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Mary Bosanquet-Fletcher (1739-1815)

Mary Bosanquet-Fletcher was born into a wealthy Essex family and was converted at an early age. After opposition by her family to her religious leanings, she moved to London and became actively involved with the Methodists. In 1762 she returned to her hometown of Leytonstone to found and manage an orphanage cum Christian community with Sarah Ryan. It was also at about this time that she began to exhort and expound the scriptures. The community moved to Yorkshire in 1768 and Bosanquet after consulting with John Wesley began to preach, one of the the first Methodist women to do so.

In 1781 she married the Anglican Evangelical John Fletcher and moved to her husband's parish of Madeley in Shropshire. They pursued a virtually joint ministry until Fletcher's death in 1785. Bosanquet continued to run the Methodist society in Madeley until her own death, the only woman in early British Methodism to exercise such oversight.

Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1739-1860, edited by Donald M. Lewis (1995), Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974), Holy Women by Zachariah Taft (1825) and Fletcher-Tooth collection (MARC)

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