From Mary Naylor in Sedgley to Mary Tooth. Since Naylor last saw Tooth she has reflected many times on her friend and her dear abode. Tooth should not attribute Naylor’s failure to write before now to lack of Christian affection. Spiritual matters are discussed in detail. Naylor knows that Tooth will forgive her apparent neglect.
Naylor has received a kind letter and a valuable gift from dear Mrs Felman [?]. The dear friends referred to by Tooth, Mr G. and Mr B. have been visiting Birmingham where they were seen by Miss Loxton [relation of Jane Loxton of Birmingham].5 Both preached in ‘those large chapels’ and they would have taken tea together but Miss Loxton could not stay. Had Naylor been aware of their visit, she would have gone to hear them.
They now have the new itinerants here and they are very good preachers who have come to Wolverhampton and Dudley. Mr [John] Waterhouse,6 the superintendent at Dudley, is an excellent man with a deep devotion to God.
They are having good times in their class meetings etc. Spiritual matters are discussed. Naylor does indeed mourn over Sedgley and the dear people at the graveyard here. Naylor has had a class in Sedgley for some years but while some people have joined, others have left, so that presently numbers are low. Spiritual matters are discussed and reference is made to Tooth’s dear sister [Rosamund].
Naylor and her sisters have a blessed time in fellowship in their own home and with family prayers but much still remains to be done within the family.
Mrs White is well and is to pass this letter onto Tooth.
Mr [John] Rattenbury called here while passing through on the way to Sedgley[?]. He seemed to want to visit Madeley and visit Tooth if that were possible. He is indeed a ‘blessed young man’ but is very sick. They felt very blessed when he prayed with them.
In a postscript reference is made to Mr Jones and Mrs [Ann?] Jordan
- Jane Loxton (1779-1847) was the wife of the prominent Birmingham lay Methodist and class leader Samuel Loxton. She was converted by the ministry of Revd. Joseph Taylor at the age of sixteen. She died on 27 November 1847 after a short illness. Source: Methodist Magazine 1847, 310
- John Waterhouse (1789-1842) was born at Rawdon near Leeds in Yorkshire, the son of a farmer and wool manufacturer. He was converted and joined the Methodists in 1803. Waterhouse commenced to preach locally at the age of nineteen and exercised an active home ministry until 1838 when he was appointed General Superintendent of the Missions in Australasia and Polynesia. Waterhouse arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) in February 1839 with his wife and children. The following year, he commenced extensive journeys to New Zealand and the Pacific islands. The hardships which he experienced, sapped his strength and he died on March 30 1842. Four of Waterhouse’s sons achieved prominence in the Australian Methodist Church and in political life. Source: Minutes of Conference 1843 and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)
- John Rattenbury (1806-1879) was born in Tavistock, Devon, the son of a carpenter. Rattenbury’s family moved constantly in search of work and he was in Manchester at the time of his conversion as a teenager. He subsequently joined the Methodist Society in 1822, became a local preacher in 1825 and entered the itinerancy in 1827. He was married in 1832 to Mary Owen, daughter of a prominent Sheffield coal merchant and Methodist layman. They had six children, one of whom, Henry Owen Rattenbury, followed his father into the Wesleyan ministry. John Rattenbury was regarded as one of the foremost preachers of his generation - in one circuit a thousand new members were added through his ministry. He was voted into the Legal Hundred in 1851 and served as President of Conference in 1861. Rattenbury withdrew from circuit work in 1873 to concentrate on fund-raising. By 1877 he had raised £100,000 for the Connexion. Rattenbury died at Highgate in London in December 1879. Rattenbury was the founder of one of the most distinguished families in Methodism. Since 1828 four successive generations of the family have produced Methodist ministers including two Presidents of Conference and John Ernest Rattenbury, one of the most important Methodist theologians of his day. Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995) and Rat-Rhyme by H. Morley Rattenbury (Yorkshire branch of the Wesley Historical Society c.1990)
- Ann Jordan (1788-1852) was born in Birmingham. A pious child, she started attending Methodist class meetings at the age of thirteen and was converted within a few months despite much opposition from her family. Jordan became a Sunday School teacher at the age of eighteen and a class leader two years later. 'Her time…was almost entirely occupied with devotional and benevolent exercises, meeting classes, attending prayer meetings and visiting the sick and poor…' Jordan had very close links with other notable Methodist women such as Mary Fletcher, Mary Tooth and Sarah Boyce. References in the Fletcher-Tooth correspondence indicate that she may also have preached. Her home became a focal point for Methodist activities in Birmingham and she influenced several men who later became ministers and missionaries. Jordan was bed-bound for two years before she died on October 5 1852. Source: Methodist Magazine 1855,, p.662 and Fletcher-Tooth collection