Rebuilding the Town

John Wesley and fire insurance


John Wesley passed through Crediton in April 1744. His journal entry reads:

“Wed 18th. Before eight we reached Crediton (or Kirton) or rather the ruins of it; for the houses on both sides were all in ashes, for several hundred yards. Lighting on a serious woman I asked ‘Are the people of this place now warned to seek God?’ The woman answered ‘Although some of them perished in the flames, the rest are just as they were before - cursing, swearing, drinking, playing, and making merry without God in all their thoughts.’ She added ‘No longer ago than Thursday last, the men who were rebuilding one of the houses were bitterly cursing and swearing one at another, and two of them above the rest, when an arch they were fell and crushed those two with all their bones in pieces.’ Will ye not at length fear the rod and Him that appointed it?”


The Sun Fire Insurance Policies quoted on this display panel are from the series kept at the London Metropolitan Archives. Robert Francis’s policy is 70. 100787 (November 1744). The policy on Shilston's Tenement (John Terry, Gent and Elizabeth Huxter) is ref. 73. 101509, February 1745 NS). John Terry was the mortgagee.

CAHMS is developing an index to Sun Fire Insurance policies relating to Crediton for the period 1739 – 1745. Check our website ( for further details.