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Elizabeth Ritchie (1754-1835)

Elizabeth Ritchie was born in Otley, Yorkshire, daughter of a naval surgeon. Ritchie's parents were Methodists and John Wesley often stayed at their home. As a young woman, Ritchie attended her local parish church and regarded Methodism with some hostility.  Converted in 1772 she was soon appointed a class leader and became influential in the Otley Methodist society as a teacher and spiritual advisor.

After 1780 she traveled quite extensively and corresponded with many leading evangelicals especially John Wesley, who summoned her to his side during his final illness. She was a close friend of the preacher Sarah Crosby.

In 1801 she married Harvey Walklate Mortimer and settled in London where she resumed her role as a class leader. She was also a prominent member of the Ladies' Working Society, which met weekly at City Road Chapel for prayer and discussions on spiritual subjects. Other members included Sarah Wesley junior and the wives of the City Road ministers.

Ritchie died on April 9 1835 at her home in Islington. She was interred in the family vault at City Road Chapel.

Source:  Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995), George John Stevenson, City Road Chapel, London, and its Associations, Historical, Biographical, and Memorial (1872) and Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974)

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