Thomas Coke:- 1747 – 1814

Yesterday I went to the Gathering at Brecon Cathedral being held in memory of Thomas Coke who died  200 years ago  on May 3rd 1814.

He had set off, with six young colleagues, on a new mission to south-east Asia, dying en route and was buried at sea.

Those present were welcomed by the Dean of Brecon Cathedral, the Very Revd Geoffrey Marshall.

The main speaker this afternoon was the Reverend the Lord Leslie Griffiths of Burry Port. He gave us an inspirational talk entitled: ‘Thomas Coke: Looking Back, Looking Forward’

Lord Leslie Griffiths of Burry Port

Lord Leslie Griffiths of Burry Port

I managed to have a few words with Lord Griffiths after the service and shared with him that I recently came across an article which he had written for the May 1985 issue of the ‘Epworth Review’ about Basil Willey.

I also mentioned to him that I had once lived in Burry Port (many years ago before the new marina had been built).

Before Lord Griffiths spoke, our Superintendent of the Gwent Hills and Vales Methodist Circuit, Rev Cathy Gale, talked about Coke’s Mission to the West Indies.

The Benediction was given by Bishop Thomas Bickerton of the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church.


Coke was born in Brecon, the son of a medical practitioner. He was educated at Brecon Grammar School and Jesus College, Oxford, and was elected mayor of Brecon shortly after graduating in 1768.

Coke took Holy Orders in August 1772 but was ejected from his curacy in Somerset for trying to run the parish on Methodist principles. He moved to London and placed himself under the direction of John Wesley, swiftly reaching a position of prominence.

Coke has been described as being “in some respects the most important of John Wesley’s recruits to Methodism from the ranks of the Anglican clergy. He was certainly the most dedicated of Wesley’s clerical supporters.

His greatest achievement was in the field of foreign missions. He made a total of eighteen trans-atlantic trips, and is regarded as one of the founders of the Methodist Church in the United States and West Indies.

Coke also made repeated visits to Ireland and the Continent of Europe, and served as President of the British Conference in 1797 and 1805.

In December 1813 Coke set sail from England to establish a mission in India but died at sea on 3 May 1814.


Thomas Coke 1747-1814

Thomas Coke 1747-1814



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