Charles Wesley (18 December 1707 – 29 March 1788) was an English leader of the Methodist movement, most widely known for writing the words for over 6,500 hymns. His works include "And Can It Be", "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today", the carol "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing", and "Lo! He Comes With Clouds Descending".
Charles Wesley was born in Epworth, Lincolnshire, the son of Anglican cleric and poet Samuel Wesley and his wife Susanna. He was a younger brother of Methodist founder John Wesley and Anglican cleric Samuel Wesley the Younger, and he became the father of musician Samuel Wesley and grandfather of musician Samuel Sebastian Wesley.
He was educated at Oxford University, where his brothers had also studied, and he formed the "Holy Club" among his fellow students in 1729. John Wesley later joined this group, as did George Whitefield. Charles followed his father and brother into the church in 1735, and he travelled with John to Georgia in America, returning a year later. Following their evangelical conversions in 1738, the Wesley brothers travelled throughout Britain, converting followers to the Methodist revival through preaching and hymn-singing. In 1749, he married Sarah Gwynne, daughter of a Welsh gentleman who had been converted to Methodism by Howell Harris. From 1756 his ministry became more static and he ministered in Bristol, and later London.
Despite their closeness, Charles and John did not always agree on questions relating to their beliefs. In particular, Charles was strongly opposed to the idea of a breach with the Church of England into which they had been ordained.