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Eliza Beecroft (1748-1812)

Eliza Beecroft was born in Otley, Yorkshire, the daughter of a tanner, John Skirrow. She lost her father in early life and entered into business with one of her brothers. She came under Methodist influence at the age of nineteen and was formally admitted into the Society in November 1767. Skirrow was deeply affected by the preaching of Rowland Hill during his visit to Leeds in 1770 and dated her conversion to about that time. She also started attending band meetings for young women organised by Mary Bosanquet-Fletcher.

She married George Beecroft in 1775 and three years later moved to Kirkstall-Forge where her husband leased an iron works in partenorship with John Butler. Her husband was also a devout Methodist and served as a trustee for two local chapels.

Mrs Beecroft enjoyed a considerable reputation for holiness and corresponded with several other female Methodists of note - one of her letters to Mary Bosanquet-Fletcher survives in the Fletcher Collection in the Methodist Archives. Her funeral sermon in August 1812 was preached by the prominent Wesleyan minister Joseph Benson.

Source: Methodist Magazine 1813, pp.453-460

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