The region in which Francis Asbury grew up is known as the Chicago of the West-Midlands of England. This rugged region which incorporates the town of West Bromwich was at one time the ironworking capital of England. This region is known as the Black Country. A great reference for the history of West Bromwich is the book by Frederick William Hackwood, A History of West Bromwich. The book is a series of essays written for the B’ham (Birmingham) News and Printing Co, Ltd.
By the end of 18th-century, the iron working industry of the Black Country was populated by numerous family-run forges. West Bromwich found itself right in the middle of this productive region known by its rich supply of coal- the fuel which powered this infant beginning of England’s industrial revolution. However, unlike the numerous small forges run by a husband, wife and their children, one large iron working facility existed. This facility was known as the Old Mill Forge. At the age of thirteen, Francis Asbury began his apprenticeship at the large ironworking community. This facility was also a working farm, supplying food and livestock to a local Lord. So comprehensive was this working environment, that there also existed a place of worship. In this informal church, Francis Asbury was introduced to early Methodism, the evangelical movement started by John Wesley.