were apparently church leaders. He seldom mentions his wife.

The other sections of manuscripts contained on this film are briefly described below.

I. "Account from the Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel, Containing the Diary from the little congregation at Nain in Esquinary [?] Bay on the coast of Labrador from Sept 25th 1771 to the end of October 1772."

When one Brother Hill sailed from London in 1772 with provisions for the mission colony, numbering fourteen inhabitants, he brought back with him the journal kept by the congregation concerning their missionary efforts among the Eskimos. This 84-page item is a copy of that original journal, recounting the history of the mission from its founding.

II. "Journey Across the Atlantic ca. 18th Century"

Undated, unsigned journal of 8 pages, with cover page missing, describing a missionary voyage across the Atlantic and among some West Indian islands. It is stamped on the back, "Bristol Moravian Church Archives." The archives put its date between 1551 and 1770, but the style of handwriting indicates a date of late 17th century or later.

III. "Brother Hocker's Diary from Ispahan and his Journey Back to Livorno from 28 March 1748 to April 9th 17489."

42 pages, apparently a copy of original diary. Persian mission.

"Bro. Hocker E. Ruffers Diary of their Journey to Ispahan."

32 pages, covering August 24 to March 20 of the following year, no year given.

Accruals and Additions

The microfilm in this collection was purchased by the Billy Graham Center Archives. Original manuscripts are in the possession of the Moravian Church Archives, Bristol. Microfilm was prepared by Micro Methods, Ltd., East Ardsley, Wakefield, Workshire, England.

No Accession #

September 24, 1982

Galen R. Wilson

Collection 150 Papers of John Cennick
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Roman Script

Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US