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The Tooth family

The Tooth family of Hoxton in London were one of the most influential familes in London Methodism during the late 18th century and the first half of the nineteenth century. Samuel Tooth (fl.1770-c.1820) entered the itinerancy in 1771 but left after one year to concentrate on a career in business. He established himself at premises off City Road as a prosperous timber merchant and builder. Tooth served as a class leader and local preacher at West Street and City Road Chapels for many years and was also a London Society Steward during the 1780s. Tooth was a close friend of John Wesley and was given a substantial part of the contract for building City Road Chapel and the adjoining dwelling house. The original building specifications survive in the Methodist Archives in Manchester.

Tooth 'survived to a great age' and died at his family residence at Hoxton Square in London. For an unexplained reason he was not buried at City Road, but at George Whitefield's Tabernacle Cemetary in Tottenham Court Road.

Tooth had the reputation of being eccentric. When he moved from his original home in Castle Street to the house in Hoxton Square, he had two large trees in the garden cut down to make coffins for himself and his wife Sarah (1754-1830). These were kept for many years in their home.

Samuel and Sarah's daughters Lydia and Eliza kept a boarding school at Stamford Hill in London. Eliza was very active in Methodism and was executrix to Sarah, daughter of Charles Wesley. Their sister Anna was married to Joseph Rogers, son of the Wesleyan minister James Rogers. There was another sister called Francis.

There was probably a family connection with Mary Tooth (1777-1843) of Madeley in Shropshire. Tooth was a promiment female evangelist and companion of Mary Fletcher. She visited the Tooth family in Hoxton, which indicates that there was a kin relationship although its nature is unclear.

Source: Methodist Magazine 1830, 863, MAM Fl 5/1/11 (MARC) and George John Stevenson, City Road Chapel, London, and its Associations, Historical, Biographical and Memorial (1872), 477

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