- Sophia Cook (1759-1834) was the daughter of a Gloucestershire surgeon, she assisted Robert Raikes in founding the Sunday School movement and is said to have established a school of her own in Gloucester in 1777. She married the prominent Methodist preacher Samuel Bradburn in 1786. Source: George John Stevenson, Methodist Worthies (1884), Volume II and Philip B. Cliff,The Rise and Development of the Sunday School Movement in England 1780 - 1980 (1986).
From Anne Wathen at Southbroom House near Devizes to [Sophia] Cook in Stroud, Gloucestershire. [Anne Wathen may have been a member of the family of the same name, who are recorded as being a gentry family of Woodchester in Gloucestershire. Source: Burke's Landed Gentry 1854, Vol.2.]
This letter is dedicated to [Sophia] and the circle of Wathen's Stroud friends including Mrs Ellis who is perhaps known to Cook. Spiritual matters are discussed in detail.
She is being given every chance to be restored to good health and peace of mind. The people here allow her to spend her time in any way that she pleases with the result that she spends a great deal of time alone. She never breakfasts with the family but divides her time between her chamber, the garden and riding in the coach to get some fresh air. Wathen cannot express the 'divine solace of soul' she enjoys most mornings during her strolls among the shrubbery in the garden, occasionally catching sight of an open and delightful view towards Salisbury Plan and the Marlborough Downs. It never fails to raise her mind towards thoughts of God.. She often reflects on her many pious ancestors who lived in this place and feels that in some measure she is entering their 'devout & holy aspirations'. She also visits their tombs in the nearby Church.
She forgot to mention that she is staying in Mrs Talbot's room, 'which I almost look upon as a sanctified chamber'. The family holds prayers twice a day attended by all the servants, making for a congregation of nearly twenty people. Wathen attends in the morning, unseen in a type of gallery.
Reference is made to her daughter Sarah.
Wathen certainly feels much better but still occasionally feels great pain and feels rather discouraged.
[An accompanying note in a different hand reads 'Excellent letter from an old influential Methodist at Stroud sent to Miss Cook and also to the society at Stroud. I thought it would please your father'.]