A Desciption of the Trance of Anna Atherton

Scope and Content

Manuscript item bound in a volume of printed pamphlets.

Text begins:'She was about the age of fourteen and fell sick in November (69)'; text ends:'... she was very sensible to her last, and settled all her affairs, and departed with great as[s]urance of her happiness hereafter'.

This would appear to be a manuscript version of the broadsheets printed at London by T. Dawks in 1680, one with the title: 'A miraculous proof of the resurrection; or, the life to come demonstrated, being a strange but true relation of what hapned [sic!] to Mrs Anna Atherton...', the second with the variant title:'The resurrection proved; or, the life to come demonstrated...'". There is one major difference in the title. The printed versions describe Dr. Atherton as a 'physician in Caermarthen', whereas the manuscript version describes him as practising as Newcastle upon Tyne.

Summary: An account of the strange case of Mistress Atherton, aged fourteen, who fell into a death-like trance for seven days, in November 1669. Upon regaining consciousness, she recounted how she had 'been in heaven and that she was conducted thither by an angel' who showed her 'things glorious and unutterable, as Saints and Angels and all in glorious apparell'. She heard 'unparalel'd Musick Divine Anthems and Hallelujahs'. She was not allowed to enter Heaven but the angel told her that 'she must go back again for a while, and take leave of her friends, and after short time she should be admitted'. She recovered from this expereince and lived another four years, departing 'with great as[s]urance of her happiness hereafter'.

Listed in the Bowdler Manuscript Catalogue: Bundle 230, Item 5, where it is indexed as: 'A relation of the trance of Mrs. Atherton. MS'.