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William Edwin Orchard
by Alphaeus Philemon Coleoil on canvas, 194140 in. x 30 in. (1016 mm x 762 mm)Given by Alphaeus Philemon Cole, 1965NPG 4466
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14 April 2016, 15:36
In the mid 1700's John Wesley travelled to Cornwall and was set upon at the town bridge by the local yobs who threw stones at him and stole his money. He was rescued and taken home to his farm by my G.G.G.G.G Grandfather James Lelean and his wife Mary (nee Robbins). Mary nursed him and took care of his cuts and bruises for a few days. John Wesley preached to a congregation in their barn and also at the Gwennap Amphitheatre. He also baptised Mary and she was the first Mevagissey Methodist, which Wesley noted in his diary. On leaving his benefactors Wesley said he had no money to pay them but gave them the Silver buckles from his shoes which the family held for the next 200 years. William Edwin Orchard married a widow by the surname of Hewitt who was descended from the LELEAN family of Mevagissey in Cornwall, and when he heard the story of the buckles he asked if he could have them to wear. One buckle had gone to Canada with Mrs Hewitt's sister but she gladly returned it for so worthy a gentleman. Mrs Hewitt had a son by her first marriage who also went into the Church and was therefore William Orchard's stepson. I understand that in his will William Orchard bequeathed the buckles to his stepson and he (The Stepson) held them until 1956 when he personally returned them to the Methodist church at their conference in either Harrogate or Scarborough. The buckles are now in the Methodist museum in City Road, London. Verification can be made by a booklet written by Lilian Lelean Scholes and is available from the Museum. The stepson's name was Lelean McNeill Hewitt.
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