From [Saham Toney]. They [Sarah Boyce and Gregson] would be very pleased if Tooth and any of their Madeley friends, could visit them this Summer. They have no plans to be away from home for any length of time and could therefore receive them at any time convenient to Tooth. Has the Lord seen fit to lengthen [Rosamund] Tooth's stay on this earth? or is her suffering over and her soul with the Lord?
Boyce has been extremely ill for a very long time this Spring. She had felt better and had therefore preached, only to come down with a cold which kept her confined upstairs for three weeks. She is however much better now but has not yet ventured to chapel.
Upon the whole, the work in this circuit is proceeding well. They have two very good preachers who are doing all in their power [the preachers stationed in the Thetford Circuit, of which Saham Toney was a part, were John Willis, Charles Haydon and Peter Horton], but some of the local preachers 'have fallen and injured the cause'. Likewise, the ranters [Primitive Methodists] have been active in the area. Gregson had heard such strange things concerning them, that she would like to go and see and hear them for herself. What is Tooth's opinion of them?
'I am told they often fall down, go off and return to life, shouting "Glory to God" and are [unreadable word] happy'. Is this a true work [of God] or a delusion? If it is the former, Gregson hopes to experience it, and if the latter, to stay away from it. Spiritual matters are discussed.
'The times are truly awful and ought to stir us up to great diligence. I have just been looking into John Wesley's Notes upon the New Testament, and find by it the year 1832, fixed upon as the time, that the Beast ascends out of the bottomless pit - and the year 36 for its final overthrow. What a sea of trouble lays before us…'
Thank the Lord, that Gregson has been able to go out on most Sundays and speak once to the people. She seldom attempts more as undue exertion brings on her old complaint. She is not as subject to it as formerly. In other regards, she is as healthy as she can expect at her time of life.
She has lately purchased [John] Fletcher's Works which she hopes to read with much profit. Gregson often thinks of the very profitable time that she spent at Madeley. Her regards should be passed to Mrs Hurd, Miss Dorset, Miss Hazelwood, Mr and Mrs [William] Stones etc.
Sarah Boyce to Mary Tooth
Boyce remembers all her Madeley friends every day at the throne of Grace [in prayer]. She has been suffering a long time with her old complaint, but the Lord has been with her and she feels that she loves him all the more. Spiritual matters are discussed in detail.
Her regards should be passed to Tooth's dear 'suffering' sister [Rosamund] if she remains alive and also to [William] and Mrs Stones. [Dated by postmark]
- Charles Haydon (1804-77) was born in London. Educated at a Methodist Sunday School, he joined the Church at the age of fourteen and became a prayer leader and Sunday School teacher. He joined the Methodist itinerancy in 1825 and served in home circuits until he was compelled to superannuate by the onset of a severe disease from which he eventually died in Nottingham. Source: Minutes of Conference 1877 and Hill's Arrangement 1874
- Peter Horton (1812-78) was born at Louth in Lincolnshire. His parents were devout and Horton himself was converted at the age of fifteen. His piety attracted notice and two years after his conversion, he was appointed a class leader and also became a local preacher. Horton entered the Wesleyan ministry in 1832 and exercised an active circuit ministry until superannuation in 1869. His retirement was spent in Birkenhead near Liverpool and then Southport where he spent the last three years of his life. He acted as the Secretary of the Annuitant Society for several years. Horton attended the Conference of 1878 in apparently good health, but collapsed and died shortly after reading the conference obituary of his old friend and colleague Charles Haydon. Source: Minutes of Conference 1878 and Hill's Arrangement 1878
- John Willis (1784-1860) was born in the parish of Rodborough in Gloucestershire, and was converted at the age of eighteen in Shrewsbury under the ministry of Valentine Ward. Willis entered the Wesleyan ministry in 1807 and was appointed to the West Indies Mission where he served for seven years until a breakdown in health forced a return to England. Willis spent thirty-five years in the home ministry until superannuation in 1849. He retired to Shirley near Southampton. Source: Minutes of Conference 1860 and Hill's Arrangement 1858