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Anne Dutton (1692-1765)

Anne Dutton, nee Williams, was born into a Congregationalist family in Northampton. As a teenager, she attended a Baptist church and was converted. At the age of twenty-two she married a Mr Cattell and moved to London where she worshipped at a Baptist church in Cripplegate, where she came under the influence of the strongly Calvinist minister John Skepp (d.1721).

Anne's first husband died in 1720 and she moved back to Northampton where she soon married Benjamin Dutton (1691-1747). Anne's new husband had trained for the Baptist ministry and after serving several congregations in Cambridgeshire, the couple finally settled in the Huntingdonshire village of Great Gansden in 1731. During the decades that followed, Anne wrote a number of popular devotional and theological works. Her influential defence of female authorship appeared in 1743 under the title A Letter to Such of the Servants of Christ, who May have any Scruple about the Lawfulness of PRINTING any Thing written by a Woman.

By 1740, Anne was corresponding with a number of Calvinist evangelicals including George Whitefield, William Seward and Howell Harris. Whitefield seemed to express the general opinion of her talents when he stated that 'her conversation is as weighty as her letters'. As a convinced Calvinist, Anne was a vehement opponent of John Wesley.

Benjamin Dutton died at sea in 1747 while returning from a fund-raising trip to North America. After her husband's death, Anne continued to influence her church in Great Gansden.

Source: Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995) and a web page devoted to Dutton's life and ministry (http://website.lineone.net/~gsward/pages/adutton.html)

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