Dr Peter Forsaith

Research Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History

School of Education, Humanities and Languages


Dr. Peter Forsaith is Research Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History, Oxford Brookes University, which holds a series of Methodist-related collections. He is a historian of society, religion and culture in eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Britain and has lectured in Britain and the U.S.A.. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.


Peter is an historian of religion, culture and society in 18th century Britain, focusing upon the social impact of the evangelical revival; and the links between art and religion. His books include:

  • Image, identity and John Wesley; a study in portraiture (Abingdon: Routledge, 2018)
  • ‘Unexampled labours’: Letters of the Revd John Fletcher to leaders in the Evangelical Revival. (Peterborough:The Epworth Press, 2008).

Centres and institutes



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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

Peter is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, member of the Society of Archivists and serves on various Methodist history-related bodies, including:

  • Methodist Church Listed Buildings Advisory Committee
  • Charles Wesley Society (British secretary and Executive member).


Recent conference papers (unpublished)

  • British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Oxford, January 2012, People and preachers in the landscape: Methodist 'field preaching' and its depiction.
  • Duke University, NC Wesley summer seminar June 2011, and Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History annual colloquium, A sense of self: portraits and evangelical identity.
  • Wesley Historical Society triennial conference, May 2011 (main speaker), Telling the world: the life-stories of Methodism.
  • Methodist Missionary History Society, 24-25 November 2010, John Fletcher and the American Revolution.
  • British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Oxford, January 2008: Portraits of John Wesley: an evangelical image.
  • Methodist Identities conference, Wesley House, Cambridge, August 2007 (main speaker), Thy Nature and thy Name is 'Methodist': a disquisition into the place of Charles Wesley in the evolution of early Methodist identity;
  • Oxford Institute for Methodist Studies, August 2007 (Eighteenth century early Methodist history working group): 'Moorfields, mollies and Methodists' The co-incidence of two divergent subcultures in eighteenth-century England (an exploration of links between between 'gay' subcultures in eighteenth century England and the emerging Methodist movement).
  • University of Bristol, 'Music, Cultural History and the Wesleys'; July 2007: 'The curious incident of Susanna Wesley's rosebud lips'.


  • Hark, the Herald-angels sing (Charles Wesley) [advisory co-curator], The Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, 2007-2008.
  • The Colour of Love (exhibition of the Methodist Church Collection of Modern Christian Art) St Michael's and Wesley Memorial churches, Oxford, April-June 2007.
  • Sacred Harmony, the Musical Wesley Family, [consultant adviser for images]Bridwell Library, Dallas; 2007.

Peter has researched areas of Methodist-related history over more than 25 years and lectured in Britain and the USA.

Further details

PhD 'The correspondence of the Revd. John W. Fletcher: letters to the Revd. Charles Wesley' (Oxford Brookes University, 2003).

Peter has had a diverse career, originally in catering and working mostly in social/caring settings, before joining Westminster College, Oxford in 1995 to run a 'widening participation' project working with black and Asian groups.

Other interests and hobbies include antiques (silver and furniture); cooking; motorcycling; reading; swimming.