From Mary Ann Moore in Birmingham [Mary Ann’s husband Henry Moore was stationed in Birmingham from 1816 to 1818] to [Mary] Tooth. Tooth’s packet [of letters] was placed into her hands on Saturday evening by Mr Smith who called upon Mary and [her husband] Henry, accompanied by Mr Hunt[?].
Mary and Henry are both well and can praise the Lord on that account. Henry is able to continue in all his duties and finds that the work of the Lord still gladdens his soul. They have had the collections from the [Sunday] schools and last Sunday morning Henry preached for the Schools [Sermons were often preached to raise funds for worthy causes.] at Cherry Street. [Cherry Street Wesleyan Chapel in Birmingham was one of the most important chapels in the city. ] He preached again yesterday at Bradford Street in the morning and Belmarsh[?] in the evening. The collections are not as profitable as they ought to be – ‘it appears that while we are providing for those without, we are forgetting those who have a natural claim, and are not [unreadable word] before we[?] are generous its should seem that this is the case when we observe that’s for the Sunday Schools. There were eighty pounds collected, for our own children hardly forty, and the subscriptions a mere trifle. How is this my dear friend? It ought not to be thus. We can speak freely on these subjects, not having any [unreadable word] in the matter, nor need I add that my dear Mr [Henry] Moore placed the duty in a proper and impressive way, and to our precepts joined the practice with respect to our two dear sisters, the one is now with the Lord.’ [Probable reference to Mary Fletcher. The other ‘sister’ may be Mary Tooth herself. ]
They have received another letter from Mr [Joseph?] Dickenson [Joseph Dickenson of Leeds, Yorkshire, was married to Henry Moore’s niece Miss Rutherford.] dated the 17th, informing them of his mother’s ‘happy death.’ The following is an excerpt from the letter:
‘My dear mother dureing her very severe affliction truly exemplified the Christian character in her comfortable triumph over the last enemy, death. A few hours previous to her dissolution, she appeared to have a glorious prospect of soon being with her precious saviour…after a number of rapturous expressions she paused and with a very audible voice said “Oh, I am so happy, so happy blessed be God,” and then with a countenance more than human, with fervent zeal exclaimed, “Blessing and honour and glory, glory and power be unto the Lamb for ever and ever..amen, amen.” Soon after, with a heavenly joy, she said “Happy soul, thy days are ended.” Shortly after, with a sweet smile, “Death is sweet.” The following she frequently repeated, “O that I had wings like a dove”…for some time, her last distinguishable words were “Amen, amen, amen,” during which time she seemed earnestly engaged in prayer.’
Mrs Dugdale [Probably a female relation, perhaps the wife of the prominent Irish lay Methodist Bennet Dugdale. ] is recovering, but very slowly, not yet being able to get as far as the drawing room. One of Dugdale’s daughters has also been seriously ill but is now somewhat better. They have however lost a very dear and long-esteemed friend of Henry’s – Mrs [Theodosia] Blachford of Dublin died about ten days ago. She was one who [Mary] Fletcher knew well and loved greatly.
The person lost in the Bristol vessel was not known to the Moores.
[Henry] is labouring every day in the ‘work which interests you…there are one hundred and eighty pages now printed, the printer has been a little slow some days ago but is now recovering his pace. I think it will be completed about a fortnight after Christmas.’ [Henry Moore, The Life of Mary Fletcher (Birmingham: J. Peart & Son, 1817)]
They have not forgotten their wish to visit Tooth in Madeley, but she will understand that it would have been impossible before now, ‘and now the season, wet and gloomy, would most probably confine us, if with you, to the house as well as in some measure retard the progress of the life, and in a few days the ticket business will come on. All these things considered, you will confess how much better to defer it till Spring.’ In the meantime, the Moores would be very happy to see Tooth here when she can make it consistent with her other engagements. They trust that Tooth still has much work to do for the Lord.
Reference is made to [Henry] speaking on behalf of the Church [overseas] Missions. There was a meeting in Birmingham. The ‘sub-secretary’ Mr [Edward] Bickersteth is, as Tooth knows, their friend. The Moores got to know Bickersteth’s sister [Charlotte] very well when Henry was stationed in Liverpool [1799-1801 and 1814-1816] - she is married to one of the missionaries [Robert Mayor] and is going out to Ceylon with him. Their time was so limited that they were unable to visit the Moores at home, and they were obliged to meet at the Royal Hotel. The Moores heard the usual round of ‘speechifying’ but when it came to the turn of Mr [Robert] Mayor, their friend’s husband, he showed that all his aims and objectives were truly ‘Methodistical’ and it was received with great applause. Henry had a conversation with Mayor afterwards and he said that he had received his first religious impressions under [Mary] Fletcher’s influence. He was apparently working as a young surgeon near Madeley. He will assuredly be very useful in the work.
[Henry] has twice preached at Coleshill. She thinks that it is an interesting place ‘and the friends [are] agreeable. Our preachers and familys are well…’ [Robert] Mayor ‘served his time’ [as a surgeon at Wellington – perhaps Tooth was acquainted with him. The Mayors have promised to write to the Moores.
They have not got the ‘notices’ that Tooth mentioned but will write for them by the first parcel. ‘We have heard how the Roman Catholic Priests letters perceive how earnest he was for Mrs [Mary] Fletcher’s conversion. She would certainly have been a great acquisition to his Church. It is surprising to observe his great perversion of the Scripture.’
[Henry] joins in sending love. Their regards should be passed to Tooth’s sister [Rosamund].
- Mary Ann Moore (1754-1834) was the second wife of the Wesleyan minister Henry Moore. Her maiden name was Hind and she was described at the time of their marriage in Bristol in August 1814 as a ‘middle-aged lady, of piety, a good understanding and possessed of an independent fortune…the lady was respected and esteemed for her general urbanity, and her especial regard for the poor…’. She lived with her husband in the several circuits to which he was appointed until they moved to London in 1823. They remained there for the rest of their lives. Mary Ann died on 16 August 1834 after a long decline. She was buried at City Road Chapel. Source: The Life of the Rev. Henry Moore by Mrs Richard Smith (London 1844), 264, 310-311, Methodist Magazine 1834, 720, George John Stevenson, City Road Chapel, London, and its Associations, Historical, Biographical, and Memorial (1872), 429-430 and information provided by John Lenton.
- Theodosia Blachford (1744-1817) was the daughter of WilliamTighe and his wife Mary, eldest daughter of the Earl of Darnley. Theodosia married Reverend William Blachford, an Anglican clergyman of considerable private means and Librarian of St Patrick’s Library in Dublin. Theodosia’s husband died ‘of a malignant fever’ at an early age, leaving her with a son and daughter to raise. Blachford was a devout member of the Dublin Methodist Society and was described by John Wesley in a letter of 1788 as ‘one of our jewels. I love her much.’ She spent little on her herself, and after ensuring that her children’s needs were provided for, spent much of what was left on helping the poor. Blachford also spent several hours each day attending to the education of twelve poor girls. She was a friend of John and Mary Fletcher and was particularly close to the Wesleyan minister Henry Moore and his wife Mary Ann, periodically visiting them in England. Blachford’s daughter Mary Tighe (she was married to her cousin Henry Tighe) was a poetess of considerable reputation. Her most famous work was Pysche or the Legend of Love. Theodosia Blachford died in Dublin on 7 November 1817. Source: DNB (under Mary Tighe), Gentleman’s Magazine 122: 1817, 567-568, MAM/FL/5/5/1 (MARC), The Life of the Rev. Henry Moore by Mrs Richard Smith (London, 1844) and Burke’s Landed Gentry 1853, 2:1396.
- Edward Bickersteth (1786-1850) was born in Kirby Lonsdale, Westmoreland, the son of surgeon. He was educated at the local grammar school before becoming an articled law clerk in London. In 1812 he set up in practice with his brother-in-law as a solicitor in Norwich. Bickersteth had been raised in the Anglican Church and during his time in London, became a convinced evangelical. He founded a Church Missionary Society Auxiliary in Norwich and was invited to lead an investigation into missionary work in Sierra Leone. For the purpose of his visit to Africa, Bickersteth was ordained into the Anglican ministry. After his return to England, Bickersteth was appointed CMS deputation secretary and placed in charge of its training college. He did much to promote the growth of the CMS at a grassroots level and in 1824 became the principal secretary of the CMS. During these years, Bickersteth also wrote a range of devotional publications that proved extremely popular, selling hundreds of thousands of copies. In 1829 Bickersteth became the minister of Wheeler Chapel, Spitalfields, London and a year later he became the incumbent of Watton in Hertfordshire. This period coincided with Bickersteth’s involvement in controversial issues such as premillenialism, the Church Pastoral Aid Society and the London City Mission. He also played the leading Anglican role in the Evangelical Alliance. Bickersteth’s closing years were marred by his own disappointment at such developments as Tractarianism and the emergence of class conflict. Despite the fact that some of his own views were increasingly at odds with those of other Anglican Evangelicals, Bickersteth continued to be a much respected figure. His son Edward Henry Bickersteth also joined the ministry and went on to become Bishop of Exeter. Bickersteth was a friend of the veteran Wesleyan minister and President of Conference Henry Moore. Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995) and MAM/FL/5/5/1 (MARC).
- Robert Mayor (c.1790-1846) was born in Shrewsbury, the son of the Anglican minister and member of the Church Missionary Society committee John Mayor (c.1755-1826). Mayor received some medical training and worked for a time as a surgeon. He was converted, at least partly under the influence of Mary Fletcher, and was ordained into the Anglican ministry in 1817. Mayor worked as a missionary in Ceylon from 1817. He returned to England in 1828 and was appointed Vicar of Coppenhall, Cheshire, where he spent the remainder of his life. Mayor’s wife Charlotte was the sister of Edward Bickersteth, one of the leading lights of the CMS. Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995) and MAM/FL/5/5/1 (MARC).