From John Radford in Fareham to Mary Fletcher. Reference is made to the many kindnesses that he has received from Fletcher as well as the spiritual benefit that he has gained from contact with her. God gave him a tremendous favour by having him labour at Madeley where he had the honour of making her acquaintance.
How is her health and spiritual prosperity?
As for Radford's new appointment in the Southampton circuit, it is certainly a pleasure to work here. He has experienced nothing but kindness from the people and his preaching has been well-received. However there is not as much piety here 'in the general way' as in the Shrewsbury circuit. The circuit though is prospering and congregations are said to be better than for some years past. Conversions have been many within the last few weeks. There is a very flourishing society at Winchester and there are similar circumstances elsewhere.
Last Monday week there was a well attended and interesting meeting of the Bible Society at Southampton - the first annual gathering. Mr Henry Bosanquet, High Sheriff of Hampshire, was present and spoke at some length. Afterwards Radford learned from Bosanquet that he is related to Mary – he asked most tenderly after her and lamented the distance from Madeley.
They have lately had some very distressing circumstances here with many people dead over a short period. They include four young men who died within a space of twenty days – they had been formerly singers together at the chapel although none had lately been in society. The first was killed on the first of this month while crossing from Southampton to [unreadable place name] to teach at Sunday school. His vessel was caught in a sudden squall and overturned - he was drowned together with the boatman. The second young man was listening to Radford preach last Sunday week and appeared very well but on the Wednesday afterwards he died. The third expired after a few hours illness on the same day as the second. The last died on Friday after being unwell for nine days. Radford has often of late been required to visit scenes of mourning and grief.
He would welcome a few lines from Fletcher. His regards should be passed to [Mary] Tooth and the members of the classes who meet with Fletcher. Likewise to Miss Parton/Purton, the ladies at Cotesbrook, [John] Eyton and his wife [Anna Maria], Mr [George] Mortimer189 and his wife [Anne]
- Henry Bosanquet (1760-1817) was born in London, a younger son of Jacob and Elizabeth Bosanquet. He was educated at Hertford College Oxford, graduating in 1782. Bosanquet settled at Clanville in Hampshire and served as High Sheriff of the county in 1815. He married Caroline Anstey in 1790 and the two had issue. She was the daughter of the poet Christopher Anstey. Henry was a cousin of the famous Methodist female preacher Mary Bosanquet/Fletcher - the two were grandchildren of the Huguenot merchant David Bosanquet of London and his wife Elizabeth. Henry himself had some religious interests and spoke for example at the first meeting of the Southampton branch of the Bible Society in 1815. Source: Burke's Landed Gentry 1853, International Genealogical Index and MAM FL/6/2/7 (MARC)
- George Mortimer (fl.1820) was an Anglican minister who served as curate of Madeley from 1815 until 1825. Little is known about his early life although, as his sister lived in London, there may be a connection with that city. His sister also had links with City Road Chapel and Mortimer, based on the evidence of his correspondence, certainly possessed evangelical sympathies. He does not appear in the published lists of Oxford and Cambridge alumni, but was evidently a man of good education. Mortimer enjoyed a cordial relationship with Mary Fletcher and Mary Tooth in the years leading up to his appointment to Madeley. It is clear from his letters that he had previously served in a ministerial capacity in the Wellington area of Shropshire, probably as curate to the Vicar of Wellington John Eyton. Two of Mortimer’s children [Cecil and Maria] by his wife Mary were baptised at Wellington parish church in 1813 and 1814. After Fletcher’s death, his relationship with the Madeley Methodists became quite strained and the charge was made against him that he was damaging their once close relationship with the parish church. Source: Fletcher-Tooth collection and information provided by Mr John Lenton.