• This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 MAM/Fl/7/16/11
  • Former Reference
      GB 135 MAM/Fl/7/16/11
  • Dates of Creation
      24 February 1810 [postmark]

Scope and Content

From Mary Whittingham at Potten vicarage to Mary Fletcher in Madeley. It has been a while since Whittingham last wrote. She has had a good deal of nursing to cope with - her daughter Eliza has been ill, but has now recovered. John came home from school and was very sick, but has also been spared. John is now at school a few miles away under the care of a pious clergyman, who only takes in 14 pupils at a time. They are both pleasant children and little Emma is also a nice child.

About a month ago, she found her eldest daughter [Marianne] extremely ill in London with a violent bilious attack. Whttingham considered it her duty to travel there at once and attend to her. She found her very gaunt in appearance and feared that she was rapidly hastening to a deep decline. The girl's nerves were shatted and Whittingham concluded that she must either remain with her in London, which would have been very inconvenient and expensive, or persuade her to come home. At first, she was very averse to leave London as her heart was fixed on the capital's amusements. At times, she seemed 'averse to religious discourses etc. She however consented to my praying with her, and thanked me when I had done ... and she returned home with me; strength was given her to undergo the journey in a post chaise, and she bore the last stage the best. She is wonderfully recovered since she came home. I sent for my brother's physician while in London, and the medicines which are to be continued some time are very useful. The enmity seems to subside, and I trust God will make the trial a blessing to her soul. She is already very different and seems desirous to attend constantly our family worship, and reads to herself in a good book Mr [Henry] Venn once gave her when a child. Her nerves are much more composed, so that I trust the enmity was in part owing to her complaint.' Spiritual matters are discussed.

In a postscript, she mentions that her eldest son [Samuel] was very supportive while she was in London. Her husband Richard sends his best wishes.



  • Henry Venn (1724-97) was born in Surrey, the son of the distinguished Anglican clergyman Richard Venn. He was educated privately and at Jesus College Cambridge. After graduation, Venn was ordained into the Church of England and in 1749, was elected a fellow of Queen's College, Cambridge. After serving a number of short curacies, he was appointed Curate of Clapham Parish Church near London in 1754. In the years that followed, Venn adopted evangelical opinions and became known to the leaders of the movement. In 1759 he became Vicar of Huddersfield and commenced a remarkably successful ministry. His powerful extempore preaching attracted large crowds and he estimated that in one three year period, there were nine hundred conversions in his parish. At about this time also, he abandoned his earlier Arminianism and adopted a mild form of Calvinism. This led to a distance between himself and John Wesley, which was exacerbated when Wesley insisted on allowing his itinerants to work in the area, despite the presence of an Anglican evangelical. In 1763 Venn published his highly influential The Complete Duty of Man. He also established a Yorkshire Clerical Club where like-minded clergymen could meet at regular intervals for study, prayer and mutual encouragement. In addition to his active parochial ministry, Venn travelled as an itinerant preacher for part of each year in support of the Countess of Huntingdon's movement, although he withdrew in 1780 when the Countess registered her chapels as dissenting. Venn left Huddersfield in 1771 due to a breakdown in health and was appointed to the rural parish of Yelling near Cambridge. He took under his wing a succession of students at the university, of whom Charles Simeon was the best known. Source: DNB