Letter

Scope and Content

From Mary Whittingham to Mary Fletcher in Madeley. She wants very much to hear from her dear aunt, particularly to find out concerning the condition of her breast. Whittingham hopes that Fletcher is feeling better and that she will soon receive a letter in Fletcher's own hand, although she is always happy to hear of her progress from [Mary] Tooth when Fletcher is unable to write herself.

Their oldest son [Samuel] is with them at present 'and is I trust sincerely desirous of knowing more of divine things'. When he leaves here, he will go to Oxford where he has comfortable rooms in college and is to be Dean of College for the year ahead. God has been very gracious in giving them such a son.

Whittingham was troubled by 'my poor [daughter] Marianne's going to Paris, but she got there safe, and Mr [Samuel] Whitbread and his Lady have been very kind and have sent letters with her to have her protected and taken care of, and also to recommend her to notice.' Her other daughter Eliza is a 'blessing to me' and [daughter] Emma is 'very pleasant'. Her son John 'is a lovely youth, very steady, obliging and industrious.'

The work of God continues to prosper here - the prayer meetings increase and some old members have 'been called up higher and are at rest. One - a steady friend is to be buried tomorrow.' Whittingham continues with her school and she hopes that it has some good effect. She is somewhat hindered at the moment by 'having a servant who is very unsuitable for the place, though I have kept her above two years, hoping that she might improve, but as it is, I have much of the work to do ... As I must part with her if I can before summer, when we have more need of a proper servant, besides that she is very offensive in hot weather through perspiration. I was present at her birth and her mother lived with me before her marriage, which made me put up with her more than I could have done in another'.

An enclosure [of common land] has lately taken place in Potten by which the tithes [due to the parish church] have been abolished - they were very little anyway and they will now have their correct due without difficulty. The Church has been allocated a good deal of land, which will bring in a better income. In this matter, Mr Whitbread has been very kind to them, as he and his wife Lady Elizabeth are in all matters. The Commissioners have granted them some of the lands around the house and this makes the vicarage 'very complete' and is useful. God has blessed them in this matter more than they expected - 'he knew we had need of it.'