He was the third son of Sir Herbert Westley of Westleigh, Devon, by his wife Elizabeth de Wellesley of Dangan, County Meath. He studied medicine and theology at Oxford. He lived for some time at Bridport and is known to have preached in the town's western suburb of Allington. (The pulpit which he used there is still preserved in the Wesleyan school-room at Bridport.)
He held the sequestered rectories of Charmouth (from 1640) and Catherston (from 1650), in Dorset, from both of which he was ejected in 1662. He continued to preach as a Nonconformist. He lived in Charmouth for some time where he practiced medicine and continued preaching in the West Dorset area. He was eventually forced to leave Charmouth by the Five Mile Act. He was dubbed a fanatic and a "puny parson," because of his small stature. The last years of his life were spent in seclusion at Lyme Regis where at about the age of eighty-five he died and was buried there on 15 February 1680.
Reverend Bartholomew Westley (or Wesley) was visited by his friend, Magistrate George Andrews, who informed Westley that he was to be taken into custody and taken to the Old Bailey by the order of King Charles I for plotting a schism that had yet to happen. Westley was taken aback by this, and was additionally astonished to learn of his historical son John, who was also to be taken into custody even though he hadn't been born yet. Andrews recommended that Bartholomew and his wife Anne flee to Amsterdam.
The couple inadvertently arrived shortly before the city's siege by Spanish forces had begun. Being an experienced physician, Westley volunteered to meet the city's demand for doctors. When occupied with dysentery, Westley came to blows with a captain over the proper construction of latrines. He also became aware of Anne Jefferson, an up-time registered nurse who had established herself as a physician in Amsterdam. Westley was not pleased to see a woman practicing medicine, and did not consider instructing men to be a woman's place. However, that did not stop him from admitting, however grudgingly, that she knew her business. Once the siege had eased enough to allow people to pass through the lines, Westley focused on learning why he was to have been arrested, and decided to seek his answers in Grantville.
Westley came to Grantville's public library and learned of himself and his descendants. On the next Sunday, Westley decided to preach from a street corner. Before doing this, he and his wife made a small detour to Grantville's Methodist church, where he walked in front of a congregation hosted by Reverend Mary Ellen Jones and introduced himself. He further announced "that no Wesley of my family, not me, not my yet unborn son John, nor his yet unborn son Samuel, nor his yet unborn sons, John and Charles, would ever countenance the ordination of a woman to preach the gospel." He informed his stunned audience that they could hear his sermons "delivered by a true Wesley", and took his leave. Despite Westley's disparaging remarks about women preachers, Mary Ellen Jones was nonetheless interested in hearing sermons from an actual Westley.
- ↑ "Loose Canon" does not clearly state whether or not they ever actually met.