From Diana Thomas in Kington to Mary Tooth in Madeley. She has been very long in acknowledging Tooth's letter of 3 March 1817 sent with the pamphlets. She was very grateful for the printed material, especially as she had not seen several of the titles previously
Thomas' delay in replying was caused by her recent illness - it is likely that Tooth was informed of her sickness by Mr [Benjamin] Longmore or Mr [John] Squarebridge [Wesleyan minister stationed in Broseley]. She was taken very ill in May last year with her old complaint of inflammation of the liver, which confined her to her room in frequent and severe pain for about five months. Thomas tried to remedy the situation by taking medicines, bleeding, cupping and taking hot baths. She heard that the spa water at Gloucester was very beneficial and set out for there on 2 October with her dear friend and nurse Mary Scandrett[?] - they went to Hereford the first day, but she had a violent attack the same night and was obliged to summon a physician and remain there for eight days; then they went on to Gloucester in two days, but Thomas had another attack and was again forced to call a physician. She found the spa water to be a great relief to her and after about twelve days, she found that she was able to go for short walks. Thomas remained in Gloucester for ten weeks and suffered five attacks during that time. They arrived back in Hereford on 18 December and remained there until she returned home on the 26th. She has had one serious attack since returning home, but has been reasonably well otherwise. She has had Gloucester water brought over in stone bottles and is also taking medication. Thomas remains weak, but is now able to walk and go to chapel sometimes during the day, but she is unable to go out at night. Spiritual matters are discussed in detail, with specific regard to the spiritual benefits that she has received as a result of her illness.
When she was at Gloucester, Thomas prayed that God would allow her to return home before she died, and this request has been granted. Her reason for making the request was that she was afraid that it would be too much for her dear Mary to cope with that eventuality in a strange place.
Thomas would be pleased to hear how Tooth is doing and if the work of God is prospering still in Madeley. Mr Squarebridge has written to Thomas twice with a pleasing account of the progress of religion in and about Madeley.
Thomas has read the first volume of Mary Fletcher's biography three times and is very much looking forward to the second volume.
- John Squarebridge (1783-1844) was born in Whitehaven, Cumberland. He was converted at the age of seventeen under the ministry of Rev. E. Millier and entered the Wesleyan itinerancy in 1806. His active circuit ministry was exercised in England and the Isle of Man until superannuation due to ill health in 1839. He spent his last years in Wellington, Shropshire. Source: Minutes of Conference 1845 and Hill's Arrangement 1841.
- Benjamin Longmore (1779-1826) was born at Coalbrookdale in Shropshire. His parents were converted through the ministry of John Fletcher and joined the Methodist Society. Benjamin himself was converted in 1799 after hearing a sermon preached at Madeley by Dr Thomas Coke. At about the same time he began to attend the Sunday morning meetings led by the famous female evangelist Mary Fletcher, widow of John Fletcher. From 1804 he was employed as a commercial traveller by the Coalbrookdale Company and remained with them for the rest of his life. He married Miss Lacon, a trademan's daughter, in Oswestry in 1812. Benjamin was appointed a class leader in 1816 or 1817. He fell ill in November 1826 and was forced to cut short a business trip to Abergavenny and return home. He was diganosed as having typhoid and died on December 10. His widow and two daughters subsquently moved back to her hometown of Oswestry. Source: Arminian Magazine 1828, 578-585 and Fletcher-Tooth collection