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Hester Ann Rogers [nee Roe] (1756-94)

 

Hester Ann Rogers [nee Roe] was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire, the daughter of an Anglican minister. She was converted at the age of eighteen under the influence of David Simpson, the evangelical Vicar of Christ Church Macclesfield. Hester began to attend Methodist meetings despite fierce opposition from her family and became a regular correspondent of John Wesley who appointed her a class leader in 1781.

She married the Wesleyan itinerant James Rogers in 1784 and the couple left for Dublin shortly afterwards. She collaborated in her husband's ministry to such an extent that he claimed 2,000 were converted under her influence.

By 1790 Hester's health had begun to fail, so James Rogers was moved to City Road Chapel in London and Hester was appointed John Wesley's housekeeper. She was in attendance when Wesley died the following year.

Hester gave birth to her fifth child in April 1793 and never regained her strength. She died in Birmingham eighteen months later.

Besides keeping a journal from the time of her conversion, Hester engaged in extensive correspondence and was a regular contributor to the Arminian Magazine. Her autobiography, funeral sermon by Dr Thomas Coke, selected letters and extracts from her diary were combined into one volume and went through extensive reprints on both sides of the Atlantic until early in the 20th century.

Source: Encyclopedia of World Methodism (1974) and Dictionary of Evangelical Biography, edited by Donald Lewis (1995)

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