A MONMOUTHSHIRE village will mark the first sermon preached in Wales by the founder of Methodism, John Wesley, at a ceremony next week.

Wesley addressed a 400-strong gathering in Devauden, near Chepstow in the autumn of 1739. Villagers will commemorate the occasion by unveiling a bust of the preacher at a special ceremony.

The official unveiling of the bust by Rev Linn Healy, the deputy chairwoman of the Methodist Church’s Wales Synod, will feature a sermon from historic re-enactor Mark Topping, followed by a reading from Wesley’s diary for October 15, 1739.

Pupils from Shirenewton Primary School will attend the ceremony dressed in the costume of that era.

The bronze resin bust will be placed on the green outside Devauden's Hood Memorial Hall, together with an interpretation panel and audio commentary. The initiative has been funded by the Rural Development Plan for Wales, in partnership with Monmouthshire County Council and the Village Alive Trust.

John Rowlands of the Hood Memorial Hall committee said: " This is the culmination of over two years effort and it is extremely satisfying to see this historic occasion of John Wesley's first sermon in Wales commemorated in such a tremendous way"

Monmouthshire's cabinet member for tourism, County Councillor Bob Greenland added: "Wesley's legacy has had a huge influence on life in Wales and it is fitting that we commemorate such an historic event today in the village where he first made his mark in the country."

The ceremony will be held at 3.30pm on October 15.