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Fletcher-Tooth Collection

Date range: 1760-1843

Medium: Archive

The Fletcher-Tooth Collection is the largest single collection of personal papers in the Methodist archives and is an exceptionally rich resource for the study of religion and society in one parish.

The collection is the creation of the ordained Anglican evangelical John Fletcher (1729–1785), his wife, the preacher Mary Bosanquet-Fletcher (1739-1815), and Mary’s long-time housekeeper and companion, Mary Tooth (1773-1843).

The archive comprises several thousand letters, journals, diaries and commonplace books, together with spiritual autobiographies, sermons, scripture notes and associated papers. The collection charts in detail the effects of the Evangelical Revival and its particular impact on the parish of Madeley in Shropshire.

The papers illuminate a wide range of topics from the interface between evangelical Anglicanism and Methodism to overseas missions and ecumenical relations. The archive contextualizes these religious developments within the social and economic development of a town that was an early centre of the industrial revolution.

The collection will be of particular interest to students of gender studies as Mary Bosanquet-Fletcher was one of the earliest women preachers of Methodism. For over fifty years she was regarded as a paradigm of spiritual leadership. Through her papers and those of her wide circle of correspondents, it is possible to trace the transition of Methodism from Anglican revival movement to independent denomination and the effects this had on the women who formed the majority of the movement.

The archive includes several hundred manuscript sermons preached by Bosanquet-Fletcher; these constitute the only collection of sermons preached by a female that have survived from the 18th-century Evangelical Revival.

Further information:

  • Part of the Methodist Archives and Research Centre (MARC). For more information see our subject page for Methodist Collections.
  • Catalogue available online via ELGAR.
  • Unpublished lists of remainder of archive available via Special Collections reading rooms.


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