- Nicholas Gilbert (d.1779) is listed as an itinerant from 1744 to 1763. Source: Kenneth B. Garlick, An Alphabetical Arrangement of Wesleyan Methodist Preachers and Missionaries, and the Stations to which they were Appointed, 1739 -1818 (1975)
From Francis Gilbert in London to Bristol. Gilbert has just returned from Leeds, Yorkshire. On the way there he stopped in Sheffield and the morning he left, he went to see Mary Midgely, who was happy although in pain and near death. Her life during the last five years have been very remarkable. She had been in the Halifax Society but about five years ago moved to Sheffield. She was at that time 'very trifling & far from being in earnest'. Three years ago she received a sense that her sins had been forgiven. Her life was very troubled but she bore her trials with great patience. Her husband [William] would often come home drunk, drag her from her bed, beat her and ask her where her God was? She would however turn the other cheek and tell her husband that she loved him. He would in many ways try to disturb her serenity but without success. He would often stay away from work for two or three weeks at a time and this led to serious financial troubles, although there was no reason why he could not have maintained his wife and three children very well.
Despite her problems Midgely was a model of cleanliness and frugality. Such was her conduct that even the ungodly around her, regarded her as a saint and although they hated the Methodists they would help her. She took all her troubles to the Lord and kept her faith. Spiritual matters are discussed in detail. Her trust was not in vain for money would often be given to her by unknown persons.
She was diligent in praying for her husband, fond of the preachers and 'loving to the children of God'. She was also aware of her own state of sin and prayed often that she might be delivered. About seven weeks before she died 'she found a deliverance from all her sin'. After this she was often assaulted by the Devil but to no avail and although her body was weak she was often filled with joy.
Three weeks before her death, she took to her bed in great pain but was resigned to the will of God. A day or two before this, her husband had come home drunk and kicked and threatened her.
In her final weeks her mind was very much occupied with thoughts of the Wesleys and the preachers. Her praying for them was so intense that her body was further weakened.
A day or two before she died, her pain was somewhat eased. She died on a Saturday. Gilbert saw her on the Wednesday before and while she could not speak, she seemed happy. Gilbert attended her funeral on his way back to London.
Gilbert received this account from Sister Ryder, who had been a close friend of Midgely since her arrival in Sheffield.