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Sarah Wesley (1726-1822)

Sarah Wesley was born at Garth in Brecknockshire, one of nine children of the wealthy landowner Marmaduke Gwynne. She appears to have been educated at home in accordance with the upper-class custom of the time. Surviving in the Methodist Archives is a small annotated collection of books that were owned by her as a young woman. These indicate that she was well versed in history, philosophy and theology.

Sarah's father was a friend and supporter of the Wesley brothers. Charles Wesley stayed at Garth for five days in August 1747 and despite an age difference of nineteen years, it would appear from subsequent events that the mutual attraction between him and Sarah was at first sight. He proposed during his next visit to Garth in April 1748 and they were married twelve months later.

The couple lived in Charles Street, Bristol from 1749 to 1771 in which year they moved to Chesterfield Street in London with their three children who survived to adulthood. Their marriage was exceptionally happy and was a principal reason why Charles retired from the itinerancy in 1756.

Sarah survived her husband by thirty-four years and appears to have remained in reasonable mental and physical health until a short time before her death at the age of 96. She was supported in her widowhood by the Methodist Conference and a subscription raised by wealthy evangelicals including William Wilberforce.

Sarah appears to have been of Calvinist leanings as a young woman and continued to attend worship at Whitefield's Tabernacle Chapel for several years after her marriage.

Source: Wesley family papers (MARC)

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