Mow Cop is the place where Methodism underwent a kind of spiritual revival. A group of Methodists at Harisseahead, influenced by camp meetings in America, decided to hold a gathering on Mow Cop on 31st May 1807. This is the account of William Clowes, one of the key instigators of the revival:
‘The morning was unfavourable; it was rainy. Nevertheless I resolved to proceed to the place; and on my arrival at the hill, about six o’clock, I found a small group of people assembled under a wall, singing. I immediately joined them, and several of us engaged in praying services, one Peter Bradburn preached a sermon, and an individual from Macclesfield followed with another. The people now began to be strongly affected, and we commenced another praying service. During the progress of these labours the people kept in large numbers, but as they came from various places, many were at a loss to know to what part of the hill they should make. At last a person of the name Taylor, from Tunstall, suggested that a flag, or something of the kind, should be hoisted, as a guide to the coming multitudes, directing them to the place where the religious services were going on. Accordingly a Mr Edward Anderson, from Kilham, in Yorkshire, unfurled something like a flag on a pole in a conspicuous and elevated position, which became the centre of attraction.’
(taken from The History of the Primitive Methodist Connexion by John Petty)
According to Joseph Ritson Captain Edward Anderson, who raised the flag, had led a pretty dramatic life, in fact he told his story on Mow Cop on the 31st May 1807:
‘He had been a shepherd-lad, a sailor, a rhymester, a Methodist, an antislavery advocate and a temperance reformer. He had been shipwrecked, captured by French privateers and in the hands of the press-gang; but in Liverpool he had been arrested and soundly converted at a Methodist meeting, and was now among the foremost in promoting weal of his fellows’
(taken from The Romance of Primitive Methodism by Joseph Ritson)
If you’ve passed the community centre recently you might have seen our flag outside. Originally we bought it so that people would know someone from immerse is in the building, but since discovering Captain Anderson’s flag it has taken on a new significance. The flag, just like Anderson’s, is a symbol, a sign, to tell those who are looking where to come. It announces to all who pass by that here is a group of Christians who are passionate about their faith and deeply committed to Kidsgrove.
So in memory of Captain Anderson – we raise our flag!