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Jane C. March (1743-c.1816)

Jane C. March was born probably in London, the daughter of a prosperous merchant Thomas March (d.1754) and Jane Lisle, a member of a prominent Wiltshire family.

The March family was apparently of French Huguenot origin and had been settled in England since the 17th century. March had at least one brother and a sister.

Her brother Thomas assumed the name of Phillips in 1777 on the death of his cousin Samuel Phillipps. In 1797 he succeeded to what had been the Phillips estate of Garendon Park and Grace Dieu, worth an estimated £6000 per annum. His side of the family continued to prosper well into the 19th century and inter-married with several noble houses.

Jane March settled in Bristol and was a devout Methodist. She was friendly with John Wesley, who described her as a 'lady of fortune and piety,' and the two exchanged letters between 1760 and 1777.  She was also intimate with several important female Methodists of the late 18th century such as Sarah Ryan, Sarah Crosby and Elizabeth Ritchie. She was a regular correspondent of Mary Fletcher - the two knew each other from as early as 1766 and may have initially become acquainted as a result of their similar wealthy Huguenot background.

March's correspondence with Fletcher is an important source of information concerning Methodism in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, with particular regard to female spirituality.

Source: Burke's Landed Gentry 1853, Alumni Cantabrigienses 1752 -1900 (under Samuel Phillipps), Samuel Rogal, A Biographical Dictionary of 18th century Methodism and Fletcher-Tooth collection (MARC)

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