From [Elizabeth Mortimer] to [Mary] Fletcher in Madeley. [The first page of this letter has been removed].
Spiritual matters are discussed.
Mortimer is pleased that [Mary] Tooth’s riding agrees so well with her – it has the twin benefits of helping her to stay healthy and also allows her to ‘see the people at a distance.’ How is Fletcher’s own health?
Most of their friends are now dead. Mrs [Isabella?] Mather and Mrs [Penelope Goulding] Coke have both passed away – poor [Thomas] Coke is apparently inconsolable, yet he says that he feels full resignation to the divine will. Mortimer hears that Coke, who attended his wife in her final illness at York, has said that Penelope had suffered from dropsy for many years. If they had known that when they married, they would not have ‘commenced partners’ on such a wide itinerant ministry.
Mortimer’s family is well except for her husband [Harvey Walklate Mortimer] who is suffering from a shortness of breath and she supposes that will persist through the winter.
- Isabella Mather (fl.1800) was the wife (probably the second wife) of the prominent Wesleyan minister Alexander Mather. Her maiden name was Kendrick. She was orphaned at an early age and was raised by her uncle who was an Anglican clergyman. Educated at a boarding school in Highgate, London, she was abandoned by her uncle after a disagreement and worked for several years as a lady's maid in Yorkshire. While recovering in Wakefield in 1788 from an injury, she was converted by the preaching of Alexander Mather and the two subsequently married on 1 December 1790 at Ferry Fryston in Yorkshire. The couple had at least one child a son named William Marriott Mather, who died aged nine in 1802. After her husband’s death, Mrs Mather moved to Leeds where she was a member of the circle that included Sarah Crosby. Source: MAM/FL/2/5A/14 (MARC), International Genealogical Index and George John Stevenson, City Road Chapel, London, and its Associations, Historical, Biographical, and Memorial (1872), 161.
- Penelope Goulding Coke (1762-1811) was born at Bradford in Wiltshire, the daughter of an attorney Joseph Smith. Her father in addition to his normal legal duties, acted as estate steward to the Duchess of Kingston and latterly, Earl Manvers. Penelope was educated at a foreign boarding school but had to be removed on the grounds of the weak health which plagued her for much of her life. Raised in the Church of England, she was converted as a young woman through the influence of her uncle Mr Gwyer, a Methodist local preacher from Bristol. She started to attend Methodist worship in Bradford, despite the mild opposition of her father, and henceforth lived a life of seclusion, reading and meditation on spiritual matters. This retirement from public life deepened when her father was struck with paralysis and was nursed by his daughter during the last five years of his life. Penelope was also a keen visitor of the sick and distressed in the neighbourhood, and was a keen distributor of pious tracts. In 1805 she married the prominent Methodist minister Dr Thomas Coke. Almost immediately after their marriage, the couple embarked on an itinerant lifestyle devoted to carrying out God's work. Their extensive travels included visits to Ireland. Penelope's health progressively weakened and she died on 25 January 1811. Source: Arminian Magazine 1812, pp.120-134, 211-225.