Gideon Ouseley

(1762—1839) Methodist preacher

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(1762–1839), the most important Methodist itinerant preacher in the generation after John Wesley's death in 1791. The son of a freethinking, anticlerical father of minor gentry status and a pious mother, Ouseley was born in Co. Galway and experienced an emotional religious conversion under the preaching of Methodist soldiers in 1791. His ambition was to preach to every human settlement in Ireland in the language of its people, in pursuit of which he travelled several thousand miles a year and preached twelve to fifteen times a week. Ouseley's suspicion of ecclesiastical institutions and their clergy scarcely endeared him either to the ministerial elite within Irish Methodism or to other denominations. His chief quarrel, however, was with the clergy of the Roman Catholic church with whom he carried out a vigorous pamphlet war until his death in 1839. Ouseley's anti-Catholicism pre-dated his evan-gelical conversion, was part of a more general anticlericalism, and was rooted in a professed concern for the condition of the Irish rural poor. His most significant contribution to Irish society, however, was as an indefatigable missionary evangelist who found himself at the centre of remarkable religious revivals in south and west Ulster in the aftermath of the insurrection of 1798.

From The Oxford Companion to Irish History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: European History.

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