From Bristol [Henry Moore was stationed in Bristol between 1820 and 1823.] to Mary Tooth. Mary’s invitation for them to visit Madeley arrived this morning – it would be very pleasing to the Moores if they could accept, but previous engagements make it impossible to get away. Some weeks ago [Henry] accepted an invitation to attend the Missionary meeting in London, particulars of which will be in the April issue of the [Methodist] Magazine. [Three ‘Annual Sermons’ were preached on 25 and 26 April 1822 in advance of the annual meeting of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, which commenced at City Road Chapel in London on 29 April. Henry Moore was one of the guest preachers. Methodist Magazine 1822, 258 ] He will leave ten days before that event in order to ‘assist in the arrangement of the Hymn Book for which he has been some months back summoned to London but could not find liberty to leave this circuit, altho it was ordered by Conference.’ Also, about a fortnight ago he received an invitation to preach and make a collection in Oxford, which he declined, but because they have deferred the event until the 14th of this month, when the Moores will be returning through the town from London, they [the Moores] have agreed to leave on Saturday so as to stay with the Oxford people on that day. Tooth can see therefore that their calendar is full. Very soon after they get back from London, they have their own Missionary meeting here in Bristol ‘to which some great men are expected.’ The District meeting commences immediately afterwards.
It will also soon be time for ‘ticketing’ [issue of class tickets] and then there will be the preparations for Conference. [Held in London, commencing 31 July 1822. ] Also, [Henry] is busy at every spare moment, with preparations for the publication of [John] Wesley’s life. [Probably the edition of 1824.] As the Moores cannot make the trip to Madeley, can Tooth visit them – what about the Bristol Missionary meeting? Or the meeting at the London Conference? Moore is sure that such a journey would do Tooth good and she thinks that Tooth would like Bristol and Bath.
Mrs Mortimer [the former Miss Elizabeth Ritchie] has been here and enjoyed herself a great deal. She has now gone on to Bath – she called on the Moores one morning and spent a very agreeable half hour with them. They talked about Madeley and she mentioned her daughter-in-law’s indisposition – she is now thought to be much better. Mortimer also spoke very kindly of Tooth ‘and acknowledged your usefulness in that place to which you were a blessing. She met the class of the friend at whose house she was at during the time she was here, and visited a good deal among the old standard[?] of the friends. They all went over to Kingswood to see the school with which she was well pleased, gave a little lecture to the boys and prayed with them etc. She had the single daughter with her [Elizabeth Ritchie was Harvey Walklate Mortimer’s second wife. As their marriage was childless, the reference to a daughter and daughter-in-law must be to step-children from her husband’s first marriage.] and they are going to visit Mrs [Sarah] Brackenbury and some other places before returning home.’
Tooth’s observation concerning ‘third years’ in that specific case is a very good one, [Clearly a reference to the Methodist system of stationing ministers in circuits for lengths of time from one to three years, as determined by each annual Conference. The decision when to move a minister was based on his popularity within the circuit, the minister’s personal preference, the success of his ministry and the perceived need elsewhere. ] but Moore is not averse to third years in other cases. Indeed, there are some occasions when it is desirable. ‘How is it you say you want an intire change? Has Mr [Thomas] Williams lost your warm heart? I must know more of this by and by.’ [Williams was appointed to the Madeley circuit for just a single year. This fact together with Tooth’s desire for a change in the appointment at the next Conference, suggests some dissatisfaction with his ministry. ]
Last Wednesday was the quarter day here and the subject of preachers was raised. One of them has been here for three years [Josiah Hill] and opinion was divided as to whether or not, others should remain for a third year. After some discussion, the decision was taken that it should be allowed [Although Conference had the final decision concerning ministerial appointments, circuits could make requests.] ‘but Mrs Barker [wife of Jonathan Barker, one of Henry Moore’s colleagues in the Bristol circuit] whom I believe I have before mentioned to you as having been in a very afflicting state of health ever since the death of her daughter and which still continues in a strong nervous irritability, whether therefore it will be agreeable for her to stay we do not as yet know, [Barker was moved by the 1822 Conference to a different circuit. ] but in that event we shall have two new preachers, we are intirely satisfied with their decision as our preachers are good men and true, but it was left intirely with the friends to decide, and we trust it is of the Lord.’
There has been some stirrings of revival here lately and nearly one hundred new members have been added since the last quarter. This is a matter of great thankfulness especially when one considers the high number of removals from the area. [Henry] held a love feast at Bedminster, which is a short distance from Bristol. Moore does not think that she has ever attended one that was so good – the testimonies were ‘solid and sensible and tho chiefly from persons somewhat below the middling stations of life were powerful and affecting tho given with the utmost simplicity. A divine unction attended all that was said and one could not but observe how religion ennobles the very meanest person who really possesses it, there was some crying out, and one found peace during the evening and we parted after three hours.’
Moore does hope that Tooth will get a good substitute for [Henry] and that there will be a good collection, for ‘painting is a very necessary article for preserving the building.’ [Henry Moore must have been invited to preach in the Madeley area in order to raise funds for work on the chapel or associated building such as a Sunday school. ]
Mr [Charles] Atmore is to undergo the operation of [to remove a cataract from his eye - information provided by Mr John Lenton] on 11 April. The prayers of the society are requested.
[Henry] had a letter from [John] Sumner yesterday. Sumner asks that his love be passed to Tooth.
Moore is as old-fashioned as Tooth with regard to being in debt, which in her view can hardly ever be regarded as a good thing.
- Sarah Brackenbury (1771-1847) was the wife of Robert Carr Brackenbury esq. of Raithby Hall, Lincolnshire, a well-known lay preacher and friend of John Wesley. Sarah was a member of the Wesleyan society for nearly sixty years and was described in her obituary as a ‘pattern of everything that is excellent, and a most distinguished ornament to the Christian name.’ She died in June 1847 after a short illness while visiting the Loughborough home of her sister Mrs Mawe. Source: Gentleman’s Magazine 182: 1847, 108 and Arminian Magazine 1847, 1039.
- Thomas Williams (1796-1838) was recommended to the 1820 Liverpool Conference for admission to the itinerancy by Thomas Wood of the Bristol circuit. He exercised an active circuit ministry until his death which occurred suddenly on 22 January 1838 while returning from a preaching appointment. Source: Minutes of Conference 1838 and List of itinerants accepted on trial 1803-31.
- Charles Atmore (1759-1826) was born at Heacham in Norfolk, the son of a ship's captain. After the early death of his mother, he was raised by his aunt and uncle. Atmore was converted by the ministry of Joseph Pilmore in 1779 and became a local preacher before entering the itinerancy in 1781. Despite his youth, Atmore was named to the Legal Hundred in 1784 and was ordained by Wesley for the work in Scotland in 1786. He was President of Conference in 1811 and was actively involved in the establishment of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society. Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995)
- John Sumner (1790-1837) was converted at the age of seventeen and entered the Wesleyan itinerancy in 1811. His circuit ministry of twenty-six years was spent in England. Sumner's last circuit appointment was Rochdale and it is stated in the Conference Minutes, that the 'vexatious annoyances and harassing duties' which he experienced there, hastened his early death. Sumner was stationed in the Madeley circuit between 1820 and 1822. Source: Hill's Arrangement 1833 and Minutes of Conference 1837.