Topping makes his Mark with show on Wesley

Mark Topping as John Wesley
Mark Topping as John Wesley

253 years since his one and only visit to Matlock Bath, the legendary travelling preacher, John Wesley is coming back to the Derbyshire Dales.

An Evening with John Wesley is being staged at Dale Road Methodist Church, Darley Dale, on Saturday, May 24.

Actor Mark Topping (pictured) has been touring the country as the charismatic clergyman for eight years, performing in more than 150 churches and theatres.

The drama looks at Wesley’s adventurous life – including his confrontations with the drunken mobs which were frequently stirred up to disrupt his preaching.

“Wesley is a fascinating character who had an extraordinary life,” said Mark Topping.

“He had a profound effect on people’s faith and how they lived their lives.

“He influenced the culture of the whole country.

“In the play I use his journal and letters and sermons to recount some of the key moments of his life.”

He came to Matlock Bath just once. After his visit in July 1761, he wrote: “At six I preached standing under the hollow of a rock, on one side of a small plain, on the other side of which was a tall mountain.

“There were many well-dressed hearers, this being the high season, and all of them behaved well!”

An Evening with John Wesley starts at 7pm.

May 24 is known by Methodists as Wesley Day, the anniversary of what is considered his own conversion in 1738.

Tickets at £4 each are available from Jennie Binks on (01629) 822682 or Ruth Beresford on (01773) 743345 and Brenda Clarke (01773) 763036.

n Mark Topping is pictured as John Wesley