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Mary Barritt (1772-1851)

Mary Barritt was born into a farming family in Hay, Lancashire. Barritt's mother was a Methodist and her brother John became a Wesleyan itinerant. Converted at an early age, Mary commenced preaching and travelled extensively in the North of England. Her ministry was remarkably successful despite opposition from many Methodist ministers. She attended the Conferences in Leeds and Manchester, chiefly to meet itinerants who were sympathetic to her cause.

In 1802 she married the well-known minister Zachariah Taft and he proved a staunch and outspoken supporter of her right to preach. Mary continued to preach despite the Conference resolution of 1803 and in 1827 she published an account of her work as an evangelist.

Mary was reponsible for the conversion of several ministers including Thomas Jackson.

Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995) and Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974)

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