Tabernacle at Moorfields

Geographic position

51.5272° N, 0.0900° W


Fundraising Tour of Great Britain, Occom’s inoculation


Richardson, Leon Burr. An Indian Preacher in England. Hanover: Dartmouth College Publications, 1933. Web.; Thornbury, Walter. "Moorfields and Finsbury." Old and New London: Volume 2. London: Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1878. 196-208. British History Online. Web.; Wesley, John. "On the Death of the Rev. Mr. George Whitefield." Moorfields Tabernacle, London. 18 Nov 1770. United Methodist Church. Web. /; "Whitefield, George." The Oxford Companion to American Literature. 6th ed. Ed. James Hart and Philip Leininger. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1995. Web.; Geo coordinates at

General note

The Tabernacle at Moorfields was George Whitefield’s first London church, built in 1741, two years after his return from North America. When touring abroad, Whitefield preached to crowds too large for any existing church, so he held outdoor revivals. This practice, combined with his zealous preaching style, spurred the First Great Awakening. Upon returning to London, the Anglican-ordained Whitefield found most church doors closed to him because his methods and theology had become controversial with the Church of England. As a result, Whitefield began delivering outdoor sermons in London, preaching in Moorfields, one of the city’s last open spaces. At the same time, John Wesley, who converted Whitefield to Methodism during their time at Oxford, opened the Moorfields Foundry, where he also preached to large crowds. After preaching in America, however, Whitefield moved closer to Calvinism, which deviated from Wesleyan doctrine. Although he occasionally preached at the Foundry and avoided a public break with John Wesley and his brother Charles, Whitefield found it necessary to build his own church in 1741. The first building was a temporary wooden structure, named for the tabernacle the Israelites built and carried through the wilderness. In 1753, this makeshift structure was replaced by a brick one that could hold up to 4,000 people, and was the spectacular setting for Occom’s first sermon in England, in February of 1766, as well as the site of his smallpox inoculation that March. Occom preached several more times to huge crowds accommodated by the Tabernacle. Robert Keen and Daniel West, who managed the Tabernacle for many years, took its helm upon Whitefield’s death in 1770. The Tabernacle was replaced by a smaller stone structure in 1868, which no longer stands. Today, London’s Tabernacle Street runs by the former site of Whitefield’s Moorfield church.